Cleaning Out My Closet - Top tips for minimising your wardrobe

by - Monday, September 15, 2014

Autumn Winter is fast approaching and like many of you, I am looking woefully at my overflowing wardrobe and declaring 'I have nothing to wear!' Is this true? My straining wardrobe rail and overflowing chest of drawers tell me actually Jenessa, you're a bit of a fibber. But does my #firstworldproblem moment tell me that I may have fallen out of love with my oh-so lovingly curated collection of clobber? Most definitely.

Lots of us are inclined to buy often, seek out bargains we don't really need and constantly replenish our stocks each season without stopping to address what we already own, or what we could afford to lose. We buy things similar to what we already have, covet patterns we're set to hate after one wear and seek multiple cheap solutions to problems that could be solved with one more expensive investment piece. The answer that saves space (not to mention money) is simple: a good old fashioned clear out, and a re-evaluation of your buying habits. Here are my top tips for clearing out your wardrobe, and the pitfalls to avoid when adding new items to your stash.

Questions to ask yourself as you assess each item

Does it fit and is it comfortable?
A bit of a no brainer, but it really is surprising how many times we buy things thinking 'it'll fit one day', or keep items that we know are simply the wrong size. If something isn't comfortable, chances are you'll never wear it again and it's time to let go.

Does it need fixing? Will I ever get round to it?
Being an avid charity shop and kilo sale fan, I have my fair share of vintage dresses in such gorgeous patterns that I couldn't say no,. Whether it be missing buttons, rips or a too- large waistline, my 'to-sew' basket is like a battersea dog home for 70's florals. Whilst a bargain is a bargain and I am a strong advocate for shopping with vision and getting your D.I.Y on, if you know full well that you're going to have to develop skills of 'Sewing Bee' proportions overnight to ever get that frock to fit, it might be time to accept that it's one crafty project you're just never going to finish. Let it go now, lest it tease you for your ineptitude forever.

What do I own that goes with this outfit?
Another one I'm definitely guilty of. It's all well and good coveting that neon hued 'statement' blouse, but if it's going to require you to go out and buy 4 more new items in order to be presentable to the wider world, it's maybe time to sell it on. You may ignore this rule on occasion if it is a simply stunning item, a family heirloom or for a special occasion, but otherwise, try and have a regular cull of those items that just aren't playing nice with the rest of family anymore.

Is it in good condition?
Similar to the DOES IT NEED FIXING RULE,  this one is for all of y'all who keep jeans and leggings until there is literally more hole than there is material. Cut them up, turn the fabric into makeshift dusters and move on.

Does it suit my body type?
This one can be difficult and often involves a large mirror, or a very honest friend. The truth of life is that there are some trends that will amazing on a friend but will just not suit your body shape (sorry Pencil skirts). It'll be far healthier for your body image and wardrobe if you accept the items which do not work for you and let go. Let's look at the upside - you'll have plenty more space for all the frocks which do flatter you!

When was the last time I wore this? (a.k.a did I miss this whilst it was in my washing basket that I've been steadfastly ignoring for weeks)
The failsafe rule to live by if you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of clothes hogging up your wardrobe. Take everything out, and place into three piles - things you wear regularly, things you were often/are seasonal and things you can't remember wearing in the last three months. Ask yourself why you haven't worn an item? If the answer isn't related to it being a seasonal or special occasion item, shove it on eBay or give it away to charity. Ruthless, but very effective.

It's only a bargain if you need it
The classic line, but it's so true. It's so easy to spot something on the cheap and think that you have to have it, but stop and ask yourself why it's such a bargain. Is it poorly made? Is it impractical? Or did it end up in the sale because frankly, it's just not that nice? Stop and think before you add it to your basket. Which brings me on to my next point...

The three outfit rule
Before you hit the tills, think of at least three occasions or ensembles with which you could sport your found item. Struggling to get past one? You probably don't need it.

Avoid the cheap temporary fix
As a thrifty shopper, this is something I'm incredibly guilty of. It's so easy to value a bargain price over quality when it comes to boring, functional items of clothing like plain vests or shoes, but if it something you're going to be wearing often, it makes so much more sense to buy a one off, expensive item than it is to keep replacing cheap buys. This is especially important when it comes to shoes, coats and underwear - buying high-end will definitely lengthen their shelf life and help you combat the clutter. Plus, the price will leave you far less inclined to buy more than you need.

Keep it simple
If you find yourself needing a splurge, always plump for classics. Pick colours that are harmonious to what you already own, cuts that won't go out of style and fits that are modest, yet flattering. We all know the saying: fashion comes and goes, but style is forever. Following trends is fine, but always wear things which suit you and avoid going with what's popular just for the sake of trends - Yes your #ootd will get a lot of hits, but your bank balance won't thank you for it.

Pin it to win it
If you're prone to panic or impulse buying, I couldn't recommend Pinterest more. Browse your favourite online stores and pin what jumps out at you onto a board designed for an occasion (i.e Work Wardrobe). Once you've had your fill, look back over your pins in a week or so's time and delete any items that you're no longer obsessed with. Only then do you go into store, try the leftover items on and consider a purchase. Knowing what you're looking for greatly cuts your browsing time instore and ensures that you only leave with what you can in for.

Befriend Bloggers
Uhmming and Aaahing over an item? Why not google it to see what other bloggers are saying about it? Whilst it's obviously important to have a mind of your own, you could learn a lot about an item's quality from others and save yourself the hassle of that inevitable disappointing online order.

And a final piece of advice...

NEVER, EVER SAY 'It'll do for around the house'
For items you already own, it's fine to relevate certain comfies to internal living. However, buying anything other than pyjamas specifically for in housewear is just saying to yourself 'I like this, but I don't like it that much'. Resist the temptation, and your wardrobe will remain a place only for pieces you truly love.

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