The founder of Wardrobe Mistress gives her top five tips on how to declutter your wardrobe
Photo: RADIUS IMAGES/ALAMY
Everything you own should fit your life now, not the size you were three years ago or the hobby you had before the children arrived. As a general rule, if you haven’t used something for 18 months you don’t need it. If you’re in a time of transition – say, you’ve just had a baby – give yourself 12 months. Ideally, you should declutter your wardrobe seasonally to try and keep on top of what you wear most in a year. Some items may not need clearing so often but do reassess what you own – and how often you’re adding to it.
Group everything together occasionally. It gives you clarity. Getting everything out of all your cupboards, drawers, wardrobe, garage and loft and sorting it into piles of the same item is the only way you can see quite how much you own – and it’s often quite shocking. You need at least “Keep”, “Mend”, “Bin” and “Charity/eBay” piles – everything has to go on one of them.
If you can’t decide yourself what should stay or go, ask someone else. Choose your decluttering partner carefully, though. They have to be someone who can offer constructive criticism and whose opinion you trust. If you aren’t sure whether to throw something out ask their honest opinion. Often I see ways my clients can use an item differently that gives it a whole new lease of life.
Identify your “safety buy”. It’s the thing you buy when you go shopping to cheer yourself up – and it’s also likely to be the thing cluttering up your home the most. It might be skinny jeans, black shoes, a certain lipstick. Once you know what it is, next time you find yourself about to buy it again, ask yourself, “Compared with all the other versions of this item I own, what is so different about this particular one?” If the answer is, “Nothing” – put it back.
Work with what you have. Shopping blind is the number-one reason why we end up with things we don’t use or need. So many of us buy things, then try to think how we are going to use them. Doing it the other way round saves time, money – and space. Ask yourself, “What’s this item specifically going to add to my life and how am I going to use it?” If you can’t answer that, or if you need to buy three or four other things to make it work, don’t buy it.
Francesca Salih is the founder of Wardrobe Mistress, which offers a ‘wardrobe detox’ among its services. She gives her advice on how to be a savvy shopper to avoid clutter and how to become an expert at spring cleaning.
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