Everyone has a little obsession with acquiring new things. We know. No one truly loves to admit that. I mean, how does it even work? Oftentimes, we purchase things with the “just in case” mindset. This mindset leads us to owning heaps of items without even knowing, even though what we really need is to declutter.
This desire to collect items for a rainy day can be attributed to many things, and provided it is managed or controlled, it is a largely harmless preoccupation. But for some people, it becomes an emotional impediment that has physical consequences. It is such a challenge that there are several successful reality television shows whose whole premise revolves around helping people let go of personal belongings they have collected over the years.
Three episodes into Tidying up with Marie Kondo, one of the more successful versions of this kind of show, I realised my life would feel lighter with less of the things I no longer have love or need for.
‘Why did I buy this?’, ‘Why do I have this shirt from eight years ago?’, ‘Do I colour coordinate?’, questions, questions, so many questions. You might begin to feel like the walls of your wardrobe are closing in on you and if you’ve actually watched TUWMK you’d definitely hear her whispering in your ear, “Does it spark joy?”
Understanding your wardrobe is good and knowing how to manage it is important. The challenge isn’t the clothes, it’s sorting and letting go. Like many other things, clothes likely have feelings. They desire to be worn. Not a single clothing item derives joy in sitting in your wardrobe unworn, tattered, ill-fitted or under/oversize, watching you consistently pick out other items that came months later or months before.
If you happen to be caught up in the web of shopping and obtaining new things that you neglect your current stash, trust me, you can make it better but taking the time out to clean out and declutter.
It’s out with the old and in with the new. Some things have got to go. If you have to say it a million times before you believe it, do it.
Decluttering your wardrobe doesn’t have to be so difficult, neither does it have to feel like you’re losing something. As you read on, I’ll show how you can declutter your wardrobe, taking hints from the KonMari method (a method with which you can get the best out of yourself and your wardrobe).
What’s in your wardrobe?
The point of a declutter session is to make room for the things that you need and use. In order to achieve that, you’ll need to know what those things are.
You can say, “I want only 5 trousers,” or “I need space for more dresses,” or “there’s a lot I want to give out,” these are a good start because you have an idea of what you want but they aren’t actionable.
Take a good look at your wardrobe. How does it match up to your current lifestyle? i.e. do you own a lot of activewear while living a near sedentary life? Use that information to sort through your wardrobe and perform the next stage of this process.
Think category next
Bring out all clothing items in your wardrobe (and everywhere else). Sort by category first i.e. tops, trousers. Then re-sort by type under each category i.e. all sleeveless tops, all maxi skirts etc. (It is from this step that you may find duplicates and close resemblances). Then group all re-sorted items by colour, material type and occasion. Take notes of them.
What sparks joy?
Focus on what you truly love. When you focus your energy on what you love, you create more happiness (and confidence) in what you own.
On the flip side, when you focus your energy on the things you have no feelings for, yet keep them in your wardrobe, you create more dissatisfaction and confusion. How can you tell?
Touch every item while you sort before you set it aside. Use your emotions to determine if something stays or goes. When you touch these items what do you feel? Can you remember when you got it? Can you remember how you got it? Can you remember why you got it? Can you remember how you felt wearing it? How did people react to you in it? What’s the fit on you look like? Looking at your life now, would it be useful? If you can’t answer these questions positively on an item, it’s a red flashing sign to take out of your wardrobe.
Sort them all out and set aside.
Dispatch your items
Now that you’ve sorted out these items, it’s time to let go. There’s a world call for eco living and this is a chance to further contribute.
Unless something is utterly damaged (of which there’s a case for this), there are more ways to be creative instead of throwing it away.
Hand down: You can pass on the items you’ve sorted out to someone you know.
Donate: You can donate your items to charities. There are hundreds of charities around you where you can donate clothing items to. Go in search of one and move to giving your clothes a new home.
Thrift: You can sell your items for less to people who may be interested and make some money. Selling for less isn’t because the items aren’t worth it but because once you own an item first, the next person who owns it does so as “second hand” or “pre loved”, even if it was bought brand new and unworn by you.
Organize a wardrobe sale or opt to be a part of one of the yard sales or pop ups in your community. Ask people in your circle or post online. You’ll very likely find people interested in your pieces.
Finally, be sure to create a checklist. Take note of the items that stay and the ones that go.
Decluttering your wardrobe gives you full control and joy and if nothing else, it helps you be more resourceful. Once you can declutter, you can rebuild and give your clothes new life.
If you need some help in getting started quick, view our quick wardrobe purge guide below: