I feel, at some point in our life, the majority of us have faced the problem of “not having anything to wear” while having a wardrobe full of clothes. I have faced this problem on a number of occasions in the recent years. In order to correct this, the first step for me to achieving a successful wardrobe is a little out of the ordinary. This decision was to get rid of anything that was creating the fake illusion of actually having a wardrobe full of clothes I wear. Closet clutter is confusing and draining.
I may have had a great selection of clothes in my closet but many of the pieces I owned, I actually didn’t want to wear for a number of reasons. So what did I do? I started by taking all of the items out and assessing what I owned under a number of categories. Below are some of the categories I went through to get rid of clothes and shoes I no longer needed in my wardrobe. I hope you’ll find it helpful.
1. Uncomfortable Items
Uncomfortable clothes and shoes were the first items that stood out to me when I was going through my wardrobe. As soon as I tried on certain items, I just knew I would want to take them off as soon as possible. That was a strong indication that the item should no longer be part of my wardrobe.
Having said that, there were a few items that were somewhat uncomfortable that I decided to keep. For example, I decided to keep a dress and a pair of shoes I loved and had fond memories associated with it. I decided that although those were items that I probably wouldn’t be able to wear for an entire day, I could still wear for certain occasions because they made me feel great.
TIP: If you have a pair of shoes you love but they are uncomfortable you can try shoe inserts before deciding to remove them from your wardrobe. If this helps, you’ll get to keep the shoes and if not, you can remove them from your wardrobe for good.
Any other items that were uncomfortable were removed from the closet and put on a “Give away” or “Throw out” pile.
2. Over-Loved Items
Do you own a top or a pair of trousers you love so much that you could live in everyday? It is not uncommon to be drawn to a particular item of clothing because of how it makes us feel or how comfortable it is. There is nothing wrong with having favourite outfit, but be aware that the longer and more regularly you wear and wash them, the more they will start to show the love. The clothes might still fit but due to the regular wear, they might have faded, there could be few loose threads or buttons missing. For certain items, such as socks or underwear, if you wear them regularly and you start noticing a few holes or the matching sock is missing – get rid of it straight away.
If you have something that shows signs of being over-loved, you can simply look for a replacement or purchase more than one of those pieces so you can rotate it and keep it looking fresh for longer.
An alternative option to throwing away a well loved item is to see if you can give it a second life.
I own a few pairs of heels that I used to wear all the time but the heel tips wore away. The heels still look good so all I needed to do was to replace the heel tips. That way I was able to keep my favourite pair of shoes and give them a second life.
Another example I’d like to give is in regards to worn buttons. Sometimes, when washing a piece of clothing, over time the colour or coating on the buttons wears off, giving the item a worn look. I had a blazer I really liked but the the golden buttons were no longer polished and golden, the way they used to be. So in order to fix that, I replaced them with a new set of buttons and the blazer looked much better straight away!
TIP: To keep your favourite item looking new for longer, make sure you follow the washing instructions. This gives you the best chance of the piece lasting as long as it can!
3. Dated Items
I’m sure we all have pieces in our wardrobe that are a couple of years old or go back to our teenage years. The chances are, if you have something that is couple of years old and you haven’t been wearing it regularly, you probably won’t do it in the future either. In a year, style and taste in fashion can change and that’s what happened to me. As I was going through my wardrobe, I tried on pieces that I loved “back in the day” but now, they just no longer feel like me and suit my style.
When I identified those items, I had originally told myself “I could wear them around the house” and “these will be handy for work in the garden/painting the house”. As this might be true and rational, I don’t own a house nor have a garden (yet!). So I did keep two of the old shirts and trousers but got rid of the rest.
4. Items That No Longer Fit Your Personal Style
As mentioned in the previous point, in a single year our style and taste in fashion can change significantly. Something that we might have thought was trendy and looked great, might not be our style within a year’s time. To give you a perfect example of this, let me tell you a story about my younger years. Back in my late teens I was a big fan of the EMO style. I loved skulls, rainbows and black eyeliner. A few years later I love wearing blazers, pastel colours and kitten heels. There isn’t a chance I would be seen wearing those clothes today. Oh, teenage phases!
So if you find any of your old style items in your wardrobe and you don’t see yourself wearing it ever again, get rid of it and create space for something that is more “You” now.
Have you ever opened a present to find a piece of clothing that is totally not you but you couldn’t tell the person who gave it to you? None of us want to hurt their feelings. It happens to us all and the item that was gifted to you ends up somewhere in you wardrobe. I realise it might be hard to give that item away but if we are being honest with ourselves – we were never going to wear it. If you own such a gift item, you can consider giving it away to a friend or to a charity shop.
