Every year we do a big Spring clean, clearing out old items that we no longer need and have a proper deep clean. I find it really satisfying and essential for a healthy, happy mind. This year has been our biggest Spring clean yet, and even as we move into Summer, we’re still taking inventory and minimalising our lifestyle. This has come from wanting to simplify my every day but also because we’re moving house later this year.
Decluttering means it’ll be easier when we do move, and when we arrive in our fresh brand-new home, we will only be bringing items that serve us (not ‘stuff’ we’ve just accumulated over the years!). It’s a long process but I’ve been focusing on one challenge a day. That might be as simple as a drawer, or it might something a bit more time-consuming like decluttering my wardrobe…
How to be ruthless when decluttering your wardrobe
It’s hard to let go of things. I hate the feeling of waste, so that means sometimes I can end up hanging onto things ‘just in case’. But the more I declutter, the easier I find to let go of things. Decluttering your wardrobe can seem like SUCH a daunting job, but these tips have helped me make decisions on what should stay and what should go quickly and easily (without the guilt!).
1. Chuck anything with holes
Unless it’s something you can repair, bag up all of the clothes that have holes in, they don’t deserve a space in your wardrobe. I always found the really odd when I read that people recommend chucking out clothes with holes in. It felt like that was such an obvious thing to do, why are you wearing clothes that have holes in, in the first place? But the truth is, sometimes they sneak up on you and you don’t even realise you’ve been wearing Swiss-cheese clothes.
Sometimes it can be sad letting go of clothes because they’ve been damaged. Chances are, they’ve lived a good life and had a lot of use if you’ve managed to keep them long enough that they’ve started to show wear and tear. Hanging onto clothes because “it’s only a tiny hole” means you’ll probably end up avoiding it on certain occasions because it looks a bit rough. The idea is to have a wardrobe full of clothes that make you feel happy and confident.
Task 1: Check your clothes for damage and holes. If there’s a small repair you can do, do it! Otherwise, bag it up and let it go, giving you more space for things you love.
2. Focus on fit
When you look at your wardrobe, are there certain items of clothing that you completely avoid because it doesn’t fit? Maybe you ordered it online and forgot to return it (Oops!), or perhaps it used to fit but it doesn’t anymore. Whatever the reason, if something doesn’t fit, then you need to be honest with yourself and decide if it’s going to again. If you’ve just had a baby, then don’t go ditching your jeans. But if you own a cashmere top that’s been in the tumble dryer and now you can barely move your arms when you’re wearing it, it’s time to let it go.
This one can be a little tricky because weight can sometimes fluctuate. If your weight changes a lot then instead, you might want to consider bagging up some items from your wardrobe that don’t currently fit and popping it in the loft room. That way, you’ll have more space physically and mentally when you look at your wardrobe in the morning. This is also a great way to realise if you’re really missing items that have been hiding away in your attic for a couple of months.
Task #2: Say goodbye to all the items that don’t fit you. If it’s too tight in certain areas or it’s too baggy for you, consider if you’ll really wear it again. If not, let it go.
3. Choose your style
Knowing what colours and styles suit you is a piece-of-cake but resisting buying something that will probably just end up sitting in your wardrobe isn’t so easy. Personally, I know what colours I feel confident in, they’re typically dark shades and earthy tones. My style is quite neutral and I’m not a fan of bright colours. Generally, I don’t feel very confident in light colours and I don’t like having my shoulders out, and I tend to opt for high-waisted shorts, shirts or trousers.
This didn’t stop me buying pink dresses and brightly coloured jumpers. I never really ended up wearing them much in comparison to the colours I knew suited me. It was very rare the bright items of clothing would make an appearance, and even then, I didn’t feel very confident in it. So why did I own it? It just ended up getting squished further back on my wardrobe rail. Now, I try and think before I buy an item “Realistically, how often am I going to wear this?”
Task #3: Ditch all items that don’t make you feel confident, whether it’s the style or the colour. if it doesn’t serve you and you have better alternatives, it’s time to let it go.
4. Consider your lifestyle
There’s been a champagne satin dress that I’ve been eyeing up for years (no exaggeration!), it’s not very expensive, but I know I’ll never wear it. It’s a little too light to wear to a wedding, and when I go to formal events they’re usually black-tie so the champagne colour might be a little bit too full-on. There might be a one-off occasion I could find a time to wear it but in all honesty, in the whole time I’ve wanted this dress, this event hasn’t appeared.
As much as you might fall in love with a maxi sequin dress or a vibrant mini dress, if your lifestyle means you’ll probably never wear it, then don’t waste your space or money on it. Again, I’m not saying don’t have diversity in your wardrobe, but consider how many formal dresses you need, if you don’t find yourself at black-tie events on the regular. Instead, try buying pieces that you can wear over and over again at different types of events by styling with shoes and jewellery.
Task #4: Layout all your formal wear and decide which items you might wear again. Consider weddings, funerals and birthday lunches. Pick some favourites and let the rest go.
What to do with bags of old clothes
Just because you’re decluttering, doesn’t mean you have to just chuck your clothes away. I’m a big fan of recycling and reusing, so I’m always trying to think creatively on how I can repurpose items that I no longer need. Here are some ideas on how you can be more friendly to the environment and give you clothes a new lease of life, whilst decluttering:
• Donate to a charity shop – You might need to pop them in a bin bag and keep it in the loft in the meantime but after lockdown, you can drop them at your nearest store.
• Offer them to people making their own face masks – Post on your local Facebook group and see if you can offer old clothes so people can repurpose them into face masks.
• Give them to friends – There are some pieces of clothing that I absolutely love but they just don’t fit me anymore. Consider a clothes swap with some friends.
• Turn your old tops into rags – I can’t remember the last time I bought cleaning cloths. Cut up old tops that had no life left in them and use them for your house and car.
We’re extending our decluttering beyond our wardrobe, as we prepare for a house move later this year. This means I’m going through each drawer, cupboard and storage box and being ruthless in clearing out items that don’t serve me anymore. When we went travelling around Europe in our van a couple of years ago, I learnt that you really need less than you think. It makes me feel so much lighter having fewer things to worry about and living more minimal.
If you’re planning on doing the same, you might benefit from a waste removal company like Any Junk. They’re a nationwide rubbish removal company who divert 96% of waste collected from landfill, so you’ll be doing your fit for the environment, too! You can read more about where everything ends up and how it works in their online guide.
Tips for maintaining a clutter-free wardrobe
When you go to your wardrobe are there any particular pieces you always grab? Perhaps it’s stripes and patterns or maybe it’s a particular material. Whatever it is, try and be mindful of what items of clothing you love and why. What makes them so special? It is because they’re comfortable, because they’re flattering or because you can pair them with lots of different items of clothing in your wardrobe to get a new look?
There are some items of clothing in my wardrobe I’ve had since 2012 and I still wear them regularly. Investing in good-quality clothing that will last is way better for your bank balance AND better for the environment. Especially as fast-fashion is known for being full of little bits of plastic which end up going into our oceans when going through your washing machine.
What are your tips for reducing your fashion consumption and living a minimalist lifestyle? ♻️👚