How to Declutter + Downsize Your Wardrobe
Deciding to get rid of pieces in your wardrobe can be complicated. You might feel like you have too many clothes and you want to downsize, but you don't even know where to start. Maybe you feel like your closet is cluttered up with items that you never wear, or maybe you are just having a hard time putting together outfits.
Perhaps you are hesitant to get rid of clothes because it feels wasteful. You paid for it, after all, so you feel like you should use it to "get your money's worth," so that it doesn't go to waste. However, the reality is that if you aren't using the item or appreciating it, then it's really not worth keeping. It would be much better to pass it on to someone else who would actually enjoy it, and stop letting it clutter up your closet! Holding on to pieces that don't bring you joy doesn't help you in any way. If the money was wasted then there's no way to "unwaste" it by holding on the to item. Much better to free yourself from the item and move on to a fresher, more open wardrobe!
There are so many benefits to decluttering and downsizing your wardrobe! It will feel more open and so much less cramped. You'll have space to appreciate what you do have, and putting outfits together will be much simpler. Downsizing takes a bit of work, but it is completely worth it.
STEP 1: Your Vision
Develop your vision of what you want your style and wardrobe to look like. You need to know where you're trying to get with your closet, or else you be able to find your way there. Think about the style you want to embody and what you truly love.
Pinterest is an amazing tool for this part of the process. Create a board for your closet project and start pinning! Pin what you really love, both outfits and individual pieces. Don't restrict yourself to trying to make the things match. Just click away at anything that looks beautiful to you.
Once you've pinned your heart out, look at your board as a whole. Delete pictures that don't fit. (You'll find this is much easier than getting rid of items you actually own.)
What does it look the board look like now? Take in what the board feels like, as well as what colors are predominate, and what the style of the clothing is (feminine, bold, rustic, casual?). When you look into your actual closet, you should see the same types of things and get the same feeling from it.
STEP 2: What to Keep
Now it's time to decide what you want to KEEP. Don't approach this by focusing on what you should get rid of. Instead, think about what you really love, and keep those things that bring you happiness.
Start by pulling everything out (Summoning) and separating it into different categories ("Ordering"). Put all the shirts in one pile, the pants in another, etc.
Once you have a pile for each category, go through each of the piles and select just the things you truly love. Put those things back into your closet --- they are what you know you want to keep for sure. If you're hesitating over what to do with a particular item, then you don't really love it. Keep those things that you "got to have."
Now tell yourself, "Everything else is negotiable." Some of the pieces that are left you'll choose to keep because they are useful for creating outfits, but some of it you'll choose to pass on. What's left is stuff that you don't really love, so give yourself permission to part with it if that's what is best. It's negotiable.
A lot of these items your considering you may already know that you want to get rid of. Everything that you aren't sure about, you should try on. Even if you think something is an "old favorite" when you try it on you may discover that your style or body has changed and you don't like it as much as you used to. Maybe you used to really like dark colors, but now you like lighter shades; maybe your hips are wider; maybe the piece just doesn't fit your current style!
Consider the condition of each item. Does it have stains, holes, or tears? If so, is it worth the effort to get the piece repaired? For some pieces which are more valuable and that you truly love, the answer will be "yes." But be honest with yourself! Are you actually going to make the time to get it repaired? What's your track record for such tasks? You know the answers to these questions. If you actually will get it fixed, then set it aside to do so. Otherwise, choose to discard damaged items. Don't hold on to damaged clothes, even if you really like them. You'll never feel truly fantastic wearing something you know has a stain or tear. (If you do really love it, then get it fixed!) Make peace with the fact that clothes are temporal items that eventually wear out.
As you are deciding what you want to keep, be sure to also consider the color of the item. Does the color suit you? Does it go with other things in your closet? If it fits in well with your other clothes, then it will be easy for you to pair it with other pieces and make outfits. However if it's out of place then even if you really like it you probably won't have very many opportunities to wear it and enjoy it.
Also evaluate the cut and style of each piece that you are considering. Does it have a silhouette that fits your style? Maybe you like more fitted clothes, or maybe you like them to be more loose fitting. Make sure you consider each of these factors. You want to feel comfortable in your clothes, or else you won't enjoy wearing them! If there's parts of your body that you prefer to hide, make sure you consider that as well. You want to really feel like a 10 when you put your outfit together each day!
Another question to ask yourself is, "If I was shopping right now, would I buy this item again?" This can be a very revealing question!
Make sure that your wardrobe, and every piece that is in it, truly embodies the style that you want to be portraying to the world. Even if you have positive memories associated with an item, don't hold on to pieces that don't fit with who you want to be "showing up" as. You might have some "fun" clothes that you used to love in college, but maybe now you want to be perceived as more sophisticated. Be true to who you are, and don't let your past self hold you back from embracing your future.
STEP 3: Moving On
Give yourself permission to let go of those items that don't suit you and add value to your life. Donate or sell these items. Try not to drag this process out and let those clothes continue to clutter up your home. Take everything to the thrift store in one big haul, or get it all listed on craigslist ASAP. Get it out of your life so that you are free to truly move on and enjoy the space that you've created for yourself.
STEP 4: Plan for Future Success
Decide when you'll reevaluate your wardrobe in the future. Your style will continue to change over time, and you should make plans to stay on top of your wardrobe so that it doesn't collect clutter and weigh you down in later on.
Set a date for when you'll take the time to go through your wardrobe again. You could decide to do this once each season, or just once or twice each year. The frequency should depend on:
- The climate that you live in. How often, and how drastically does it change?
- How often your style changes. Be realistic about this. Some people stay with the same style for years, but others do a complete 360 every time a new year roles around. Do you like to follow the trends, or do you go for a more classic look?
Enjoy the new space that you've created for yourself, the freedom that you feel, and the ease with which you can now create outfits you love!