6. Sentimental Items
You might remember, I mentioned earlier I kept a pair of shoes and a dress, even though they were uncomfortable, because of memories associated with those items. I feel, sentimental items are one of the hardest to move on especially because of the moments we associate with them. Having said that, I also believe that we can’t always live in our past. There is nothing wrong with keeping a dress you wore on your first date with your husband or keeping a scarf that was given to you by someone close to you who may no longer be with us. These are important treasures. However, sometimes we like to hold to more items that we need to.
Everyone has a different interpretation of what a sentimental item is, it is important to understand why we want to keep certain items and what memories we associate with them. If you decide to keep a sentimental item but you’re not planning on wearing it, I would suggest keeping it in a separate location to where you store your regular clothes.
7. Items You No Longer Wear
We have all bought items in the past for either our “fictional self”, an event or hoping we would fit into it someday. 6 months later we go through our closet and we come across these items with tags still intact. I have been there myself. If this sounds familiar to you, set yourself a timeframe on how long you’re going to keep something in your closet. Sometimes, it might be that we bought few items that month and we simply forgot about that one piece. Other times it might be that it was no longer a colour / style we wear or it might be just the wrong season for it. If you come across the same item again in 6 months time and the tag is still intact, it’s time to find it a new home!
8. Poorly Fitted Clothes
Can you think of a shirt that, for some strange reason, keeps rolling up or feels tight under your arms? Or maybe there is this one pair of trousers that are too big and keep slipping down which is driving you mad. That’s an indication that the item does not fit you right. If there is anything that could be done to improve the item – give it a go. You could also remove the item from your regularly worn clothes and put it somewhere else. Then, see if you go looking for it and if you do, you know you want to keep it.
It’s important to give yourself a timeframe to decide if you are keeping the item or not. If you haven’t reached for it once the time is up, it is clear that you didn’t miss wearing it and so it is time to move it on.
Also, once you remove the items that don’t fit you right and place them in a separate location, you’ll have a better idea of what you actually have in your wardrobe
9. Items That Don’t Fit Your Professional Wardrobe
Apart from having clothes that make us feel and look good on a daily bases it is important to have a wardrobe that will give as a professional image and suit the work we do. For me, I wear a lot of business casual outfits which I wouldn’t wear outside of work. Although I invest more in clothes I wear outside of work, I also want to look great in my work wear. I believe this also translates into my confidence at work.
When going through your wardrobe try to identify clothes that you would wear for work. I would suggest keeping them in a section of your wardrobe designated for work wear. Have a look at the pieces and assess their quality towards the work you do. Do they make you look professional? Do they look well and are they suitable for the work you do? Is there anything that you don’t wear anymore?
Go through each piece and decide if it’s worth keeping or moving on.
10. Unflattering Items
Are there any clothes that don’t make you feel great, whether its because of the colour, shape or style? Sometimes we find an item that we like but when we try it on, it makes us look “sick”, it highlights areas we like to hide or it doesn’t do anything for our figure. We might decide to keep that piece because we already spent the money on it. However, if it is unflattering, it should be either returned or passed on. This can be a hard decision to make, but we all know what our gut is telling us. Sometimes we have to listen to it.
On occasion, we might come across something we really like but for example, the chest area is too-open and it makes us feel uncomfortable. This happened to me recently enough. I found 2 tops that were perfect. They were a wrap style top but unfortunately, I felt they were showing too much of my chest area. I didn’t want to return them so I decided on a minor alteration. I sewed in an invisible clasp that kept keeping the two fabrics closed after a certain point – it worked amazingly and I was very happy with the items afterwards.
What to do with the items you no longer need
Okay, so you have identified clothes and shoes you no longer need in your wardrobe, but what now? Here are few suggestions for what you can do:
- friends – offer to a friend
- family – consider a family member that may make use of it
- charity – give it to charity so that it can help someone else
- dispose of it – just get rid of it
- sell – a great way of funding your next piece!
Personally, if something is over-loved and dated I would dispose of it. For any items that look well or still have tags attached I consider selling it or giving it away.
How to get the best use of your remaining clothes?
- Try to categorise your wardrobe so each item has its own location. This will help you easily find it when you are looking for it. For example if you have a pair of white jeans you like to wear but you keep it with your skirts, you’re more likely to forget about it – instead move it to your trousers area.
- Put items of clothing on individual hangers. This will help you to see each item clearly. You can also simply pick and match an outfit by assessing the two items at the same time in the mirror.
- Assess your wardrobe regularly. To stay on top of things, go over your wardrobe on regular basis . This will prevent you spending money on similar clothes you already own as well as rediscover what you already have. I like to do this every 4-6 months.
I hope you found this post helpful and that it has given you a few ideas about how to better organise your wardrobe. If you have any other tips, please feel free to share them below. I always love to hear your thoughts!