When someone decides to declutter their home, their wardrobe is usually the first stop. We accumulate so many pieces of clothing over the years without realizing it. This consumerist lifestyle must stop. I think everyone would benefit from taking the time to declutter their wardrobe.
If you’re here, that’s means you have already decided to take this step which is great. Here I’m going to tell you how exactly to go about it, what to do and how to make the process easier.
A mistake that people often make, is that they don’t actually declutter anything, they simply tidy things up which gives them a false sensation that they have downsized their wardrobe. But this is not what we are doing today. We are decluttering, not tidying up.
Get Motivated To Declutter Your Wardrobe
Decluttering in general has many benefits. Having less stuff is better for your mind. You may not be aware of it, but living in a mess can actually increase your anxiety. Some other reasons to do this is because you will waste less time in your day and you could even make some money from it. You won’t spend nearly as much time tidying up and it will become easier to decide what to wear.
Most of us just don’t have the energy to go around making decisions of what to keep, what to throw away, what to donate, and what to sell. Especially if you have a lot of stuff, it can be overwhelming. But trust me, in the end, you will thank yourself for doing it.
If you really don’t have time to go through the whole process or if you don’t have the energy to declutter your wardrobe, keep reading to find some fun challenges and tricks to make it a whole lot easier.
Don’t put this off any longer. Start today and simplify your life.
The Best Way To Declutter Your Wardrobe
You need to be ruthless. Without being decisive, you will probably finish in 2 years. To make the process quicker, every time you pick up a garment, give yourself 5 seconds to decide if you want to keep it. It’s also less mentally draining if you become more decisive.
There are various ways to go about decluttering your wardrobe. Below I describe how I went about it.
01. Empty Your Wardrobe Completely
Take all your clothes out of the drawers or wardrobe (or if you don’t have time, target one area each day). When you can see everything, it makes it easier. So throw all your clothes onto your bed. And I mean everything. For some of you, it might come as a shock to see how many clothes you own and that alone might motivate you to simplify.
Having tonnes of clothes is not something to brag about.
02. Create 3 Piles
When I decluttered my room, I created three piles:
- Keeping it 100%, I love it! – If you love it and it brings value to you, then keep it.
- I don’t use/ like, I should throw it away – You should have a box for clothes you want to donate or sell so they don’t all end up in landfills.
- Special occasion and holiday – Even though we don’t wear these very often, doesn’t mean we should throw them away because you will just end up buying new clothes for the next special occasion.
Pro-tip for sewing lovers: If you love to sew, you could use some of the clothes you would throw away to make new items. This will save you from going out to buy new fabric. Additionally, see if there are any old clothes that you love that you could mend instead of replacing them with new ones. These are all ideas that align with circular design.
I would not have an ‘I’m not sure’ pile because it will slow down the process. Decide if it’s in or out. There’s no maybe. If you want to get this done quickly, this is the best way.
03. Try Things On
Try on the clothes that you haven’t worn in a long time and see how you feel in them. If your reaction is ‘eh, it’s alright’, put it in the throw away pile.
To create a capsule wardrobe (more on that later), then you need to absolutely love every piece of clothing you have.
04. What To ‘Throw Out’
When going through everything, the first things to put in the throw away pile are:
- What doesn’t fit
- If it’s really old and not good quality anymore ( And can’t be fixed)
- What you don’t wear (If you haven’t worn something for over a year, then you will probably not wear it again)
- You don’t love ( This might sound obvious but if you don’t love or feel great in something, then why keep it. Let someone else have it who would really enjoy wearing it.)
Pro-tip – If you have any clothes for special occasions that you love (but don’t wear often) instead of throwing it away, simply store it away and only get it out when you need it.
I just want to mention, don’t be too sentimental. Of course, keep something if you will wear it, but if you will not use it and you are keeping it solely because it reminds you of someone or something, think if it’s really worth it.
05. What Do I Do With Unwanted Clothes?
This is what you should do with your unwanted clothes (in order). If you can’t do the first one, then move down to the next one and so on.
