Decluttering your clothes can be tricky, as looking into the crowded cabinet, you often find nothing wrong with the clothes and think: ‘One day, I will wear this again…” Now, if that one day has turned into years, chances are, that you probably won’t… so why not give it a new home?
I went through my wardrobe and managed to cut my wardrobe in half! If you want to do the same, check out the process on Instagram Stories Highlights and read here, what I learned while decluttering and use the tips for your own journey!
The numbers say that we only use 60-80% of the clothes we have, but for me, this is definitely less. The biggest revelation on my decluttering journey was finding out how many clothes I actually owned! I counted 132 pieces of clothing incl. shoes (excl. underwear, socks + accessories) and realistically, and I probably use 4-5 pieces for going out and 6-7 pieces for ever day wear. In hindsight, my result cutting down my wardrobe to 66 pieces could probably have been better, but it’s definitely a start and the wardrobe now seems airy and spacey.
So this is what I did:
THE 3 STEPS
1) Split your clothes into batches, start with one and put them all on your bed with the hangers still on. FOCUS – you might find other things in your wardrobe on your journey, but for now, your focus is on the clothes. Getting sidetracked means that you may be sleeping in a bed full of hangers that night!
2) Consider a piece, one by one and be REALISTIC about whether you will wear it again. Do the TRIAL AND ERROR TEST with yourself, friends and family: Wear once and check your own and the reactions from your surroundings to help you make the decision on whether to keep or throw.
3) Look at all your options on where to pass on your clothes – the bin should not one of them. Make PILES or bags for the different items and PLAN on when to dispose of it.
Now, the tricky part of the decluttering is what you base your decisions on and why one item deserves a space when one doesn’t. Here are 10 pieces of advice that will help you on your journey.
Vintage or Bust? 10 questions to ask yourself
1) Kill your darlings. My 3oth birthday party dress I paid a fortune for and which was consequently used, again and again, has been hanging unused for 5 years now. Is it timeless – or has fashion changed? “Trial and error” it for your next part, see how you feel and check out reactions – if thumbs are down for you or from others, perhaps it’s time to kill that darling? I wore my old dress at a ball and it was actually a thumbs up!
2) One year older. You get older and your body shape may change too. I struggled to make a ‘keep or throw’ decision with a beautiful lacy dress that was only 3 years old. But somehow, every time I wore it, I felt a bit ‘slutty’ – it was just too short! It’s hard to know when you’re going to feel that you should be leaving certain styles for the next generation – but if, you like me, wore that dress and a number of shorts and took them off again every time, it’s probably time to acknowledge that you’ve become one year older, but the clothes have not become longer!
3) Style not for you. Perhaps you have an item that was a trendy cut at the time, but you hang on to it because there is nothing really wrong with it? For me, this was a babydoll dress – a baby pink style that might have looked cute when it came out + when I had a ribbon above my pregnant tummy. However, when my daughter said: “Mum why are wearing this? You look like a little girl”, “Trial and error” test was completed – Error: Style was not for me anymore.
4) New Phase, New you. In my decluttering process, I had several styles I wore when I was pregnant. Purposely I’d bought them, so I could still wear them after the pregnancy and not waste money on temporary outfits. However, not only were they obviously expanded somewhat, but they also just reminded me so much of that time and phase of my life. I’m out of that phase, and I do not want to feel pregnant again or look pregnant because the styles are now too big. Actually, it was a relief to get rid of them and t0 see my lovely pregnant neighbour wear them now!
5) Holiday’s over dear. In Singapore, this is a bit of a Bali syndrome. When in Bali, the kaftans, the oversized beach tops and fitted sarongs all look the part for your beach, organic cafe and lazy drinks at the hotel. However, even though we remain in the hot climate in Singapore, the Bali-dress might seem a little off in the financial district or even when just taking your kids to school. I got blinded by 3-4 dresses when there, and even though they work amazingly for travelling still, you just need to consider how many you need, how much you really travel and whether it was the classic spontaneity buy, that worked best in the place you bought it.
6) The Stain that won’t come off. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve happily put on a dress, then to notice that it has too much of a visible stain. If not succeeding at home, most people would probably have taken it to the dry cleaner – but with me, the dress goes back in the wardrobe and I forget about the stain until the next outing. So, f you like and want to keep the item – get it dry cleaned – at least to check if the damage can be fixed, If not, perhaps it’s better off being upcycled to something else – for you or someone else.
7). The Tear you may or may or may not notice. The same applies for clothes being torn, buttons missing or seams having come undone. I’ve had an amazing jumpsuit for a couple of years now, but have also used a safety pin to tie it in the neck of it for a couple of years! Get that button back in and fix the clothes! – and that is not your strength, there are many ‘fixers’ out there! Again, if the damage is not repairable, see if the material could be upcycled to another lovely item or perhaps for decorating your home?
8). The new item you never wore. A present, A freebie, or just a mistake when you got carried away at the sales. This is a simple one – if the price tag is still intact and you’ve never worn the item for various reason, you probably won’t be wearing it any time soon. The good thing about a brand new item is that it’s much easier to sell or swap, so don’t think too long about keeping the items you never wore!
9). It was always the Wrong Size. Sometimes you just want that piece, but they only have it in one size. You think you can slim yourself into it, or you thought you could add some cotton wool in the heels. I had a pair of golden shoes that I absolutely loved! They went with all my party outfits, but they were also always too small. Result: After an hour I would kick them off or I would suffer through the night, not dance and stumble home on the train or into a taxi. A beautiful dress I bought, was great at the waist but had a very slim fit on the arms. Too fat or too muscly, who knows – but it just never worked. So stop feeling uncomfortable and get rid of the wrong sizes, that were always wrong.
10) The doubles. With some items, like tank tops, white shirts, jeans, having similar pairs are fine. However, sometimes you double up so much, that one piece does not ever get worn, as you always pick the better one. Freebies for sports competition is a good example. I did the Spartan Race and got both a starter and a finisher t-shirt with the logo, however, as I have a lot of nice sports clothes already and generally don’t wear sports t-shirts I needed to consider on whether to keep them. Hard, because you’ve earned them, but perhaps you don’t need one from both Colour Run, Star Wars Run and Spartan x 2 – so being brave enough to refuse (like my kids did at their 2nd Spartan race) or passing them on, might be worth considering – you don’t need doubles.
SORTED – now what?
I managed to complete the decluttering with the result of getting rid of 66 pieces and keeping 66 too. After checking for tears and stains as well as going to the dry cleaner and repairs with the clothes I wanted to keep, this is what I did with the rest:
1) Gave items away to:
– a friend in need (designer items)
– my pregnant friend (pregnancy clothes)
– my helper (her family in the Philippines – shorts/t-shirts mainly)
2) Went to Swapaholic
Here you can swap your clothes and earn points to then get new items at the swapaholic events. I brought a lot, but they only accepted 11 items, so remember to:
– bring clothes washed, ironed and in good condition
– remember they only accept 20 items per swap
– bring SGD 30 – admin and handling fees
3) Donated to Salvation army.
You can of course also: