Banish wardrobe clutter with this keep-or-chuck checklist

Jun 24, 2017
There's no need to have a wardrobe that looks like this!

I clean out at least one wardrobe’s worth of clothes a week and after years of doing this, I’ve noticed that the reason clients hold onto things longer than necessary is for reasons other than not having time, or not knowing what to keep. Because I’m exceptionally gifted at cutting through the clutter, I’m here to shed some light on why you might be struggling to remove some things from your wardrobe and how you can work your way around it.

It’s still got tags on it

It’s been sitting in there for a year, or maybe you got it more recently on sale but it’s still not been worn. You might have been intending to return it but never got around to it, or you might be mixing the fact that it still has tags with one of the other reasons below. Try the item on and work out if there’s a reason you haven’t worn it. Can that solved with a simple alteration, or by finding a jacket or accessory to go with it? Then consider whether the additional investment is worth it and only keep the item if you feel fabulous in it.

It was expensive

We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve spent a little bit too much on an item, rarely worn it, but can’t bear the thought of donating it or throwing it away because of how much we spent on it. Well, consider this: wardrobe space is expensive in a different way. Filling up your wardrobes with things that don’t make you feel fabulous is not only taking up that valuable space, but contributing to the mental clutter you have to sift through of a morning to get dressed. Try selling the item on Facebook or, or donate it to charity.

It was a gift

Another frilly, over-the-top scarf? Or a cast-off from your best friend that for some reason she thought you would like? If you don’t want to keep the item but fear you might by asked by the gifter whether you’ve worn it, have a friend take some photos of you wearing that item, then donate it. Have these photos on hand for the odd occasion when the person asks you.

If you hate the item so much that you can’t even bear this little white lie, donate it, and if the giftee asks why, say your stylist told you to do it. Who knows, someone else out there may love it!

It fitted you … once

I remember keeping a pair of khaki-coloured jeans in a size 7 for the day I thought I might miraculously lose my hipbones and be a 7 again. Let’s all laugh about that for a moment because this booty isn’t fitting into anything in a size 7. I kept these jeans for about 4 years, from when I was a teenager with little hips to when I was a semi-adult with thighs, a bum and hips bigger than any other area of my body.

While it may have seemed like a motivator to lose weight, it only reminded me that I wasn’t skinny enough. Mix these ideas with working in the fashion industry and you start having some very unhealthy thoughts.

Don’t let your daily style routine involve a self-induced body- shaming session. Banish the things that don’t fit and embrace your curves; they’re pretty damn fabulous.

It’s sentimental

You don’t need to throw away your wedding dress, your grandmother’s cardigan or your mother’s handmade outfit. You just shouldn’t store them in the space you use every single day to dress. If you don’t plan to wear these items in the near future, find a cool, dry spot under your bed or in another part of your home that you can store these items and make a little extra room in your wardrobe.

Storing them with your regular clothing will only create more of a treat for moths, silverfish and other nasty little closet critters.

It’s a ‘core’ item

Repeat after me, the core wardrobe is not the same for everyone. You don’t have to have the little black dress or the black blazer, you don’t always need jeans or a white cotton shirt. You need some basics that are plain, but your basics will be different to the next persons. Don’t hold on to an item just because it’s considered a must-have ‘basic’ when you’re not wearing it. Remember what I said about wardrobe space being expensive? Don’t waste it!

It’s a formal item 

The dress is gorgeous, but you’ve worn it to every damn formal event for the last three years and now people expect you to wear it, while you’re thinking that they’re going to think ‘that dress again!.’ If so, maybe it’s time you stop buying formal dresses and start renting them.

It might come back

Yes, fashion is a revolving door, but you want to be able to shut your closet doors. And holding onto an item because it might come back in fashion is like holding onto the size 7 jeans that won’t fit. Sure one day, they might. But if the item does come back into fashion, remember that fashion is still built on trends. Trends often last three months. Are you holding onto an item for years in case you might wear it for a few days over three months? That’s nonsense.

It doesn’t match anything

If you’ve got something that you feel really fantastic in, but you don’t have anything to go with it – get something to go with it! Accessories don’t have to cost a lot but can make the difference. If you feel a bit ‘meh’ about it, though, sell it or donate it. You don’t deserve ‘meh’ style.

It needs fixing

We all put off going to the tailors, but if it’s worth the investment because it means you’ll wear the item, then hop to it. Put the items that need repairing or altering in a bag by the door and drop them off on your next trip out. No excuses. If you still haven’t done it within the week, donate them. You don’t need them.

Do you have any extra wardrobe clean-out tips?


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