Jill Chivers of 16 Style Types and I have been asked to talk about wardrobe decluttering. Some of you may regularly declutter or edit your wardrobes (this is both my and Jill’s current approach, what you might call a ‘continuous assessment’ method), whilst others may do a larger spring clean every now and again.
Jill keeps a large gift box underneath her dresses – which she fills with things she’s assessing to keep or let go of in her house. From books she’s read, to clothing, accessories and shoes. Where I live, I’m constantly being given plastic bags for charity pickups of household items and clothing, so I keep one of these in my wardrobe and pop items in there and then pop the bag out by my letterbox for pickup (so convenient).
Listen to this podcast episode to get all our thoughts on this topic.
1. Do a mini-assessment at the end of each day
At the end of each day, be like Jill and ask yourself:
- How does it make me feel?
- Is it still in good condition?
- If it’s not working – how can I make it work? Can I create a better combination?
- If there is something about a particular item that you’ve tried wearing a few times in different ways that still isn’t working – then it’s time to let it go.
- If it’s a physical comfort issue, can it be fixed? If not, let it go.
Ideally, the process of assessing for comfort, fit, personality, colour etc. – should first be done pre-purchase! Being a more conscious shopper will help you avoid your closet filled with things you don’t wear.
2. Haven’t worn it in a year? Should you get rid of it?
Haven’t worn it in a year? Well, that’s no reason by itself to let it go (and something that Jill and I discussed in this video post). If’ it’s pilled, stained or just plain worn out – why are you keeping it? Seriously – let it go!
If you haven’t worn it in 5 years – can you still imagine wearing it again in the future or is it something from the past (remember you want a future-focused wardrobe)?
Does it still meet and fulfil your style recipe requirements?
3. How do I know it’s still in fashion?
The easiest way to go to a departments store and see if you could purchase an item very similar to what own. Go to a bunch of brands and find the most similar items and take them to the change room and try them on, as without trying on you won’t know if the cut is similar to yours, or completely different and therefore creating a dated silhouette. Sometimes it’s time to let go of the trends you love.
Dust on the shoulders? You can’t remember the last time you wore it? Can’t imagine wearing it again? Try it on and ask yourself – would I buy it again today and be excited to wear it tomorrow or really really soon? If not then it’s time to ask yourself why you’re still keeping it?
4. Not sure why you don’t wear it?
On the hanger, you may not have enough information to make a good decision. When you try on a garment you get a fuller, richer suite of information to make decisions upon. You may wonder why you haven’t been wearing it as it fits so many of your current criteria, or you may realise just why you haven’t worn it (and so it’s an easy decision to let it go).
Is it the “me you are today”? As the “me in the past” may not be the same “me” of today or even tomorrow.
Here is an example of a recent wardrobe assessment I did for the jacket in these photos. I hadn’t worn it in a while (and I do remember putting it on and taking it off and not wearing it a few times over the past year), so I thought I should assess whether it got to stay in my wardrobe, so I decided to make myself wear it for a day so I could make a more informed decision.
It doesn’t look too bad, but when I wore it for a while I realised that the waterfall flaps were too flappy and just not particularly flattering and by the end of the day it was an easy decision to let the jacket go.
You can see how much extra bulk the waterfall collar is creating – it’s a faux leather fabric that just doesn’t drape the way I’d really like it to and I certainly didn’t rate it an 8 or more!
5. Does it Rate an 8 or More?
We’ve discussed this before, you want to find out if it rates an 8/10 or more (or sparks joy) and if not – why are you holding onto it?
6. Is it Cluttering Up Your Space?
Space is an important factor. Very few of us have unlimited space in which to store items we don’t use. Remember that your wardrobe is like a kitchen – full of useful, practical, day-to-day items that need to be easily accessible.
Space and energy of a cluttered space is something to consider – what is the value of the item worth compared to the energy that was used to purchase the garment? Which is more important to you now? Is it time to build another closet or room onto your house or let go of pieces that don’t work for you in one way or another?
7. Is it Weighing You Down?
If you’re prone to regret – think about will you regret it more if you keep or release? Don’t keep items that are weighing you down. Hanging onto items that are no longer serving you can feel like a burden (gifts from others of clothing you never wear can often feel like this).
Can’t decide to keep or donate? Ask yourself if it feels heavy or light emotionally to keep it… you may find an answer in this question.
8. Be Empowered by Style Knowledge
The more you know about your style the easier it is to know if an item is right or wrong (or will ever be right for you) is so freeing. Being empowered with knowledge, such as discovering your Style Essence found through your Style Type Report and then having a full suite of information about how you can express your style through your clothing in a way that flatters your body, personality, colouring and lifestyle – which are all part of my 7 Steps to Style program along with what I share here on Inside Out Style, means that you make fewer poor purchasing decisions (or you figure out the “what’s wrong” much more quickly and can potentially return before it’s too late).
Further Reading to Help You Declutter Your Wardrobe