Ever get the feeling you’re fighting a losing battle when it comes to the space in your wardrobe (no matter how big it is!)? My wardrobe is no exception and being a busy Mum of three means I tend to grab one of a small number of the same safe options each morning which I normally team with skinny jeans or leggings under a denim skirt while the rest of my clothes remain unused, crammed together on the rail looking rather sorry for themselves.
The other day I finally decided enough was enough. I was tired of how unsatisfying an experience my daily wardrobe visits had become. It was time to get organised. It was time for a de-junk! I grabbed a big black bin liner and realised the only way to truly get on top of my out of control wardrobe was to be ruthless.
It’s hard saying goodbye to perfectly good clothes, especially when you’ve paid good money for them. The reality is though that styles change, as quite often does your taste and so what might have once been an ‘old favourite’ instead becomes ‘old hat’ and ends up cast aside in favour of something new.
They say a tidy house equals a tidy mind. This is certainly true for me. I can honestly say that my stress levels are lower and my daily happiness is increased when my house is in order and everything is in its place. When the house is a mess, the toys are too many, the post is piling up, the junk drawers are rammed and you’re drowning in laundry, life feels out of control. Like many of us, my clutter extends way beyond my wardrobe and often things sit around because I simply don’t know where to put it or what to do with it.
The good news is that if you are prepared to give it a go, reducing the mounting clutter in your home and effectively ‘letting go’ of the things you’ve been hoarding but no longer really need, can be incredibly emotionally rewarding. It may seem like an overwhelming job but once it’s done you will enjoy the new found sereneness that comes with a house that no longer feels ‘too small’ for all that stuff…
Here are some tips and ideas on how to spring-clean your life!
Most of us only wear 20 per cent of the clothes in our wardrobe regularly with the rest either worn occasionally or in many cases not at all.
What we wear can affect our mood and confidence and can also reflect who we are as individuals. Due to this emotional connection we have with our clothes, the wardrobe is one area that everyone seems to be a hoarder in.
To create a wardrobe that truly reflects your current lifestyle (and personal style). Ask yourself, if this were on the rail in your favourite shop today…would you still buy it?
Obviously if you are on maternity leave and plan to return to work in the future you will probably want to hang onto your work wardrobe and likewise you will also want to keep clothes that you love but need a little time to get back into if you’re still trying to lose your baby weight (assuming it’s not five years later!!). Be honest with yourself.
- Grab a black bin liner and fill it with any clothes that no longer fit (and are unlikely to again!), are dated, tired looking, ripped or stained or simply no longer reflect your style.
- Don’t hang onto things because you think you may wear them again..one day. If you constantly avoid certain clothes in favour of others, the chances are you probably won’t wear them. Be brave! If it’s been in your wardrobe untouched for over a year (unless it’s a favourite occasional wear item) it’s time to say goodbye.
- Separate your clothes into a summer and winter wardrobe. Only keep the appropriate season in your wardrobe and put the rest in a labelled storage container. I advise holding back a few warm cardigans in your summer wardrobe though..particularly if you live in the unpredictable British climate!
- Divide your wardrobe up into sections: tops, skirts, trousers, dresses etc.
- Divide again into colours if you can so if you fancy something ‘yellow’ for example you can get straight to the appropriate selection. A real time saver if you can keep it up!
- With the clothes you have left, it’s worth giving some thoughts to how you might accessorise them. This alone can breath a fresh look into your wardrobe.
- Take the clothes you have decided to get rid of round to friends for a good rummage – this can be great fun at the very least!
- The rest can be donated to charity or if you are organised enough can be sold on eBay or in a car boot sale.
- Be realistic though. The aim is to de-clutter. Don’t simply move one bag of clutter from your wardrobe to the loft/attic with the intention of selling, if the reality is, you simply won’t have the time.
- Go through the shoes and boots in your wardrobe. Throw out any that no longer reflect your style/lifestyle or are tatty and worn.
- Divide what’s left into your summer, winter footwear. Only keep the appropriate season in your wardrobe and keep the rest in a storage box for use in the colder/warmer months.
- Keep your ‘all season’ party shoes in easy reach though – every girl must own at least one pair of these!
- Throw away any makeup that you no longer use, is broken or past its shelf life. This is particularly important when it comes to products such as mascara as it can lead to eye infections if used for longer than it should be.
- When was the last time you washed your makeup brushes?! If the answer is: you don’t remember, then it’s time to get cleaning. Bacteria and oil gather on your brushes and if you don’t keep them clean you are effectively transferring it back onto your face. Clogged up brushes may also affect the even coverage of your makeup too.
- Clear out any nail varnishes you no longer wear.
- Bin any products that are out of date or almost empty but no longer used.
- Keep any books that are of important reference, have sentimental value or that may be of value to you in some way.
- Gather all the rest of the books from around your house and put them in a box. Take them to a second hand book store, give to charity, friends or family.
- Put any out of date magazines in the recycling, give to friends or take to the doctors or dentist surgery.
- If you keep certain magazines for reference purposes, it may be worth pulling out the important articles you want to keep and creating a file for them, rather than keeping the whole magazine. This will help create space in your home.
- Cancel any subscriptions of magazines that you no longer have time to read or no longer need.
- This can be a daunting one! For this, I suggest you buy some decent files, whether it be a lever-arch, filing cabinet or box files.
- Create and label dividers within these files. For example, bills can be broken down into: gas, electricity, water etc. You can also add bank statements, certificates, insurance details and so on.
- Go through your important paperwork that you need to keep in a safe place and put into the appropriate labelled file.
- Invest in a shredder if you don’t already have one. If you already have a filing system in place then go through any paperwork you no longer need in your files and shred it.
- Archive any paperwork that is more than a year old but you need to keep, in an archive box and label it with the year.
- I think most people have one of these! The drawer where things go, that you don’t really know what to do with or that you keep all your nik-naks in.
- Pull the drawer out and go through it. I did this recently with one of my (several) junk drawers and despite never seeming to be able to find a pen when I need one, counted 27 pens in this one drawer alone! It was like they’d all gone to pen heaven!
- Get rid of any items that are simply rubbish – including pens that no longer work – or items that serve no real purpose.
- Buy some drawer dividers and put items such as chargers etc into labelled bags and place them in the dividers. This alone can make your junk drawer a dream to route around in!
- Toys, toys, toys. If you’re a parent with younger children then toys are likely to be bursting out of every orifice in your home!
- Go through the toys and take away any that are never played with or are outgrown. I did this with my son Joshua a while back and explained that as he was getting bigger there were other younger children who would enjoy playing with them. He actually enjoyed going through them with me and choosing what he no longer wanted.
- If you have younger children however that are likely to grow into the older sibling’s outgrown toys, then it is worth gathering them and putting them in a labelled storage box for future use.
- Throw away any toys or games that are broken, damaged or have parts missing that cannot be replaced.
- Any that are in good condition that you do want to get rid of can be donated to the charity shop, given to friends or sold (try a nearly-new sale or eBay for example).
- Go through your children’s wardrobe and put to one side any items that they have grown out but are in good condition.
- If you have a younger child of the same sex, you can put the clothes in a storage container and label with the ages for future use.
- Or these can be passed onto friends with younger children, donated to charity or sold.
- Any clothes that are stained, ripped or tired looking can be taken to the recycling.