In preparation of moving to Melbourne, a clear-out of my wardrobe was in order. It's something I try to do a couple of times a year regardless as I've been making a conscious effort in seeking out a more minimal wardrobe of clothes I truly love and wear, and trying not to hold onto things "just in case". On this particular clear-out, I was quite disgusted with myself for not having worn certain clothing items more frequently and there were others that had not been worn at all, still having the tags on them! It was time to get real and honest with myself in terms of the amount of clothes I own and my spending habits, though self-awareness is something I continue to work on in all aspects of my life. I still own my fair share of clothes, but I'm progressively getting better at clearing out my wardrobe when it's time to do so, and with my newfound perspective, I thought I'd share with you a step-by-step guide on how I now clear out my wardrobe.
Step 1: Take everything out of your wardrobe
When it's time to do a wardrobe clear-out, I love taking everything out, so that when it's time to reorganise my wardrobe (Step 5!), it's like beginning with a clean canvas. Now, I don't mean take everything out all at once because you'll be left with a massive pile of clothes on your bed, which may overwhelm you and leave you with no idea of where to start. Instead, I like to do this in sections, usually starting with my tops because it's what I own the most of, then I may move onto pants, shorts, dresses, etc. Taking everything out of your wardrobe is a good way to have everything in plain view, so you know what all has been buried away in the depths of your wardrobe and just how much you're really dealing with.
Step 2: Try it on
If it's been a few months to a year since I've last worn an item, I know I should probably get rid of it, however, that can be easier said than done. Usually I'll just hold the piece of clothing up and decide, but when I've been umm-ing and ahh-ing over it for a few minutes, it'll require a bit more effort and I'll have to try it on. When you try things on again, you get a better idea if it still suits your body type (perhaps you've lost weight, put it on or just realised it really isn't that flattering) and your personal style. Ask yourself, 'How will I style it?', 'What other pieces in my wardrobe can I wear with it?' and 'On what occasion(s) will I wear this?' If you're stuck for answers, I'd toss it. These are also good questions to keep in mind when shopping too.
Step 3: Be absolutely ruthless
For me, there is no "maybe" pile. It's a plain yes or no if I'm keeping an item. It's as simple as that. From years of experience clearing out my wardrobe, I've learnt that a maybe always means no and I'll end up getting rid of it the next time I do a wardrobe clear-out. You may think you'll eventually wear it or you'll miss that particular piece of clothing, but once it's gone, it's gone and I can assure you, you'll probably never think about it again. I used to keep certain pieces of clothing because of sentimental value (mostly items I bought overseas), but I've learnt to just get rid of those too if I'm not wearing them. There's just really no point keeping something you're not going to wear and I mean, it's kind of ridiculous to place sentimental value on clothing when you really think about it! It would be more meaningful to give it away or sell it to someone who's actually going to wear it, instead. I'll admit I still have trouble always following through with this step, but I'm getting better and I've actually even gotten rid of more clothing you may see in the above photo too!
Step 4: Sort your unwanted clothing into 'to sell' and 'to donate' piles
As there's no maybe pile of clothing for me, I like to sort my no pile into two categories: one to sell on eBay and another to give to the op shops. It's nice to make a little bit of money from the clothes you once loved (or thought you would, but didn't!), so when I've got some free time to spare, I list my nicer unwanted clothes on eBay. It's an absolute bitch and I even wonder whether all the effort is really worth the very little money I make, but sometimes you can hit the jackpot and make a decent amount, especially if it's designer or if it's been bought in a store not easily accessible in the country you live in. For example, my Forever 21 (I don't shop online here anymore as the quality is rubbish) and Urban Outfitters clothing sell quite well. For everything else I don't think is worth that much, a bit basic or has been relisted a few times on eBay and just won't sell, I donate to the op shops. Donating old clothes is a pretty thoughtless good deed, but someone gets cheap clothes and you get to rid yourself of your junk, so everyone wins all round!
Step 5: Reorganise your wardrobe and put everything back
Putting everything back can be a nuisance, but the Monica Geller in me looks forward to this part the most. I like to give the shelves a bit of a clean too because I have obsessive compulsive tendencies when it comes to neatness and cleanliness. Along with your complete wardrobe purge, reorganising your wardrobe will leave you with a clearer mind and feeling refreshed. If things have gotten particularly messy in your wardrobe, a wardrobe clear-out is a great way to get things back in order again, so everything has its own place and you're not just favouring the clothes you can actually find! I love that feeling of having everything neatly folded up and knowing my wardrobe contains clothing pieces I absolutely love and will actually wear. Not everyone will feel as strongly as me when it comes to a tidy wardrobe, but I'm weird like that. Floordrobe is not a word in my vocabulary.
Step 6: Treat yourself to new clothes, but be wise
With a wardrobe clear-out, you may find yourself missing a few basics or key pieces, or maybe even just want to spruce up your wardrobe with a new season ahead. That's completely fine, but you don't want to get to the point where you're throwing out a sickening amount of clothing again, so really think about what you're spending your money on with each piece you buy. I could ramble on with my shopping advice and about the things I've learnt from my wardrobe clear-out, but I'll save those tips for another post!