As I write this the leaves from my tiny cherry tree have almost left the branches. Winter is coming! Assuming you have more choice in your wardrobe than a member of the Night’s Watch, November is a brilliant time to evaluate what you will be wearing this season and start decluttering your wardrobe. Museums hold a much larger collection than the public ever see and with some careful storage and thought, you can do the same.
I’m not a fan of huge overhauls and purges when it comes to decluttering. You can get the same result if you work more slowly and with mindfulness. There is no risk of accidentally getting rid of something you love or donating some vital element that you will need later in the year if you go slow.
Store your summer clothes
The first step to curating your winter wardrobe is to get anything out of season, out of the way aka the wardrobe declutter. I do this by putting two boxes in my bedroom. The first is a storage box for summer clothes, which feel like a lovely present when I open it again in the late spring. The other is a box for decluttering into. Everytime I go near my clothes rail or chest of drawers, I take a few extra minutes and pull out a couple of summer dresses , tops and trousers that are not going to be any use in the snow. They get checked over in case they need repairing, folded carefully into the storage box or added to my wardrobe decluttering box. This gentle pruning method means I only keep the best of my summer clothes, I notice anything that needs to be taken care of and I am totally confident that the decluttering box is full of things I will not miss. If you go on holiday to warm places in the winter you may want to keep some summer things out.
Evaluate your winter collection
Once you have some space to see what you are working with this year, it is easy to go through a simple checklist to see if you really want to keep all the clothes you have for winter. A decent wardrobe decluttering process starts by asking yourself a few questions.
- Do I love it?
- Does it make me feel good?
- Does it fit well?
- Will it realistically fit this year?
- Do I like the feel of the fabric?
Get rid of the guilt
We all do it, spend a small fortune on something gorgeous that never gets worn. Sometimes it is because we have bought useless things but for me I feel nervous wearing expensive clothes, so they just sit on the rail forlornly. There are two ways to deal with clothes that make you guilty, wear them and enjoy them, or give them away to someone who will enjoy them. Reconciling yourself to the fact that you are unlikely to make anything like the cost of the item back will make it easier to part with things. The wardrobe declutter is a bit of an emotional clothing detox all at the same time.
Understand what key pieces may be missing – that will help you identify any purchases you may need to make. Of course clothes swaps, pre-loved websites and charity shops are a great place to start. If you need more inspiration and are ready to invest in something new but responsibly made – check out the Ethical Brand Directory. Lots of the brands offer first time discount codes, so you go ahead and do your winter wardrobe shop with a lot less guilt.
Take your time
If you have followed these instructions you should have nothing but clothes you love and wear in your wardrobe. Take a month to declutter really gently and give yourself time to think about it. Unless you are moving to a much smaller home you really don’t need to pull everything out to go through it.
Ethical Brand Directory Guest Blogger
Lisa champions simple living for non minimalists, providing gentle decluttering, easy organisation, frugal and environmentally friendly ideas for life over at www.less-stuff.co.uk. She is also the author of The Elephants in the Room.