When was the last time you decluttered your wardrobe? If the answer is ‘never’, you need a good long look at yourself in the mirror! If, like most people, you occasionally have a quick sort through when you realise you can’t fit your new purchase in with ease, it’s definitely time to commit to a full declutter.
A wardrobe declutter is actually one of the most satisfying ways to spend a day – and yes, you do need to commit a full day to this. The sense of a job well done once you’ve finished is unbeatable – not only will you have a wardrobe that contains only the pieces you love and will wear, but you will have set aside a really valuable donation to charity, and may even have found enough pieces to sell to someone else who will love and wear them whilst you can treat yourself to a little something!
Before you even consider opening the doors, it’s time to invest in some decent, matching hangers. Why matching? It’s the little things that soothe us the most – a row of tops or skirts or trousers all on the same type and colour of hanger, all hanging at the same height and facing the same way is truly one of life’s greatest visual pleasures. You will have seen this, without really noticing, every time you visit your favourite fashion shop. Visit amazon.co.uk and search for ‘velvet hangers’. You can choose black, grey, pale, pink or cerise, just make sure they are all the same. And buy a lot more than you think you will need. Wardrobes always, always, hide more than you think! They are also anti-slip… you can thank me for that tip anytime!
Once your hangers have arrived, it’s time to set the scene. This is preparation both physical and mental. On the physical side, clear your bedroom, designate three space and put pieces of A4 paper with KEEP, SELL and DONATE, written on them. Put some black bin bags in the DONATE section. Note, there is no BIN section. Charity shops will take everything, and sell by the weight the items they won’t sell in their shop. Emotionally, brace yourself. Clothes are the ultimate memory joggers. The further back you go in your wardrobe the more likely you are to find long unworn pieces that hold precious memories – and not just “I remember when this fitted me!”. Weddings, holidays, special birthdays, they will all be there.
Pull each item out one at a time and decide – Keep, Sell or Donate. Stuff the charity donations into the black bags as you go; it’s quicker and you’re less likely to change your mind. Now’s the time to be firm with yourself. In fact, aim for ruthless. Ask yourself – do I REALLY need to keep this? When was the last time I wore it? Does it even fit me? Do this in bite-size chunks. There are two risks to just going at it till the wardrobe is empty: first, you may get donate happy and get carried away. This happened to a friend of mine who then spent HOURS searching for a special holiday top, before realising it must have gone to Barnardo’s. Secondly, it can just get a bit overwhelming. You won’t realise just how many items you have till you start to empty your wardrobe. Do it in sections: skirts, tops, the trousers, dresses. Have a snack and a drink between each to refuel. Don’t put anything back however until the whole space is empty.
Take your charity donations out of the room straight away, but line up another bag or two – it’s time to review your decisions.
First, review your KEEP pile. By now, you’ll have entered a more practical, even ruthless, frame of mind and be ready to assess if your first decision was the right one. Anything you decide isn’t a keeper after all, add to your SELL or DONATE pile.
Next, go through your SELL pile. Spit this into three parts: Vinted/eBAY; Dress Cheshire; and Donate. Have a browse through the selling sites and see what similar items sell for, and decide if it’s really worth the time, or whether you’d prefer a charity shop to benefit. If you have set aside any designer fashions, here are my three basic rules:
1. Every item of clothing must be in pristine condition, and freshly laundered.
2. I only re-sell timeless designer fashions, so items that are vintage but still work, yes, items that are vintage but dated, no thank you.
3. Items do not have to have a well-known designer label. I sell beautiful pieces from high street shops such as Reiss or Zara, and brands such as Ted Baker, alongside Gucci, Prada and Chanel. I will also take beautifully made, high-end resort brands, or international brands not so well known in the UK.
When you have selected your pieces you would like to sell via Dress Cheshire, send photos or bring them in and we can make a final decision.
It’s time to put all your precious pieces back in your wardrobe, and the perfect opportunity to create a stylist’s dream. Start with your tops. Hang each on on a new hanger and sort them into sections: short sleeve, by colour, and long sleeve, by colour. Trousers can be sorted by colour and season, and skirts the same. Finally, hang your dresses by season and by colour. It’s immensely satisfying to then step back and admire all your hard work.
Finally – make sure you get out of the habit of hanging your freshly laundered pieces all in the same place, every time, or you will simply end up wearing just those pieces time after time. Develop the habit of hanging clean laundry back where you first pulled it from, in this way, every time you go to choose what to wear you will effectively have to review your entire wardrobe, and so get more use out of every piece. Plus, when you come to do your next wardrobe declutter you’ll know exactly what hasn’t been worn and have no excuses, as it’s not like it got hidden at the back!
We recommend you undertake a full, ‘empty it out and review’, wardrobe declutter every year. And to really help stay on top of it, ‘the one in, one out’ rule is worth thinking about. Every time you buy something new, consider what you can take out to sell or donate.
Okay ladies, what are you waiting for? I look forward to hearing all about it!