A lot of times we generally lack either the energy, morale, or time to declutter. Considering that one of the most clutter-heavy parts of our lives happens to be our wardrobes, it goes without saying that decluttering this part of our lives is something we often wish to do, but rarely get around to doing. I bet we all have those items of clothing we bought but have never stepped out of the door in, waiting and mentally preparing for that perfect day. We all know that ‘viombo za wageni’ mentality we grew up with, where certain things aren’t for everyday enjoyment.
“At the perfect time, I will get to rock that dress.”
That’s a statement I made quite a lot before I finally made peace with the fact that I was never actually going to wear it. It was a pretty purple and shimmery shift dress I imagined I’d wear to a fashion event or a night out. Two years in it was just gathering dust in my closet. And that was the beginning of my decluttering journey. If you have an overflowing wardrobe and often feel like you have nothing to wear, you definitely need to do some ruthless decluttering, and by ruthless I mean being absolutely honest with yourself on the clothes you actually wear and the ones you have some form of attachment to and feel guilty letting go of.
Ruthless decluttering will require a few things if you want it to be practical and valuable. First, do you know your style or the style you would like to adopt? Are you aware of what clothing items make up the desired style? These are critical questions to think about before decluttering because they help you sort through your clothes intentionally. You’ll find that you probably already own some pieces of this new style.
Something I found particularly important that makes decluttering fun is having a positive mindset. I know we’ve been hearing about this mindset thing a whole lot lately but, stay with me here. More often than not, we look at decluttering from the point of what we are going to get rid of as opposed to what looks and feels amazing on us, what fits into our evolving style.
A simpler wardrobe will cut down your dress-up time significantly because when you have a collection of clothes that fit your style and work together, then deciding what to wear every morning isn’t a daily wardrobe crisis that has you late to every meeting or date.
So if this is your first time decluttering, get ready; this will be an exciting ride. I promise!
Lay It All Out.
Remove all your clothes from your storage spaces; closet, drawers, suitcases, even under your bed (yes, you know there are a few down there *wink*).
Lay them out in categorized piles; for example, have an individual pile for shirts, T–Shirts, dresses, jeans, khaki pants, and so on. Seeing each category separately shows you everything you own, not just the few pieces you have been rotating in the last few months. It also allows you to analyze your current wardrobe in relation to the style you want to achieve. You will realize you have a lot of clothes you don’t even remember buying. Get ready for nostalgia.
Have a Donate, Give, Re-Sale Pile.
While clearing your wardrobe, it’s essential to have a plan for where you intend to take the clothes you no longer need before they creep back into your closet. To achieve this, have a pile of clothes you would like to donate, those you would like to give away to friends or family who have been eyeing your pieces for a while (we all have that one person who if given a chance, would steal our entire closet), and finally a pile for clothes you would like to sell.
There is a vast market for pre-loved clothes. When I was decluttering my closet late last year, I wondered how I would sell some pieces I had bought and never wore, and some that I felt were still in tip-top condition. One idea is to do flat-lay photos and post on your Whatsapp status or Instagram stories.
Another idea I really liked was using Yaga, an online site, which offers people a platform to sell pre-loved and new fashion pieces.
If you choose to donate some, it’s also important to know where you’ll donate them. We often dump our clothes in children’s homes, and we are oblivious to whether the clothes fit the children there or if they even need clothes. An organization you can consider donating to is the Rotary Club, they do many visits to children’s homes, homes for the elderly and the homeless, so you are assured the clothes will be taken to people who will use them.
This is now the fun part.
Go through each categorized pile, asking yourself these 3 simple questions;
Does it fit my style or the style I intend to adopt?
Does it fit me properly now?
Can it be styled into at least 3 outfits?
If yes, place it on the “to keep” pile.
If not, decide whether you would like to donate, give or sell.
A tip on how to make ruthless decluttering a little less brutal is having a ‘maybe box’; this is a box or basket with clothes you aren’t too sure about where they lie. The goal is to review that box after some time and see if you actually wore anything from that pile. If you don’t pick anything in the course of your designated time, then you can decide on a disposal option.
Organizing the New Closet.
Now that you have gone through all your clothes and have selected the pieces you would like to keep, it’s time to give them a home.
Clean all your storage spaces; closet, drawers, baskets, racks, etc.
Neatly fold, hang and organize your clothes in a format that works for you if you like to color code or put them in categories. Make it as personal to you as possible.
For the clothes, you have decided to get rid of, start the designated process as soon as possible. Those to be donated pack them properly and organize how they shall reach the destination. For those to be given away, contact the people you feel would appreciate them most and tell them when they can come to pick them up. For those on sale, plan for a day to shoot the pieces. Put up a Sale announcement for pre-loved clothes on your site of choice to keep you accountable.
Taking action as soon as you’re done decluttering curbs the urge to start missing the clothes and slowly begin to put them back into your closet.
After an intense decluttering day, a little appreciation for a job well done is in order.
Make a promise to yourself as you begin the process, and make sure to fulfill it once you are done. A reward could be as simple as going on a special solo date in an outfit you put together with the pieces you kept. This gives you a feel of your style and your new wardrobe.
Decluttering is one step in the right direction, but maintaining a simple and working closet is the goal. A tip to help you achieve this goal is to keep a donation bag or basket in your room all through the year. Then every few months, you can analyze what you haven’t worn in a while and isn’t serving you and toss it in the donation basket.
Pro tip – After decluttering, it’s easy to go on a shopping spree because your closet feels empty. Consider asking yourself these questions before purchasing anything:
Do I really need it?
Does it fit my current style?
Can it be paired at least 3 times with pieces already in my closet?
Can I wear it to at least 2 places/occasions?
There you have it, a ruthless yet straightforward way to help you declutter and achieve a wardrobe that works for you. Happy sorting !!