You will usually find me cleaning out my closet every six months or so. Years pass and so do trends and if I don’t stay on top of the contents of my wardrobe, it will suddenly swell to bursting point. Even Carrie Bradshaw, with her divine ward-room packed with Manolos is not immune from a wardrobe clean out!
There are a few questions I ask myself when cleaning out my closet but before I move onto those, let me start with the three sacred wardrobe clean out rules I religiously follow.
- Thou shalt never embark on ‘Project Declutter Wardrobe’ in response to a bad day. You will make many bad decisions in anger.
- Thou shalt never start decluttering clothes whilst one is pregnant or until at least 6 months postpartum. Of course nothing fits you, but it will again one day soon.
- Thou shalt always start a wardrobe clean out with a clean floor. Don’t risk anything you love accidentally falling into the “going” pile.
Follow these rules and you are halfway towards clean wardrobe bliss. The hard part is choosing what to keep and what to throw. These questions I ask myself might help.
When was the last time I wore this?
If the answer is longer than 12 months ago, then you need to ask yourself some more questions about whether you need to keep it. If the item is a dressier piece then perhaps extend the timeframe a little. If you have trouble keeping track of what you have and haven’t worn, simply pop a divider at the front of your hanging rack. When you wear something, pop it back in front of the divider. Deciding what has to go will become that much easier!
Why I am holding on to this?
Did you wear it to a special event and it holds a special memory? Are you hoping that you will fit into it again one day? Was it your favourite piece of clothing that you wore pre-kids and you just can’t bear to part from it? Consider why you are holding onto something and if the answer justifies the space it takes up in your wardrobe.
How does this make me feel?
I’m a big believer in always feeling good in what you wear. In the KonMari method of decluttering, you hold an item and if it doesn’t spark joy in you then you get rid of it. You should also do a similar thing with your wardrobe. Perhaps it is a skirt that rides up so you are tugging at it all day. Or a top with an itchy zipper. Or a pair of shoes that just isn’t worth the pain you go through to wear them. If you can’t fix the problem, don’t keep the item.
Could this be used by someone in need?
If you decide not to keep certain pieces from your wardrobe, consider whether they could be used by someone in need. Organisations like Dress for Success will take gently-used, clean interview and workwear appropriate clothing. This is then distributed to disadvantaged women who are seeking work. If you have non-corporate attire this could go to other organisations like St Vincent de Paul or The Salvation Army. Just don’t leave the bags in your boot for six months like I do before dropping them off! If the clothes aren’t in very good condition, pop them in the shed to use as rags. Old t-shirts are particularly good for mopping up messes.
Is this a suitable item for the dress up box?
Some of my favourite items in my dress up box as a kid were mums old 70’s clothes. Fabulous clogs, handbags with wooden handles and flowing maxi dresses made me the grooviest 5-year-old around! If you think the kids will make use of it then add it to their dress up box and see what they create with their imaginations! If they aren’t dress up box material then perhaps elements might be good for a craft or busy box. Large buttons or embellishments, even shreds from a t-shirt can be used to get creative. If you do craft with your kids then this could be a cheap way to top up the craft box.
How often do you do a wardrobe clean out? Any questions I should add when I am cleaning out my closet?
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