Do you ever go to your wardrobe in the morning to get dressed but can’t find anything to wear, despite it being full of clothes? You can’t find the item you’re looking for, you can’t decide which outfit to wear and your kids are pulling at you asking for breakfast and help brushing their teeth and, to top it all, you’re running late… So you grab the first thing that comes to hand, whether it’s the same as what you wore yesterday, and pull it on. If this is you, read my post on how to make it simpler for yourself – declutter your wardrobe and love your clothes.
Nothing to wear despite a wardrobe full of clothes?!
Let’s face it, there are often enough demands on your time first thing in the morning without adding to your troubles something as simple as choosing what to wear.
Not to mention it being yet another decision you have to make, as well as the millions of other decisions you will have to make that day.
What if I suggested to you that there was a solution to all this. It’s very simple and won’t take much time to put into place but it will make SO much difference to your mornings AND make you feel good about yourself to set you up for a great day ahead.
The solution is to declutter your wardrobe!
Removing everything that shouldn’t be in there, keeping only what you love and you know is versatile enough to suit every activity you do during the day, and ensuring it’s all laid out in front of you so you can see what’s there.
You can open your wardrobe doors with excitement and anticipation every morning, and get dressed with speed and ease, knowing that you’ll look and feel great.
Surely, you ask, it’s not that simple? Read on to learn for yourself.
How to declutter your wardrobe and love getting dressed
Decluttering my wardrobe was the first step in my own journey to Minimalism. I knew I wanted to declutter the stuff in my home to make more space and create more time by freeing myself up from looking after and managing so much stuff (moving it, tidying it, dusting it etc).
I started on a weekend when I had my kids and step-kids. Our small house was full-to-brimming with kids, noise and activity. They were fully occupied playing with their toys in the living room, a game with makeshift tents, so I couldn’t start decluttering either the toys or in the main rooms.
So, I hid in my bedroom and decluttered my wardrobe instead!
It was my space, a small manageable space where I could see a tangible start, middle and end to my project.
It didn’t matter to anyone else what I kept and what I didn’t, so I didn’t need to explain or justify myself to others. I could practice decluttering and simplifying my own stuff (in this case my clothes) and then I’d be more comfortable and practiced so I could move onto other areas such as my kids’ clothes and the rest of the house.
At that point my husband didn’t see or understand the benefits of minimalism and I certainly didn’t want to put him off what could be a game-changer for our family before I’d even started myself. So I knew I had to leave his stuff until he was ready.
Your wardrobe should bring you joy not pain!
You should look forward to getting dressed each morning in clothes that you love and give you confidence.
This will set you up for the day and make you feel better about yourself. This in turn will reflect on how you are with your kids, partner, those at work and so on.
You deserve to have everything in your wardrobe make you feel amazing. This is your space and can reflect your personality like no other place in your home so make the most of it.
How to declutter your wardrobe?
Prepare yourself with coffee, music and some time to yourself – firstly, put some music on, make a cup of tea or coffee and make it fun. Try to find a time when you do it all in one go, getting everything out, trying it on, sorting it etc. If that’s not possible or realistic then break it into sections. Do one section today, one tomorrow etc. Just make sure you are equally positive and ruthless on each day or you’ll end up with an unbalanced wardrobe with a couple of trousers but a million tops!
Take everything out of your wardrobe – including clothes, shoes, bags and random clutter that you’ve stuffed in there because you couldn’t find somewhere else for it to live. Put all the clothes and clothing-related items on your bed.
Rehome anything that shouldn’t be in your wardrobe – that means it’s not an item of clothing or something that you put on your body. Find alternative storage spaces for the stuff you want to keep and throw away, recycle or sell the stuff that you no longer want. Remember that wardrobes are for clothes and related items, not a catch-all for junk. You don’t keep bath products in the living room so why keep junk in your wardrobe!
Clean your wardrobe thoroughly – wipe it down and hoover it out, including all surfaces and any internal drawers and shelves.
Look at the clothes on your bed – hold each of them up and try them on if you need. Ask yourself when was the last time you wore this item, do you love it, is it versatile and will it go with lots of other things or is it damaged, misshapen, stained, ill-fitting, or do you not totally love it. Bear in mind that your body shape changes as you get older and after pregnancy so what may have suited and fitted you once, may not now. Embrace the changes as they make you who you are and make sure your clothes flatter and fit you now.
Make three piles – keep, throw, donate. Sort each of your items of clothing into one of the three piles listed above. If you’re not sure about an item, put it on the side to come back to at the end. Don’t get caught up on it, just ask yourself the questions above and be truthful to yourself with the answer.
If you’re definitely not sure what you wear and what you don’t, then try putting all your hangers facing in a single direction. After wearing an item, put it back but facing the other way around. In 3 months time you’ll be able to see what you’ve worn and what you’ve haven’t!
Alternatively you could ask a friend to help you go through your wardrobe and get their advice on what you look good in and what s/he reckons you don’t.
Deal with the clothes you’re not keeping – Once you’ve sorted your clothes into the piles put the ‘throw’ and ‘donate’ piles into separate bags or boxes and put them in a prominent position where you can take them to the bin/charity shop as soon as possible. Don’t leave them lying around where you’ll be tempted to take something out and put it back in your wardrobe, ‘just in case’ you might need it in the future.
