STEP 2: declutter + simplify
More is not always better
BEFORE YOU START: preparation
TIME AND ENERGY
Editing your wardrobe is a big task, and always takes longer than you think, so don't dive in hoping to fully sort it out in a couple of hours. Decide how much time and energy you have to focus on your wardrobe. Don't pull everything out if you've only got a couple of hours!
Work in sections or categories, and complete each one before moving on to the next. Making sure that you leave enough time at the end of each session to tidy up.
SPACE TO WORK IN
Make sure that you have a tidy space in. If you don't you're not likely to remain calm or productive. If your wardrobe is in a cluttered bedroom, work on the bedroom space first. Make your bed so that you can use this space for sorting.
COLLECT ALL OF YOUR CLOTHES TOGETHER
Make sure that your laundry is as up to date as possible to ensure that everything is included to sort through and organise. Bring down those clothes stored in the loft and under the bed. You will be amazed, and maybe a little overwhelmed when you see everything you have all together.
GET YOUR SORTING CATEGORIES READY
You will need to create sorting categories to help you to keep order throughout the decluttering process, e.g. Rubbish/Recycling, Donate, Relocate, Keep, Sell. Using different coloured bags and/or labelling the bags or area will help you to stay organised and clear on each category and where it needs to go. The following are the ones I use most when working with clients.
There are some printable category sorting labels in the resources and printables page.
Anything that you love, wear and need. There should be no questions hanging over these items. They must look good, fit well and be relevant to your current lifestyle You can either return them to their current home or space, or put aside in pile ready to organise in step three.
This category is for items that require more thought or trying on before you are confident to let them go.
When you are unsure about an item, there are a few important things to consider. Does it fit? Do I feel good in it? There are some more questions to ask at the end of this step if you are still unsure.
Have a separate trying on session if you are short on time or energy.
You can either put your 'MAYBE'S' in a pile, ready to try on later, or you can add them to one side of you wardrobe and work your way through the rail wearing each in turn over the next few weeks. I don't think it's best to try on all of your clothes just as they come out of the wardrobe - this will quickly become tiring and overwhelming and you're likely to just give up on your wardrobe edit.
I find that if I stick with trying one clothing type at a time, it keeps me focused and the process much more successful. The repetition of trying the same item of clothing over and over allows you to make a good comparison of style and fit. If you do the same, it will be easier for you to gauge what to declutter and what to keep. Take time t look at yourself properly in a full-length mirror, if you don't feel good in it, it needs to go.
Keep a shopping bag placed near your wardrobe to drop donation items into and take into the nearest charity shop when full.
Unless they are designer or high-end, I think it's best to donate any clothing and accessories that you no longer need or love, and get them out of your space as soon as possible (unless you have plenty of time).
You can have a sell pile if needed, but think about, realistically, what the items are likely to sell for, and if your time and effort are worth the return. Have a quick search on eBay for similar sold items to give you an idea (don't forget to take out the eBay fees + PayPal fees + postage/packing fees + your time). You can also sell at car boot sales and apps such as Facebook Marketplace, Schpock, Depop and designer resale agencies.
Any items that are not fit for wear or donation. Take them to a textile recycling bank so that they do not end up in a landfill.
For items that do not belong in the wardrobe and need to be re-homed or put away.
Everything in your wardrobe should be ready to wear. Put anything that needs to be dry cleaned, repaired or altered into a pile or bag ready to be actioned as soon as possible. Add them to your 'To Do' list so that you don't forget. You don't want to end up with an overwhelming 'To Do' list so be selective about what's important. Keep life as simple as possible!
Now that you know your why, and are prepared, - it's time to start clearing out the clutter. We will get to the organising step later, so don't worry too much about that during this step.
The goal here is to let go of any items that you no longer love or need. Your wardrobe should only be full of things that help you to look or feel at your best (or allows you to do something that makes you feel good) in your current body and lifestyle.
The key to a successful wardrobe edit is, to be honest with yourself and remember the things that you wrote down in step one. Remembering your why should help you to make decisions about what you can let go of with more confidence.
If anything is not right, but you do need it in your wardrobe - such as a good pair of jeans - add it to your shopping or wish list, not back in your wardrobe. Strip away that illusion of having a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear.
I can't tell you how many tops, trousers, dresses or pairs of shoes you should own - that number is down to you. You should try and limit your clothing to the amount of storage you have in your home.
Choose a space (hanging, drawer or shelf) to start working on.
Or, if you are already fairly well organised you could choose to work by category or clothing.
Take everything out of that space and place on the bed or other flat surface. Give the space a clean whilst it's empty.
Review each item in turn thoroughly and thoughtfully and add it to one of your clutter sorting categories;
If there are items that you are stuck on, here are some questions that you can ask yourself to help you to think more realistically and make decisions. Go with your gut feeling.