Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Simple Closet Clean-out Tips

red and black plaid high heels and black ruffled cropped trousers

With the seasons changing and Autumn upon us, now is the time to think about what's in your wardrobe. Undoubtedly, you've already started stocking up on pieces for the season, embracing new trends and stocking up on warmer clothes for the weather change. Whether you've already dug your Autumn & Winter clothes out of storage or you're just starting to think about it, this is the ideal time to give your closet a spruce and rid your space of anything that quite frankly, needs to go. If you haven't swapped wardrobes yet, you can also purge anything from Spring and Summer that needs to go and enjoy having more storage space and room in your wardrobe for all the new items you haven't yet bought.

Having a tidy wardrobe that only contains what you'll actually wear is invaluable, helping to prevent the whole closet full of clothes and nothing to wear problem. This is a lesson that took me decades to learn, but since embracing the power of a good purge, I almost never struggle to get dressed before going out. I know exactly what's in my wardrobe, where to find it and what else is in there that it can be worn with. Choosing what to wear and getting dressed used to take me ages and now I pretty much do it most of the time in less than 10 minutes. The hardest part is letting go, but once you can give up things that don't serve you, this job is super easy and makes choosing an outfit so much simpler. It's better to have only two pairs of shoes you actually wear than having 100 irrelevant pairs that make it more difficult to find the ones you like.

hot pink nails

Here are a few tips to help you get your wardrobe ready for the new season so you can get back to enjoying the ritual of dressing up for your day. Begin by taking everything out of your wardrobe, drawers and other storage areas and get ready to sift through it all, try on most of it and have some rubbish bags handy, one for donations to charity shops and the other for the pieces that are too damaged and need to be thrown away. Using the tips below, look at every piece and start purging, keeping a list as you go of anything you threw out that might need replacing like a classic basic such as jeans, a little black dress or a white shirt or things you're missing that you'd like to have that will broaden the versatility of your wardrobe, such as trendy items or accessories.

1. Is it damaged or stained?
If an item is stained or damaged beyond repair, this should really be a no-brainer - throw it out. It doesn't matter how much you love that old top, if it's ripped and you're not going to wear it, it's taking up valuable real estate in your closet and it needs to go. If there's a chance to save an item that you really love by having it repaired or cleaned, ask yourself if it's realistic. If you know you're never going to do it, just ditch it. I generally don't waste any time or money on repairing cheaper items that won't last anyway or things that I don't truly love.

2. Does it fit?
This is a tough one for a lot of people I think... We all gain and lose weight and I'm sure most of us have been guilty of buying something that never quite fit properly in the first place. If it doesn't fit, you don't need it taking up space in your home. Try on items you're unsure about and really take a good look at them. Are those trousers wrinkling around the crotch? Do you have a dress that doesn't quite zip up all the way? Is that jumper from last year simply too tight? Toss them. If it's something you love or that you spent quite a lot of money on and you're confident that you're going to fit into it at some point, consider keeping it if it's really important to you, but odds are you're not going to wear it again, even if it does fit someday so it's probably best to just get rid of it.


3. When was the last time I wore this?
If you haven't worn something in the past 6 months to a year, odds are you're not going to wear it again anytime soon. The exception to this rule would be something you can only wear for special occasions - you're most likely not going to wear a ballgown every week. If the item is a daily wear piece like jeans or a top and you haven't worn it in 6 months, toss it. If it's a more special item, think about the last time you wore it and consider whether or not you've chosen it the last 3 times you had the opportunity to wear it. If the answer is no, it's probably time to get rid of that as well.

4. Do I like it?
If you don't like something in your closet, why are you keeping it? You're not going to wear it, so let it go. Think of all the space you'll free up for things you actually do like and try not to get hung up on the fact that you spent money on it. The money is already gone and it's not coming back. There's no reason to punish yourself by keeping something you really don't like.

5. Does it reflect my current personal style?
Our personal style can change over time and if you enjoy a tidy wardrobe, there's no need to keep something that no longer looks like you. Get rid of the item that isn't your style and make space for something new or simply being able to better see what you have that does suit your look.

leopard shirt and black fringe leather skirt

6. Can I see myself wearing it again?
Try to imagine where you would wear something... Is it realistic? Does it fit in with your lifestyle, career, etc.? If you can't imagine a few places or occasions where you might wear something, you're probably not going to put it on again anytime soon, if ever.

7. Does this item go with anything else in my wardrobe?
This is a tricky one. You may have a few pieces that are stunning, but simply don't go with anything else in your wardrobe. This is where the list can come in handy... If you know you love it and you'd definitely wear it, it's time to invest in a few pieces you can wear it with. That said, if you normally wear black 99% of the time and you're talking about finding the right shoes to wear with that navy blue dress you bought 5 years ago, but you're strongly against black shoes with a navy dress, consider if it's worth it. It might be best to donate it to a new home where it will be loved and worn rather than adding more pieces to your collection that will most likely collect dust.

closet shot

8. Get organised!
Once you've gotten rid of everything you don't want, it's time to put everything back, but in a nice & tidy order. Everyone has a system they prefer when it comes to organising clothing. I personally like to divide hanging items into sections of pieces that are alike such as dresses/jumpsuits, skirts, trousers/shorts, sweaters, long sleeve tops, short sleeve tops, sleeveless tops and jackets. I then order them in colours starting with black or the darkest colour, followed by other neutrals like greys, whites and dark blues and ending with brighter colours and finally, prints. This makes it super easy for me to find what I'm looking for when I'm getting dressed without sliding hangers left and right for ages. I also find it really helpful is to only put things in drawers that you know you'll always need such as underwear, socks, t-shirts, workout gear, basics and jeans. These are the items I know I'll wear no matter what. For everything else, if you can't see it, you're probably going to forget about it. For me, these items are things like scarfs, ponchos, sweaters and other accessories. I've found a way to store them either hanging in my closet or elsewhere in my bedroom in plain sight and now I take comfort in knowing these pieces are no longer wasting valuable space. Start by finding inspiration on Pinterest or in magazines. Organise and create a wardrobe storage system that maximises the space you have, however big or small and works like a tool kit for looking your best every day. I promise it's a fun project and you'll find the organisation helpful in your day-to-day life as long as you keep it up.

Bonus tip...
If you're really having trouble getting rid of something, put it away. Store it somewhere out of sight for a few months and revisit it later. It will be easier to decide then whether you want to keep it or not.

I hope you'll find these tips helpful. Be strong, roll up your sleeves, pour yourself a cup of coffee and get busy. The reward is that you'll have a tidy wardrobe that makes it easy for you to start playing dress-up and it will be so much easier for you to get creative with shopping your own closet every day to put together amazing looks every day!
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