Spring is in the air (hopefully soon anyway). Which means it’s time to turn our thoughts to one of my favourite things – spring cleaning.
Eh? Does anybody really like sorting through boxes and rifling through cupboards full of junk? No, not really. But I’m talking about a different kind of spring cleaning. I call it a Wardrobe Weed.
Getting your wardrobe looking clean and clear is easy to do, good for the soul and makes you feel smug about making some space. Perfect!
Think like She-Ra (remember her?) so that you can be ruthless and take no trouser prisoners. Ask a trusted, honest friend or family member to help, and have a camera phone to hand – it won’t lie, even if your assistant is telling a few white ones.
- Shopping list and pen to write down anything you’re missing.
- Three bin bags. One for stuff to give to charity/resale a la eBay, one for the bin itself, and one for the dry cleaner/tailor/cobbler.
- Wet wipes. What for? You’ll be surprised how much dust you’ll find in your wardrobe, and maybe a few spider webs – urgh.
Arrange your stuff into three piles:
1 – Like, still wear, in good nick
2 – Don’t like, damaged, doesn’t fit
3 – Not sure, iffy
Getting stuck in
To give you instant satisfaction, go through pile 2 first. If you can’t fix it or it’s not worth fixing then get rid. If it’s well worn but you love it then make a note on your shopping list to find a similar one and then bin. If it doesn’t fit, bin! If staring at it longingly for the last two years has not poked you enough to lose the weight then bin.
Get the picture? And if you dislike it then donate or resell on eBay, vintage shop or dress agency.
Now to make you feel fab again go through pile 1. Try things on again to build up your confidence and maybe look at other things to wear with them. This is the ‘fun bit’. Then put them back in the wardrobe, grouping garment types and putting colours together. This helps you see them more easily and make better decisions when you reach for outfits.
Wearing similar colours or tones together is very slimming. It will also make you see if you have a sea of black or whether you’re lacking in certain colours.
Moving on to pile 3. This is where you need your honest assistant and have to wake up She-Ra. For each item, ask yourself the following to help you make an informed decision about what to do with it.
- Why is it iffy? Is it the colour, the fit? It just doesn’t do it for you?
- Do you have anything else to wear it with? Remember, any separates should work with at least two other items.
- Are you EVER going to wear it?
- Does it need tights, accessories or shoes to make it work? If so, add these to your list.
Try experimenting a little and put them on with something else. Take photos if you’re not sure – and if you still aren’t persuaded, you’ll probably always feel like this so donate or resell.
If you’re keeping an item for sentimental reasons then ask yourself: is it taking up a lot of room, could you vacuum pack it away, or could you earn some money from it to make new memories?
Occasion wear and out-of-season clothes
You can follow the same process for your occasion wear, but remember it’s natural you won’t wear it as often. Put these items in proper garment covers and move them out of your wardrobe if they take up too much room.
If you’re getting fed up, vacuum pack your out-of-season stuff and sort through when you need them – or do it all while you’re on a roll. Entirely up to you…
So, now you can look at your wardrobe with a lot more pride and can see things more clearly – if you can’t see it you’re less likely to wear it. You should be able to notice any other gaps too, maybe a pair of jeans in another colour, or more blouses or day dresses. Just a few more things to bear in mind:
The hangers have it. Knitwear needs to be on knitwear hangers (if you have room) or those velvet coated ones. If not fold neatly into drawers or wardrobe compartments. No wired hangers please as they totally ruin the shape and make Dynasty-like shoulders lumps. Not a good look. In fact, no wired hangers at all for your clothes. If you have enough room I’d go for wooden ones but if your wardrobe is limited then the sturdier coated ones are fine.
Be aware of moths. I thought they were a nanna myth… and was I horrified when my cashmere cardigan came out with Swiss cheese holes, little buggers!
Instead of going for those old-fashioned moth balls, try a more non-smelly modern version or use lavender or cedar oil/bags somewhere – moths hate the stuff.
Separate your sequins. Don’t hang them next to delicate fabrics or knitwear or they’ll attract/pull at each other like toddlers in a ball pit and ruin the fabrics. If you have to put them together then put a plastic cover over one of them.
Sort your shoes. These can be put in the bottom of your wardrobe. Buy clear boxes to put your heels in, to save you getting down on your hands and knees and searching through the confused jumble of shoes like a tramp in a bin. For knee boots, try putting in boot inserts to stop them flopping.