See if any of your friends like and want your clothes you don’t wear. Who knows, they might love it. You could do a clothes swap with your friends where you could all exchange clothes. I love this as you get new clothes without actually buying anything new.
There are many websites and apps out there to advertise your clothes. Also what a great way to earn a little extra money. It’s so easy to do now, so don’t overlook this step.
If you are unable to sell something, don’t worry as you can donate your clothes too. Look for local collection points or thrift shops and see if they will accept your clothes. (Most times they do as they are always looking for more stuff to sell)
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Cut up an old T-shirt and use it as a cloth for example. It might not sound like much, but it makes a difference. You can even use them to make a brand new garment if you know how to sew. Upcycling doesn’t have to be difficult.
Finally, if you can’t do any of the above, then you will have to throw them away in the bin. This is the last resort, not the first. Always try to keep things out of the bin.
06. How To Organize Your Clothes
Now once you have decided what to keep, you will need to put them back. Organizing your clothing well is a good habit to get into as it allows you to clearly see what you own. On the other hand, if you throw jumpers at the back of your wardrobe, you will hardly ever wear them.
Before I decluttered my wardrobe, I used to put my winter clothes away and bring out my summer clothes and then the opposite half a year later. Now, I have all my clothes out in the same space throughout the year. All my jumpers on one shelf, all my T-shirts and tops on hangers, and the rest in a couple of draws.
A good rule I like to apply is when I buy something new (which is not very often), I remove something from my wardrobe and sell it. This keeps my wardrobe size the same.
Below are some ideas of how to organize your clothes:
This is the way I organize my clothes. I fold my jumpers and bottoms and place them on a couple of shelves. All my T-shirts and tops, I put on hangers while my pajamas, socks, and some other stuff go in drawers.
I find this very a very effective way to organize my clothes. They take so much less space now.
Another common way to organize clothes is by season. So all winter clothes go on one side and all the summer clothes, on the other. The way your store them will depend on how your wardrobe looks like.
Not that many people do this from what I’ve seen, but you could organize your clothes based on their color. So everything black in one place, everything white in another, and so on. This makes it easier to decide on outfits so if you’re one of those that takes ages to decide what to wear, I would suggest doing this.
I Don’t Have Time For All This
If you simply don’t have the time, or cannot be bothered to sit and decide what you want and what you don’t need, I have a couple of tricks you could use.
This first one, I originally heard from the podcast Wardrobe Crisis. Basically, you hang all your clothes on one side of your wardrobe. Then every time you wear something, you move it to the other side. In a couple of months or at the end of a season (eg after winter ends) it will clear what you wear and don’t wear making it 10 times easier for you to declutter. It will take more time but it takes less energy.
The second trick, well more of a challenge, is to pick a certain amount of clothes around 20 or 30 (you can decide), and then challenge yourself to only wear them for the next several months. This will have a different effect. This challenge is not about decluttering in itself, but it’s about making you realize that clothes are just clothes. You will realize that no one really cares what you wear and when you decide to declutter your wardrobe, the process will be easier as you have lost that attachment most people have with their clothes.
Creating A Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe
If you are not aware of what a capsule wardrobe is, it’s when you have a small(ish) collection of clothes in your closet and you can wear anything with everything. Whatever combination you choose, the clothes will match.
Decide on what style you want to have and then choose the clothes that fit that style. I love capsule wardrobes because it makes deciding on outfits easier and you waste less time.
So define your style.
We should all have small wardrobes with good-quality, ethical and sustainable clothes instead of piles of cheap garments that were made at the expense of the environment.
I would highly recommend doing this. When you declutter your wardrobe (and your whole life in general) you gain an appreciation for what you already have and stop searching for new things to buy. You become happy with what you already own and stop looking for happiness in clothes and materials objects.
It also feels better when you don’t have a messy wardrobe with tonnes of garments thrown here and there. Hopefully, this has motivated you to finally declutter. It won’t take you too long if you make quick decisions. Remember, it’s either in or out. There’s no maybe.
Featured image from Unsplash