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How to Weed out Your Wardrobe

Photo by Artem Bali on

Sorting out your wardrobe is marvellous therapy. You will feel so pleased with yourself when you’ve finished.

This is what you’re aiming for – a well-organised, sorted wardrobe that’s a pleasure to look through as you know you’re going to be able to find exactly what you’re looking for!

Part 1

Hopefully, before you begin, you will know which colours suit you – that is the major starter for ten that you must understand before you begin throwing things out right, left and centre.

If you don’t know your best colours, I suggest you book right now for your very own colour consultation. This will revolutionise your thinking and set you up for a fantastically rewarding wardrobe weed-out.

I strongly recommend locking yourself in your bedroom with a bottle of your favourite tipple and plan to go nowhere for the next couple of hours.

And be careful before planning to do this with a friend.

Ask yourself – can your friend really be objective about you? Will she be a help or a hindrance? If in doubt, trust your own judgement or call in expert help.

Put a big sign on the door, if necessary, that you are not be disturbed under any circumstances – not even if George Clooney arrives at the door with flowers and champagne…… Well, you get my drift, I’m sure.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

Your mission is to sort out the wheat from the chaff and the first step is to make three piles of clothes:

  1. clothes you only wear once a year (taffeta ball gown, bikini, etc.)
  2. clothes you haven’t worn for more than a year
  3. everything else

Don’t worry about whether the colours or styles are right at this point. Just make your decision based solely on the criteria above. We’ll cover specifics in Part 2.

At this point, you will probably be exhausted and need a refill.

Do not be distracted by the television, the cat who has been sick on the carpet, or the pile of ironing which beckons.

Be strong and return to the task in hand. It WILL be worth it.

Organza ballgown

1. Special items
Start with those items that you only wear once a year (like the organza ball gown shown here) and decide if you will definitely need them again this year.
If not, add them to the pile that you haven’t worn for more than a year.
If you reckon they are still useful items to keep, put them back in the wardrobe and give yourself a round of applause.

2. Items for removal
The second pile of clothes that you haven’t worn for more than a year should be considered as being destined for removal.
You’ve already spent time on these items so let’s move on. We’ll come back to them later but now it’s time to concentrate on the clothes that you actually wear.

3. Items to keep
Put them back into your wardrobe, checking each one for stains, missing buttons, loose threads, etc.

4. Items to clean or mend
Any of these should be put aside into a fourth pile for cleaning or mending. Do NOT put these back into the wardrobe until they are mended or clean.

Use decent hangers

Storing the items you are keeping

  • Hang all your jackets next to each other, separating them from the matching skirt and/or trousers
  • Hang all your skirts next to each other and repeat this with trousers, blouses, jumpers, etc.

Oh, and please – respect the clothes you have left – please use decent wooden or shaped, heavy plastic hangers. Wire hangers are cheap and nasty and will mark your clothes eventually. Add wire hangers to the pile for removal.

It is amazing how many people only ever wear suit items that match.

If you have the right mix of colours in your wardrobe, many of your skirts and/or trousers will go with a variety of your jackets.

In a nutshell, if everything in your wardrobe matches YOU, then each piece will match each other! You have more outfits in your wardrobe than you can imagine.

Take a break

Before launching into part 2 of this exercise, I would recommend a recess. You will probably have been in there for longer than you anticipated and be in urgent need of a lie-down in a darkened room.

If you still have any energy:

  1. bundle the clothes for removal into bin liners or carrier bags, ready for disposal and hide them in a cupboard – don’t get rid just yet
  2. sort out the remaining pile, separating out those that need repair and putting those with stains into the wash basket
  3. close the wardrobe doors
  4. congratulate yourself on a job well done

Part 2 of this mission will require more liquid intake, more time to yourself, and more energy. We’ll look at what to do with the pile for removal, how to decide what to finally keep and how to make the most of what’s left.

Part 2

If you managed to complete Part 1, you should be feeling particularly pleased with yourself. But there’s a bit more to do to achieve a wardrobe that works for every occasion. Don’t give up now. This is the start of an organised wardrobe and the psychological benefits cannot be too strongly stressed.

Items for repair/cleaning

It’s a good idea if you can get these items cleaned and / or repaired before you begin mixing and matching. You’ll only have to repeat some of the process below when they are.

Let’s put the most of your energy into the items in your wardrobe as these are the most important.

Prepare your reward now

  • Line up a special treat for yourself – a box of your favourite chocolates or ice cream, perhaps?
  • But, hold your horses, not just yet……

Trying on

Put on your favourite blouse

Put on your favourite blouse.

Look at yourself in the mirror and decide why it is your favourite. Does it make you look wonderful? If so, then more than likely it will be in the correct colour palette for your skin tone.

  • So, you are now looking for trousers, skirts, jackets, etc. that tone with or complement this blouse
  • Try on every skirt you have with this blouse. And while you’re there, try on all your jackets and cardigans with this skirt and blouse
  • If you have trousers in your wardrobe, try every pair of trousers on with the same blouse (and don’t forget to try all the jackets, too, with this same blouse and trousers combination)

Then move on to your next most favourite blouse or jumper.

  • Try on every skirt you have with this top and then try on all your jackets with this combination … and so it goes on

Soon, you should be able to see how useful your existing wardrobe really is. You will have a number of outfits in your wardrobe, not just a number of clothes.

Still finding things that just don’t work?

On this second pass through your wardrobe, you may discover one or two items that really don’t go with anything else anymore.

  • Maybe the colour just isn’t right for you
  • Perhaps the style doesn’t lend itself to other items you really feel comfortable in
  • You might have already discovered so many more outfits that work really well, that you just don’t need this item anymore

Whatever the reason, just add these to the removal pile.

Time for a treat

You can probably see now why I recommended a short break between parts 1 and 2.

This is tough work and I expect you’re pretty shattered by now. This is the time to indulge in your special treat – you deserve it.

Items for removal

Now, you can turn your attention to the items that you originally put away for removal. If you really have the energy and want to see if there is anything that could still be salvaged, this is your last chance to go through them.

If not, it is worth sorting them into anything that could be useful to your local charity shop or a friend or relation.

Please make sure these things are clean before you pass them on.

All the rest should just be binned or taken for recycling.

Well done!

You now have a wardrobe containing clothes that you know you are going to wear.

You know what looks good with what.

You’ve learnt to mix and match what you already have and you will make so much more use out of the items you have.

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