Sunday, 29 May 2016


Two weeks ago, I wrote a little about my experience moving towards a more minimal wardrobe.  Due to the positive response here and on Instagram, I thought I might share the practical process I follow when 'detoxing' my closet.

When I relocated five years ago, I had enough clothing to fill two closets and three large plastic tubs.  For some that may not be a lot, and it may not be too much, but for me it was definitely too much clothing.  It was weighing me down.  And like so many women before me, I was wearing only a small percentage of what I owned. I bought items that were 'near enough' to what I wanted, and I would often 'settle' for a less than perfect item, which of course I would never wear.

Step One was the Big Closet Clean Out!  Now you need to know, it wasn't just one big clean out, I actually had to do this about three times, but each time I was taking steps toward achieving my goal of a smaller, more cohesive wardobe with items that are worn often.

I made sure I had a reasonably free day (and plenty of hot tea and chocolate... just saying) and emptied everything from my wardrobe onto my bed.  I then went through each item piece by piece and asked myself the following questions:
  • Do I find this flattering on me
    Do I like how I look in the item?  It doesn't have to be conventionally flattering, it just has to make YOU happy.
  • Does it fit me properly?
    I would often buy something a size bigger or smaller, because my size had sold out and I thought it would be fine.  It never was.
  • Would an alteration make me want to wear it?
     I have quite a few items tailored to get just the right fit for me. An adjustment in the length of a skirt can make all the difference.  I often have to have dresses tailored because a good fit in the bust area can often mean the hip/thigh area has too much fabric and needs to be taken in.
  • Is it dated?
  • Is it in good wearable condition?No balling, obvious wear and tear.
  • Does the colour and/or pattern suit me?
  • Is it comfortable?I made a decision some years back that I will never wear uncomfortable clothing or shoes
  • Does the item reflect my current style preferences?This one is really important to me.  I feel very uncomfortable in clothing that doesn't 'feel' or
    'look' like me, no matter how lovely it may be.

I then separate items into categories.

  • Donate
    - these get folded into a pile and then bagged up and taken to my local op shop.
  • Sell
    - these get hung on free standing rack in my spare room and are items that are
      in excellent condition, good brands and have some resale value.
  • Holding Zone
    - items that I am not sure I will wear but have hesitation in moving on.  These are hung
      in my spare room robe until I decide what to do with them.
  • Closet
    - items that I have assessed as being worthy of being in wardrobe.  They are hung
      back in the closet straight away.

My first major clean out saw a lot of clothing returned to my closet  that probably should have gone out.  My holding zone also ended up housing quite a lot of clothing.  As time has gone on I have become more brutal... let's say efficient...and I have much better clarity recognising when it's time to move things on and my holding zone generally only has one or two items.

How much clothing you decide you need/want is a very personal thing and only you know what will work best for you, but definitely considering things like your lifestyle is helpful.  I have very few formal events for example so having three specific dresses in my closet that can be accessorised and worn with other items to make them wedding appropriate, funeral appropriate, cocktails appropriate etc is all I need... but more of this in another post :)

My process is not rocket science, and I am sure it doesn't differ a whole lot to your own. What can be difficult is making a start.  

I would love to hear how you organise your wardrobe and what your process is for deciding it's time to let things go.  

xxx Deborah


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