My favourite area by far to de-clutter is my wardrobe, not entirely sure why, my inkling though is that I get the most satisfaction from cleaning out my closet. There is something about waking up to an immaculate closet with not only clean clothes (so staying on top of the washing) but to see it full with only your favourite pieces that make you happy and that you actually wear.
I am definitely on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon (for good though) a concept I stumbled across whilst watching my much loved Tedx talks. There are so many inspirations out there and people sharing their methods but I personally love The 10 Item Wardrobe by Jennifer Scott and am eagerly waiting to get my grubby hands on her book Lessons from Madame Chic, and a close is Project 333.
The most challenging part of creating a capsule wardrobe is supposed to be the initial clothing detox where you eliminate a massive portion of your wardrobe leaving only what fits you well, what is appropriate wear for your everyday life (so casual or business clothing for example) and what you really love and wear. For me I find the process extremely cathartic, I should probably note I have not quite completed my capsule wardrobe which is currently a work in progress, mainly due to my body shape still changing and shrinking since having my last baby, meaning I am not quite at a stable weight where I can invest in a few quality staple pieces for my capsule wardrobe. As I slowly and continually lose the baby weight I find I have more and more items I can purge form my wardrobe and take me one step closer to being able to have the wardrobe I desire. So as far as capsule wardrobes go I have little to no advice however when It comes to purging I feel like I have quite a skill for it (always have) and thought I would share some helpful ideas and tips for when and if you decided to de-clutter your wardrobe for whatever reason that might be, capsule wardrobe or not!
The main idea I’d like to share with you is about the ‘Maybe Pile’
Whenever you are de-cluttering or downsizing or cleaning out your wardrobe my suggestions is to revaluate the ‘maybe pile’ and instead call it the deferred decision pile. As it will usually end up back in your wardrobe if it’s not a no it ends up being a yes by default, taking up more room, space and energy.
The main culprits that end up in the maybe pile from my experience are usually clothes that either don’t fit but are aesthetically pleasing, these are the items usually bought on impulse that have great hanger appeal and can be found handing in your closet, tag still attached. The other reason is the polar opposite, these are clothes that we know we don’t like but still serve a purpose such as old clothing that either has worn out a little and has been demoted to ‘house only’ clothes. Items that end up in the maybe pile are also more often than note trendy pieces, experimental choices and more expensive pieces.
Now here’s what I suggest you do with your maybe pile or newly named deferred decision pile. I understand that a lot of us make attachments to clothing or place emotions on specific items, such as guilt or happy memories and it can take a little more thought into whether we want to keep an item or not. There are a lot of helpful suggestions out there such as keeping only what sparks joy, or only hold onto an item for a couple of seconds then make a decision and stick with it. Another somewhat helpful tip is to take items from the maybe pile and store them away so that way if you do need them you can retrieve them which are supposed to minimise the fear of throwing away something of value or purpose for you. And for the most part (and most people) these tips are really affective but if you find your wardrobe is still full of ‘crap’ even after you’ve de-cluttered, or you are still plagued with the infamous stamen ‘I‘ve nothing to wear’ then here are some tips to tackle the maybe pile once and for all.
Try it on.
An obvious tip, I know, but not to be underestimated. When trying items be mindful about the process, try asking yourself these questions. Does it fit, is it well made and in good condition, when, where and how often will I wear it, and most importantly how does it fit in with the rest of my style (try that piece on in several outfit combinations is you must).
Actually wear it
If you really can’t decide and are tempted to keep it, put it into an action plan, don’t just slide it back into the wardrobe. Make a conscious and deliberate effort to wear the piece (out of the house and for more than 10 seconds). I too have had items that I absolutely love but for whatever reason every time I go to wear them end up taking them off before I leave the house and opting for another item in its favour. Instead of storing a ‘maybe’ piece away (remember out of sight out of mind) try placing a sticky note on the hanger with an expiration date (usually 1-3 months within its season). Every time you either try it on actually wear the piece note it down the date on the sticky note and also what emotions were evoked whilst wearing it; happy, joyful, self-conscious, uncomfortable, etc. At the end of its allotted time you’ll have a much clearer idea as to whether you want to keep it or not. You may find that you never actually wore it, or that when you did it did not bring about good vibes, in that case it’s time for it to go.
Do a Swap
Give the item to someone else on loan or swap with a girlfriend, that way it’s like a stepping stone to actually getting rid of the item and you’ll see if you really miss the item or maybe you can appreciate that it might look a lot better on someone else and give you the confidence to let it go.
My opinion is that the maybe pile is full of pieces that we really don’t want to keep but are not quite ready emotionally to get rid of and because we don’t get rid of them they become a part of the yes pile when they really should be in the no pile. I encourage you to really look at the reason why you can’t get rid of it, and to test the clothing item out in your wardrobe, and if an when you are able to eliminate the maybe pile altogether (this is what I do) my piles when de-cluttering are;
These go straight back into the wardrobe (must be tried on by itself and as at least two outfits)
Check the condition of the clothing item first then donate to either a friend or a charity store.
Up-cycle, Repurpose, Mend
Instead of sending your unloved or worn out clothes straight to landfill try to repurpose them. There are so many creative ideas out there, you can either get crafty making clothes, accessories and the likes from your old clothing (my favourite is to make old t-shirts into kids t-shirts) or simply put them in the rag pile!
If you think you can make a little money back from an item (especially relevant for the more expensive impulse purchases), try your hand at selling there are the more traditional ways such as eBay and Gumtree for us Aussies, or there are new apps popping up with a more interact shop your girlfriends wardrobe vibe such as Depop .
Hopefully you were able to pick up some helpful tips and tricks… and of course, happy de-cluttering!