The wardrobe diaries #6 : how to declutter your wardrobe

New year, new life. Usually the start of a new year feels like a chance to make some deep changes, to make a deep cleanse in our lives and habits, get rid of what we don’t need to make some room for improvements.

The thing is, big changes don’t happen overnight and a simple thing like a tidy up or decluttering can boost our confidence and give us the motivation we need to make that change we long hoped for. “Clear space = clear mind”: as clichè as it sounds, this simple principle can be set as a guideline to help direct our life in a less cluttered way, and what better time than the beginning of the year to have a cleaner canvas to work on? And I personally find that starting from our wardrobe is the easiest way to clean up our lives from the unnecessary stuff.

9 decluttering tips for a more minimalist and clutter free wardrobe/closet

Set the right mood and just start. While I do think that it is important to find the necessary motivation to jump into a deep wardrobe clean out, if you are waiting for the perfect day to come you will never be ready. The secret of getting ahead is getting started, so pop on a nice record, have a cup of tea or coffee to sip on, make sure to have enough time with no distractions and just dig into it. It doesn’t matter if it takes you one hour, two days or one week (depending on how big your wardrobe is and how much stuff you’re dealing with), the important thing is to start somewhere and stay committed.

Take everything out. If you don’t take EVERYTHING out of your wardrobe or closet, you won’t be able to tell how much you own and how much you need and you don’t need, or if you have any duplicates and/or items that are very similar to each other that you can do without. Make sure to check all the drawers and corners, empty everything out on your bed. If it helps, divide things into categories (t-shirts, jeans, bottoms, sweaters, belts etc.) so you will visually be able to tell how many items of each category you actually have.

Try everything on. In the past I used to make wardrobe clean ups by simply deciding if I liked something or not and this was a huge mistake. Not trying things on won’t give you an idea of how you look in a garment and, more importantly, how you truly feel about it when wearing it: is comfortable? is it too tight or too loose? do you constantly have to pull it down or adjust it to make it look fine? how does the farbic feel on your skin? how do you feel about the color or the style of it? does it match well your current sizing, style and personal taste? This phase will take a while but it is important and shouldn’t be skipped. Take your time to try things on, touch them, walk in them, take a thorough look at the details and assess if there are any holes to fix, repairs or alterations needed.

Be honest. Just because you spent money on something it doesn’t mean that this is a reason good enough to keep what you haven’t worn at all or barely worn. If you haven’t used something in over a year, chances are you probably never will again (except for the specific seasonal items). Plus our bodies might change and so do we and our tastes, so something we bought 3 years ago might no longer suit us. It might be difficult to let go but the point of a wardrobe clean out is to get rid of those things that no longer serve a purpose, right? 😉 So try not to get caught up in lies you might tell yourself and let go of any unrealistic style expectations you might have. How to do that? Well, ask yourself critical questions (when was the last time I used it? Does it match the rest of my clothes? How many outfits can I put together with it? Do I like the idea of wearing it or is it really something I can mix and match with the majority of my clothes? Answer to these questions, make a list of your current lifestyle needs and preferences and let go of anything that doesn’t reflect your current lifestyle.

Separate the yes, the no, the maybe. This is probably nothing new to you, but this step is key: you don’t want to mix the things you just tried on from the ones you haven’t, the ones you’re sure to keep from the ones you’re unsure of or know already that you don’t want to keep. Make as many piles as you need (“donate”, “to be fixed”, “sell” etc.) and go through everything until every single item has been tried on and assigned to a specific pile. When you’re unsure about something, make a “maybe” pile that you can come back to later.

Set yourself a deadline for the “maybe”. You can write on your calendar or set an alarm on your phone, but it is important to decide within a certain amount of time wether to keep something assigned to the “maybe” pile or not. The best would be to pack the items up and store them away for 1-3 months. If you happen to never reach for the items stored away or even forget what’s in that box or bag, you know it’s time to let things go. And don’t forget to set yourself a deadline also for things that you will donate, sell, repair etc. : the longer you wait, the bigger the chances to relapse into a cluttered wardrobe.

Get rid of all the extra hangers. While it might be convenient to keep a few extra hangers, now that you got rid of some stuff in your wardrobe you most definitely have too many hangers. Just because you have now extra space in your wardrobe/closet, don’t take it as an excuse to go the nearest mall or store and purchase mindlessly a bunch of clothes “just because”. Assess first if you really need something and enjoy a smaller wardrobe for a while. Play with your clothes, savor the simplicity of a decluttered wardrobe. Just a few extra hangers will do the job for you and donate the rest.

Give your wardrobe/closet a deep clean before rearreanging everything in it. This is optional but since you’re at it, why not giving your storage space a nice good clean before putting your chosen clothes and accessories back into it?

Organize in your wardrobe ONLY the things you’re sure of keeping. Like I mentioned earlier, try to separate clearly the “yes”, “no”, “maybe” etc. piles and put back in your wardrobe only the things you want to keep to avoid any relapse into the “but what if I need this?”. In my opinion if you don’t physically separate the things you want to keep from the things you’re not sure of, there’s a pretty good chance that you won’t be able to get rid of them, stuck in that insecurity that you might want to use it or wear it again. Now that you have more storage space available, you can organize the clothes you’re left with more functionally, displaying them in a way that make it easier for you to find everything.

Source: Unsplash

A few hacks to keep your wardrobe clutter free

Shop with a list. Not that you know exactly what you own and if there are any gaps to fill in, shop with a list and stick to that list. Making a list will put black on white the things you’re looking for and prevent you from buying duplicates or things you don’t need.

1 in – 1 out rule. Whenever you decide to bring something new into your wardrobe, you can follow the 1-in-1-out rule: for every new item, another one needs to go.

Shop your closet. Oftentimes we think that we need to buy new clothes in order to look put together and stylish. Oh well, this is not true! If there is a style that we like, we can get creative and “shop our own wardrobe” first and try to recreate that look with items we already own. Or we can make a wardrobe challenge (you can look up online, there are so many of them! or you can create your own) and try to style an item in different ways to make sure that you get more use out of it.

I hope this post will give you the motivation and inspiration you need to declutter and reorganize your wardrobe! Here’s some related content that you might find helpful:

Benefits of a minimalist wardrobe

30 days of less

A beginners guide to minimalism

My 10 (current) minimalist wardrobe essentials

10×10 wardrobe challenge

Talk to you soon! xoxo


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