On a side note, I’m never totally convinced about selling items. If you think you’ll get some money back, and they’re of value then go for it, but beware of falling into the trap of trying to sell everything as the tendency is to keep things back waiting forever in the hope that they’ll be sold. If you worry about the amount of money you’re wasting by just throwing things away then consider it this way – you wasted the money when you purchased the item, not when you got rid of it.
Put back the clothes you are keeping – How you do this is up to you, but I urge you to be as organised and tidy as possible.
Invest in some good hangers that won’t damage your clothes and look nice hanging up. Buy some internal drawer units, drawer dividers or put in extra shelves to make the most of any extra space. Check out pinterest for interesting ways to store clothes. Label any boxes or drawers and put pictures on the outside so you know what’s in each.
When putting your clothes back in the wardrobe, think about grouping your clothes in some way. Maybe have a special section for work clothes or separate out the items by item category, for example, all trousers together, all tops together etc. Or, you could separate them by season or colour.
Try to hang as much up as possible so that you make everything visible. If you can’t immediately see it when you’re in a mad rush in the morning then you are most likely to forget it’s there. There are, of course, some clothes that are better folded in drawers so they don’t stretch, such as sweaters. That’s fine, but just make sure that they’re folded neatly and everything is organised.
There will always be some items that you’re not sure what to do with
What about items that don’t fit you at the moment, but you hope will do once you’ve finished your diet? I’m definitely not a fan of this approach as it implies that you aren’t happy with how you are now and that you don’t deserve to have nice clothes or look after yourself now.
You may well wish you were a bit slimmer but remember that your body is beautiful and amazing now so you should be proud of it no matter what!
It has done miraculous things like give you children after all! Instead, choose clothes that suit and flatter your body type now, accentuate your best features and hide those that you aren’t so keen on.
If it’s a sentimental item then consider storing it somewhere else, cut off a portion as a keepsake or take a photo of the item, save it on your computer and then get rid of the actual item.
If you have out of season clothes or maternity clothes that you know for sure you’ll be using again but they’re bulky or just take up valuable space then definitely keep them. Perhaps store them in a separate place, maybe under your bed or high up on the top shelf of your wardrobe, as you don’t need to be able to get to them on a daily basis.
Now you know what’s in your wardrobe you can make some adjustments
Think about your daily routine and make sure you have sufficient clothes and outfit combinations that are appropriate for how you spend your days.
It’s no good having a wardrobe full of work clothes if you’re now on maternity leave and spend your days at home with a tiny baby covered in baby sick. Or maybe you have loads of party dresses from your care-free, pre-children days, so you might rethink how many you actually need now you’re in a different life stage.
Go through everything that’s hanging up and see if you can identify some common themes. Are you attracted to certain styles, brands or colours? This will help you if you need to go shopping so you know what to focus on to make shopping easier.
Tips for shopping for clothes
- Always go armed with a list of what you want to buy
- Set your budget before you go or only take with you a certain amount of money so you don’t get carried away
- If you can’t afford to replace everything then maybe just buy one or two pieces a month. Work out what your priority items are and look for those first
- Invest in quality key pieces that are wardrobe staples. Maybe consider spending a bit more on these items if your budget allows as they will last for longer
- Avoid the sales unless you’re confident that you won’t get swayed by the amazing discounts
- Go for brands that are more reasonably priced for current or trendy clothes so it doesn’t matter so much if they only last a season or two
- If you love clothes and shopping and can’t resist something you see in the store but you don’t strictly need it, then consider the ‘one in/one out’ rule. Could you buy that item but then get rid of something else that’s already in your wardrobe so you don’t end up accumulating yet more clothes
- Look for items that are easy care, don’t need dry cleaning and ironing and are versatile enough to be dressed up or down and go with lots of others things in your wardrobe
- Check out my blog post on Minimalism and how to shop with intention here
Maintaining your wardrobe
If you want lots of clothes that’s fine as long as you are using them, they bring you joy, are organised well and are an intentional use of your space and therefore your time. Just as if you liked books and, however minimalist the rest of your home, you wanted a full set of bookcases in each room.
Minimalism is not about living in sparsity, rather only allowing the stuff you love and brings purpose to fill up your space and therefore your time.
If clothes are important to you then don’t get caught up in the fad for a capsule wardrobe or restrict your wardrobe to a set number of items.
Minimalism and decluttering isn’t about sentencing you or your family to a life of scarcity but instead focusing on the things that bring you joy and getting rid of the stuff that doesn’t. If clothes bring you joy then that’s fine!
On the flip side, you might find that sticking to a set number of items helps you, at least to get started. Do what feels right to you!
The point of this article is to help you simplify your wardrobe, remove the excess so that you can easily see what you’ve got, have fun deciding what to wear each morning and love your clothes!
It’s to help you feel good about yourself, more confident, ready and able to cope with everything that the day throws at you.
If you keep on top of your laundry and do this as part of a regular cycle then you shouldn’t have the need for lots of clothes if you don’t want them.
Once you’re happy with your wardrobe then you need to ensure the clutter doesn’t sneak back in! Use the start of each new season as an opportunity to go through your clothes again, making sure you’re happy with everything and dealing with the rest.
Now you’ve decluttered, enjoy your clothes
Hopefully by now you’ll be curious about uncluttering YOUR wardrobe! You’ll be able to love your clothes and look forward to deciding what to wear each morning and it won’t take you long to do it. You’ll be feeling happy and confident knowing that you’re dressed well and you look great.
We spend so much of our time looking after others that we always come last, with no time or incentive to look our best. Now you see how you can change that!