As we slowly drip our way into a new season (summer in England ha, haha), there’s no better time to declutter your wardrobe. It can be hard though, can’t it? Clothes are complicated things, we’ve worn them as our life progresses on a daily basis or at important life moments. We’ve bought them in desperation, in happiness, in sadness and they’re all tinged with memories of some kinds. They’re quite literally the fabric of our lives and sometimes it can be hard to let them go. If you’re struggling to declutter your wardrobe here are 7 questions which might just help.
1. Have I worn this in the past year?
That old stat is dragged out time and again “did you know we only wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of them time?” but if you think about, it’s true. Many garments rarely, if ever, get worn and we tend to rely on the same trusted pieces, there must be a reason for it. If you haven’t worn it for a year you probably aren’t that in love with it, get rid of it or give yourself a very strict time limit of 3 months.
2. Am I likely to wear this in the next year?
If you decide to keep an item you haven’t worn for a year make sure you ask yourself this question before you return it to your wardrobe ‘will I wear this in the next year’? Be honest with yourself, you don’t want to be back in the same situation with the same garment year after year.
3. Does this fit me?
This is a simple fix – try it on! Does it fit you? Nope? Bob it on eBay or send it to the charity shop.
4. Do I like it?
It seems like a daft and obvious question to ask but it’s a basic and essential element of decluttering –do you even like it? You might hate it on the hanger but love it once it is on, so try it on. I know sometimes I’ll buy something just to buy something at the end of an unsuccessful day shopping. We all have items which cause us to ask ‘what was I even thinking?’ Set those garments free!
5. If I saw it in a shop today would I still by it?
This is another of those questions which does exactly what it says on the tin (remember that?) but it’s definitely a valid question. You want to feel comfortable, secure and happy in your clothes right? Maybe you’re hanging on to things for no good reason, things which hurt (I’m looking at you purple bra), things that don’t sit right and items which don’t quite fit with your style. Hold up that dress, imagine you had to part cash for it in 5 minutes, would you?
6. Does this garment hold sentimental value to me?
Does the item remind you of something, somewhere or someone special? If you know how to process those sentimental feelings then set it loose into the world, if you don’t then keep it – deal with your feelings and memories and let the possession go when you’re ready. Don’t push yourself to get rid of something which truly means something to you but equally don’t keep hold of items purely because of a rich memory. I have recently donated some very, very, very precious items which were of no use to me but I knew someone else could use. Those items where wrapped in memories and it took 8 years for me to realise that the memories were richer than the possessions. I let the items go peacefully – I photographed one or two and kept just one small special thing which helps me remember everything – I didn’t need everything to remember everything, if that makes sense.
7. Could someone else make better use of this?
I find this question really helps me focus. A dress two sizes too small isn’t helping me but it could serve a purpose for someone else. Keeping the idea of someone, be that a friend or stranger via a charity shop or even eBay, finding a better use for my clothes really helps me to focus and be more brutal with the process.
One small tip – when you’re putting your clothes back in the wardrobe but them in so the hangers are facing the ‘wrong’ way. When you take an item out to wear and return it after laundering put the hanger back in the ‘correct’ way. After a couple of months you’ll have a good visual idea of what is and isn’t being worn.