With January's weather remaining predictably unpredictable, there's no better time for that wardrobe detox you've been meaning to do since the very first lockdown.
If you're anything like us, working from home during the pandemic has likely taught you several things. And while we've come to terms with our partner's bizarre phone voice and the fact that snack rationing will never work, we're struggling to ignore the endless piles of clean clothes on the spare bed that no longer fit in the wardrobe.
That's why so many of us optimistically spent the first lockdown diligently decluttering our wardrobe - and we encourage you to do the same this January. As well as actually being able to see what outfits you have to wear (and clearing out the ones that have been taking up space for years) a Marie Kondo wardrobe detox is also great for your mental health, something we all need to take very seriously during such anxious times.
Keen to declutter but no idea where to start? Here’s our guide to how to do it yourself in 15 easy steps.
Take everything out
Remove everything from your wardrobe - don’t just throw it out; grab 10 items at a time and lay them on the bed. Look at the quality of each item - is it bobbled? Faded? - and decide very quickly whether you love it or if it needs to go. It’s so important to declutter your wardrobe this way because it gives you the opportunity to look at each item, without skimming past it. It’s also less overwhelming to deal with one item at a time.
Don’t hold on to occasionwear
If you’re thinking of holding on to that strapless, satin, circa 2003 dress think again think again. The vast majority of occasionwear and evening dresses tend to look dated really quickly. If the item isn't something you'd consider rewearing, ditch it and give to the charity shop. Unless it’s a designer piece or a classic style, you won’t earn much reselling it.
Only keep clothes that fit you NOW
One of the biggest obstacles for women when it comes to clothes is that they live in the past or the future. They either want to look how they used to, or they may want to look a certain way in the future. Keeping an item of clothing that doesn’t fit is only going to bring negativity to mind when you see it.
Ditch wire hangers
Wire hangers (usually from the dry cleaners) are really bad for your clothes as they bend items out of shape. Wooden hangers look good, but they’re big and clunky and take up a lot of space in your wardrobe. We prefer non-slip hangers that you can buy cheaply online.
Hang your jewellery
The only jewellery that should be kept in a jewellery box are rings, bracelets and earrings. Necklaces should be hung up, either on hooks or on pretty hangers. Having these on display allows you to be more creative when playing around with outfits. It also prevents them from getting tangled. The psychological effect of seeing your necklaces will make it seem like less effort to wear a different one every day, rather than thinking: ‘I can’t be bothered to look through my drawers.’
Are you shoes dated?
Give your pairs of shoes a once over - making sure to check them carefully, as having super scuffed shoes can make an outfit look dated. Shoes can get dusty and sometimes even mouldy, so it’s important to store them in boxes where possible. If they're of no use to you, take them to a charity shop or recycling bank.
Some people like their wardrobes to be colour-coded, but we prefer to organise them in style order. For example, have a workwear section, a casual section, and an occasionwear section. It will make your life easier when you’re dressing for work and you only have one specific section to choose from.
When you have finished the decluttering process, take the leftover items to the charity shop as soon as possible, and avoid looking back through the bags ‘just in case’. Once those items have gone, you won’t miss them. Let someone else love, treasure and enjoy them now.
Now read what happened when one GLAMOUR staffer tried it out....
I own 65 pairs of shoes and have two closets full of clothes. I know I have too many clothes but, in my defence, I love them all.
I love dressing up and I do it pretty much every day (apart from when in lockdown, unfortunately). Clothes are an intrinsic aspect of my self-expression, a part of my raison d’etre. And I use this as the reason for replenishing my wardrobe. Admittedly, perhaps a little too frequently. In a bid to be more sustainable and use the time in lockdown to cleanse my space (and my head), I had two days of long overdue wardrobe purging.
Here's what I learned along the way:
My shoes were the evil corner that had been neglected for far too long, and needed tackling first. Despite owning an amazing shoe organiser and shoe cupboard, it was over filled with 65 pairs of mostly crumpled shoes, all shoved in and mismatched and subsequently unworn.
The only way was to keep it simple. So I nervously dumped the lot on the floor and proceeded to lay out all 65 pairs for a tidy, predominantly, but also for my Insta followers to marvel, gawp, gasp at and comment on (lockdown has made us all shameless over-sharers, after all).
My process of elimination was pretty simple: anything I hadn’t worn in the last 12 months, felt uncomfortable, was too tight, too loose, ill-fitting, too battered or that I simply didn’t fancy anymore HAD TO GO. They either went into a recycle bag or a charity one. There were 15 pairs of casualties by the end of the clear out.
I employed the same uncomplicated approach to my clothes - clearing out anything that I hadn’t worn in six months, that felt out of style and dated or anything that had, um, “shrunk in the wash”. Anything that I got rid of fell into one of three piles: recycling pile, high street charity shop pile and thrift pile.
Thrift+ is a genius concept; an online portal which sells your best second hand clothes on your behalf (think designer brands, premium high street) and donates the money to your chosen charity and also give donors credit to spend.
Six bin bags, several cups of tea and a total of eight hours later, my closets had been cleansed.
Purging my closet made me feel an odd mix of exhausted, smug and gratified - there is something very satisfying about it. I also felt what can only described as an unexpectedly detoxifying effect. Mess and clutter really does affect the energy in a room.
Everyone will have their preferred mode of clearing out and for me, it's really just two simple principles that helped me: taking the sentimentality and emotion out of it and using ‘if I can’t see it, I won’t wear it’ as my new mantra for being smarter with my space.
Now it's time to tackle the kitchen…
This article was originally published on Glamour UK.