Spring is the time we associate with the big clean up and throw out…but autumn is the season where I am inspired to de-clutter my wardrobe. Summer seems to messy me up…the wardrobe becomes crowded, the drawers stuffed to overflowing and the shelves a jumble of mis-matched items. I regularly promise myself that I will straighten things out ‘in the morning’….but that morning never comes as the sunshine beckons me away from the dull stuff of tidying. I fall out of love with my cupboards right about now and dream of stream lined dressing…a wardrobe that is colour coded and outfit co-ordinated…shoes that line up in military style precision and coat hangers that are uniform and facing in one direction.
Sorting and organising is dull stuff but it is also therapeutic. There is a secret pleasure in wardrobe order, a sense of satisfaction and good feeling …it’s hardly sexy the idea of a ‘feel good’ spruce up…but it does feel surprisingly righteous. Apart from the psychological benefits of a thorough clean out there are also plenty of ‘fashion’ reasons to purge les placards…The problem with cluttered wardrobes is that we forget about what’s in the back and all those goodies hiding underneath …Those pieces that are front of sight become front of mind and that forms the basis of our everyday outfits….everyday…Putting together an outfit that works and one that we feel confident in takes time and requires thought…the idea of throwing things together on a random basis is not so successful in reality. Rummaging through a disorganised pile is a contrary step if our aim is to be well-groomed and elegant in that ‘French girl’ kind of way…What is the point of focusing on our perfect ‘essentials‘ and ‘extras‘ if we can’t find them?
So how do we do it….de-clutter, streamline, organise…make fashion magic out of messy mayhem?
Number 1….Make Time
Wardrobe management requires time and lots of it. There are many successful businesses devoted to streamlining wardrobes. I have never really understood the idea of someone else sorting out my cupboards as only I know what I like and don’t like…but some swear by it. Don’t start this exercise without sufficient energy or hours to finish…This is a lengthy process and one best done without interruption…Do it alone, listen to your intuition…… Once started there should be no turning back.
Number 2….Be Ruthless
Commitment is key….without a firm desire to eliminate, failure is certain. To ‘throw-away’ and ‘give-away’ are the goals, saving for the once in a lifetime wear is a no/no….So the too small, too tight, too old-fashioned, never liked it anyway and why did I buy that are out…The sale disasters, the unflattering, the baggy, the borrowed and the boyfriend’s old clothes must go….Be ruthless and re-cycle….Give them to friends or swap with your besties…Sell them on ebay or donate them to a worthy charity….Just don’t put them back in the closet.
Every last shoe, sweater, tee-shirt, skirt…every last article must come out….Empty the wardrobe and start again with a clean slate. No leaving a drawer or a shelf because it’s too hard….pull everything out….because once it’s out there is no turning back.
Once the cupboard is bare…the sorting begins…Make as generous as possible a space for this so that items and piles are visible and separated. Start piles…jeans, tees, sweaters, exercise gear…underwear…hanging… folding….you get the picture….all the while remembering to be ruthless.
Number 6…The Timeline
A ‘once a year wear’ does not an essential make…We all buy badly, even our favourite style gurus miss a beat or two, that is a given…but we must face the music and acknowledge our disasters….If it didn’t look good on the first try on then it is unlikely to have transformed second time and third time round…I want to believe in miracles, just not fashion ones.
Number 7….The Care
Good coat hangers are a must…wire hangers are a no, no….they ruin fabric and misshape clothing. Repair….sew on the missing buttons and re-sew the dropped hems…Dry-clean what needs to be professionally washed in preparation for the coming season or for what needs to be stored away from the season just passed.
Number 8…The Put Back
The flip side of ‘the empty’ and just as important. Now the piles are smaller, neater and recognisable…if the de-cluttering has been a success there will be room for the clothes to breathe…Plan the ‘put back’…Place clothing where it is convenient to get at….everyday pieces should be close to hand…Save the dark and difficult spots for bulky coats and evening wear…or whatever items are those that are worn less often.
Number 9…The Colour Code
An optional extra and perhaps too ordered for your taste….but colour coding makes planning and choosing an outfit easier. The caramels with the caramels and the greys with the greys…that kind of thought. Easier said than done when space is an issue.
Number 10….The Accessories
Start over with the belts, the bags, the scarves, the hats and the shoes and follow the same principles.
A new season, a new wardrobe…de-cluttering can make the old feel like new again….xv