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My wardrobe is a constant work in progress, I’m still not where I want to be with it but I’m definitely heading in the right direction. When we moved out of my in laws in March 2017 when we got our mortgage, both hubby and I had a huge clothing cull. We got rid of 9 black bags of stuff. NINE. Can you believe that? And we were sharing a small double bedroom. How we had both accumulated so much stuff I don’t know.
I’m so glad we decided to get rid of it all before moving into our own home, the only thing that sometimes still gives me nightmares is the fact that we took it all to cash for clothes for a pitiful 50p per kg. The amount of ‘new with tags’ stuff in those bags and the money we could’ve made on ebay… haha, you live and you learn though! Now, I don’t throw anything without trying to sell it first (unless it’s damaged etc).
But anyway, after years of working on it (literally), I feel like I’ve learned from past mistakes and picked up some good tips on how to overhaul and streamline your wardrobe. I’d like to eventually work up to a capsule wardrobe, but I’m not quite there yet -maybe one day. These ways might not work for everyone, but they work well for me.
1. Set aside a day to get it done
Although it’ll be an ongoing work in progress to maintain a wardrobe you’re happy with, to begin with you should set aside a few hours to have a big clear out of all your clothes. Create four piles – bin, sell, donate and keep. Bin anything that’s grubby and worn out and decide what you are going to keep, and what you will try to sell and then donate.
2. All items in one place
Get everything in one place and purge it all together. When I decide to do my wardrobe I make sure all the washing is done and everything is put away. Make sure there’s no jackets/cardigan hanging on the back of a chair or banister, or on the coat rack. Make sure I haven’t left anything in the car (why do I always do this?). Check nothing’s left in an overnight bag or gym bag. Group like items together. I recently realised I had 4 pairs of black jeans but only wore 2, so the other 2 went.
3. How to decide
Be honest with yourself – when was the last time you wore it? have you ever worn it? how did you feel when you wore it? Try it on now and see how it feels. Sometimes I’ll come across something and think ‘oh that’s nice, why don’t I wear it?’ and then I’ll put it on and realise that it keeps riding up or highlights my belly and makes me self conscious and remember why. I also don’t wear a lot of my clothes because they’re too creased and I’m too lazy to iron them. Am I likely to start ironing? Probably not, so get rid and get something you will wear instead.
4. Create a system that works for you
Once you’ve purged, you need to create a storage system that works for you. Personally I prefer to hang everything up – including tshirts, jeans, trousers and skirts. Why? Because if it’s tucked in a drawer and I can’t see it, I won’t wear it. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. We have an open wardrobe system now – Luke made a shelf out of a piece of MDF and created a rail underneath out of copper pipe. It cost under £30 to make and gives us far more space than the bulky ikea wardrobe we had before did. Plus it looks much better too. Having a big bulky wardrobe with door meant we would just shove stuff in there and it was always a mess. Now it’s open we have to keep it tidy.
We also have a cheap set of ikea drawers each underneath the rail and a very cheap hanging shoe organiser. Yes, it could be prettier – but I don’t like to waste money on aesthetics when something is functional.
Inside my drawers I keep my underwear (top drawer), pyjamas and swimwear (middle drawer), sports wear (bottom drawer).
5. Matching hangers
I bought 100 metal hangers which were an absolute bargain and got rid of all our mismatched plastic hangers. Matching hangers create a neater, more uniform look and because the metal hangers are so thin they also free up more hanging space.
6. The KonMari folding method
You’ve probably seen the Marie Kondo program on Netflix, and if you haven’t you’ve probably heard of her book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’ (well worth a read). If you don’t have a lot of hanging space and need to store some clothing in drawers then her way of file folding creates lots of storage space and allows you to still see the items you’ve got. If you’re not sure how to do this, there are many tutorials on youtube. Though I don’t keep my clothes in drawers, my sports wear and pyjamas are folded this way.
7. Store seasonal items away
In the baskets on our shelf I have stored my maternity clothes ready for baby number 2 and my holiday clothes – these are the clothes I wouldn’t ordinarily wear at home – short shorts, kaftans, patterned bikinis etc. Storing these separately means they don’t take up space in my wardrobe when I know I’m not going to be wearing them often. Plus if we need to pack for holiday I’ll grab the baskets down and I’m sorted!
8. Try the reverse hanger method
Once you’ve purged and decided what you’re keeping, you could try the reverse hanger method to help maintain it. This involves turning the hangers around the wrong way, and turning them back when you’ve worn, washed and rehung an item. Set yourself a timescale to review it (eg 6 months) and when you come back to reassess, anything you haven’t worn will still be facing the wrong way. So you can easily decide if you’re likely to wear it or if you should just get rid.
9. One in, one out
When you’re happy with the level of clothes you have, enforce the ‘One in, one out’ rule (unless you’re filling a gap you’ve identified). So when you buy something new, before you hang it up decide on one thing to get rid of.
10. Be creative
You’ll be surprised how many different outfits you can make out of items you already own. Try shopping your wardrobe before buying new and mix and match items you wouldn’t usually put together to create new outfits.
11. Make a list of what you actually need
When reviewing your wardrobe, make a note of what you need. I need a black blazer, so I’ve put it on my wishlist. Now, if I go shopping rather than browsing and impulse buying, I can shop intentionally and come away with something I know I need.
I hope you’ve found this helpful, let me know your best tips in the comments 🙂