Whether you’ve been hooked on Marie Kondo’s Netflix series or have vowed to not buy clothes in 2019 – meaning you need to get better at using your current ones – this is the perfect time to tackle your overflowing wardrobe.
But what to keep and what to instantly send to the charity shop? We asked experts for advice on decluttering your closet.
What To Chuck
Most women wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time, according to decluttering professional Kate Ibbotson, who runs A Tidy Mind.
The best best way for you to get out of this cycle is to chuck out what you don’t wear, she says. Getting organised is all about wellbeing and calm.
But where to begin? “Get everything out of the wardrobe and clear the wardrobe space, and then you can categorise your clothes and accessories by putting all your jeans together, putting all your work clothes together, and once you’re going through the categories of clothing you can compare them to other similar things you’ve got,” she says.
If you’re not wearing some of these items there’s probably a reason that will prevent you from doing so in the future - maybe it fits but doesn’t look quite right, or it’s too low cut, or you need to wear a belt with it. It’s worth thinking about whether you’ll ever wear them or whether it’s time to donate them to charity. As you’re going through your clothes and accessories set aside the things you know you won’t wear and don’t put them back in the wardrobe.
What To Keep
“Ask yourself: when was the last time I wore this? Does it suit my style? Do I feel fantastic in it?” Ibbotson says - if the answer is no, then those clothes will just cloud your decision making when you look in your wardrobe.
If you can’t quite bring yourself to part with some items then employ the “hanger trick”, she says. This involves turning all of your clothes hangers around the wrong way and turning them the right way once you’ve worn them. If you still have untouched clothes after six months, it might be time to part with them.
Danijela Coha, a professional organiser who runs the Wardrobe Fairy, has a similar method when working with her clients to sort our their clothes.
“I will ask them when did you last wear it? How many do you have? How worn is it? Do you have space?” She says that often when people have so much in their wardrobe, or lurking at the back of drawers, that they simply don’t know what’s in there “and then they forget about it and buy a new one.”
People often hold on to items because they feel guilty about getting rid of them when they’ve hardly worn them, she says, or because they no longer fit. But being honest with yourself about whether you’ll ever wear it regularly is key.
How To Organise
Once you’ve set aside the clothes you’re definitely not keeping, then put the clothes you are keeping back in an organised fashion. Many of us are pushed for space so it can be helpful to zip up or box up clothes that are out of season, or that you only wear on special occasions. Ibbotson recommends the SKUBB range from Ikea and opting for something you can close to keep the dust out, or a similar style which can fit on top of the wardrobe or under the bed.
If you have boxes of shoes that you never open lurking in the back of your wardrobe she also recommends ditching the shoe boxes for clear plastic boxes so that you can actually see what’s inside, which will help you to remember to wear them. They are also more durable and will protect your shoes from being crushed or damaged (if you ever fall off the clutter-free wardrobe waggon and get messy again) and can be purchased at Lakeland.
Storage is equally important for bags, accessories, and jewellery. Find containers for everything and either store them on shelves inside the wardrobe, or on the floor of the wardrobe for easy access. If you want to splash a bit more cash than you would at Ikea, John Lewis has a more premium range of storage boxes in a range of colours and materials.
When it comes to repopulating your wardrobe with clothes, Coha suggests colour-coding your clothes as far as possible and putting them back in categories. Hangers are really important - and she recommends ditching chunky wooden hangers and instead investing in slim, space saving hangers that can be bought from Amazon or Primark. Sticking to the same colour will make it look good, too.
Drawers are also not to be overlooked. Ibbotson recommends vertically folding t-shirts the Marie Kondo way. This basically involves storing your clothes in the opposite way we all usually do - and helps us to see the colours when we open up a drawer. And when it comes to the chaotic underwear and socks drawer? Both Ibbotson and Coha recommend buying drawer dividers, which will help you keep different items separate and easy to find.
How To Stay Organised
OK, so you’ve spent a day sorting out your wardrobe and you’re feeling zen. The next challenge will be staying that way and the best way to start is to pledge to stop adding unnecessary items to your wardrobe.
Avoid impulse buying and only buy something if you’ve spotted a gap in your wardrobe, Ibbotson recommends. It’s also helpful to establish an evening routine which involves putting away your clothes and laying out what you’re going to wear the next day - this means you’ll have less chance of returning to a floordrobe or covering your chair in piles of clothes.