Updated: Jul 14, 2021
The ultimate guide on decluttering your wardrobe in less than an hour, plus where you should go to in the UK to recycle your clothes and shoes. Got too many clothes and shoes scattered across your bedroom? Do you find yourself wearing the same things, while other shirts, jeans and jumpers collect dust? The good news is that decluttering your wardrobe doesn’t have to take all day. In this guide, we share top tips on how to do it in less than an hour, so you can spend more time doing more exciting things, while still feeling like you've done a worthwhile task that day! Prioritise investment fashion pieces When we talk about investment fashion pieces, we’re referring to the clothes and shoes that can be used with several outfits. Making investment fashion pieces, such as evergreen coats, jeans and shoes a priority will enable you to create a sustainable wardrobe. Instead of constantly buying new garments based on seasonal trends, opting for timeless, quality alternatives will help reduce your contribution to the fast fashion epidemic. Tactic 1: "The Ex-Test" Instead of buying new investment fashion pieces online, assess what you have already. When you’re decluttering your wardrobe, constantly do ‘the ex-test’ in your head. This is where you question whether you’d want your old flame to see you wearing it. Let’s face it, nobody wants to look like they’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards when you accidentally (or intentionally) bump into them. Tactic 2: "What's in a year" When decluttering your wardrobe and narrowing down your key pieces, keep in mind "What's in a year?". It's difficult having that inner dialogue with yourself about whether you may or may not year a garment again and you tend to do a lot of "What if's" so the rule of thumb here is "Have I worn this in the last year" if the answer is no, it goes! Versatility and quality are key in staple fashion pieces, so they can be worn time and time again, so with these items, you shouldn't struggle remembering the last time you wore them. What clothes will you wear every day? Does your job have a certain dress-code in place? Adopt this 'essential living' philosophy and you’ll find it easier to detach yourself from the non-essential clothes and shoes in your wardrobe. Create piles Organisation and process are imperative in successfully decluttering a wardrobe quickly. If you go in without a plan in place, you’ll remove the bare minimum and waste hours contemplating whether you should throw something away or not.
Instead, sort your clothes and shoes into three different piles; ‘keep’, ‘maybe’ and ‘recycle’.
Keep – this pile is reserved for investment fashion pieces and the stuff you love.
Maybe – this is where you put clothes or shoes that fit and are in good condition, but you don’t know whether you like them or not. Providing this pile isn’t too big at the end of your decluttering session, you should place these garments into a box and hide them. Then if you miss any items a few months down the line, at least you know they still have value and can be moved back into your wardrobe. The rest should be recycled.
Recycle – this pile can include clothes/shoes you don’t like or that are worn out. Remember, non-profits like the Salvation Army welcome your recycled clothes. When they get donations of clothes, they’ll either resell them in their shops or get “rag sorters” to recycle the pieces of fabric if the clothes aren’t suitable for sale. It’s important you recycle, instead of throwing away to reduce the impact on the environment and provide those who are less fortunate than yourself with clothing. There are specialist charities for shoes as well, such as Shoe Aid, who distribute your old shoes to the homeless and underprivileged kids in other countries. In these uncertain times, you may be reluctant to try and tackle such a feat due to the lack of information regarding the opening of your local recycling centre or collection. That information can be provided by the government on their collection tool.
Get seasonal If your three piles are getting ridiculously big, take your ‘keep’ pile one step further by separating it into seasonal items. For instance, coats are useful almost all year-round in the UK, but a pair of flip-flops or shorts only come into play in the summer. You’ll also have occasion wear, such as three-piece suits and tuxedos, which will only come out every blue moon for black tie events and weddings. In both instances, keep these clothes and shoes separate. If you have enough room elsewhere, you could always put the summer clothing into a ‘holiday box’ and store it away to save room in your wardrobe. While the occasion wear can have its own corner in the wardrobe which doesn’t mingle with your everyday stuff. Try things on One of the biggest mistakes you can make when decluttering your wardrobe is to not try things on. If you’re unsure on what pile to put something on, try it on and use a full-length mirror with access to natural lighting to make a better assessment. Yes, you want to be quick, but you don’t want to cut corners. Do the clear out in just your underwear and this shouldn’t add too much time to the process. Just be sure there are no peeping Toms lurking near your window! Use a colour guide To make sure you declutter your wardrobe quickly, think about the colour of your clothes and shoes. If your wardrobe is a sea of colour, use your favourite investment fashion pieces to see what goes with them. While it’s good to have a few daring numbers in your wardrobe, prioritise the clothes that can work with your top pieces to make your everyday choices easier. For example, black, dark blue and dark grey jeans are versatile enough to go with most other colours, whereas light blue jeans are limited to lighter shades. Clothing combinations are key to creating a functional wardrobe and you'll usually notice going through what shades you most lean towards on an average day and that's a solid place to start! This isn’t to say you can’t wear certain colours. In fact, injecting colour into your look is a wonderful way of showcasing your personality. However, if you can’t make certain coloured shirt, shoes or trousers go with more than one or two looks, it might be worth parting ways with it. From the feet up It's known that you can tell an awful lot about a person just by looking at their shoes, so footwear really is crucial when it comes to organising your wardrobe. Although we all might love a comfy trainer or slip-on, they are just simply not appropriate in some situations and its essential to have a few staple pairs which are versatile enough to support your style all year round! Shoes can be narrowed down into 2 categories, Casual and Formal and you will always need both! Knowing your shoes and your feet is important, you may have spent a small fortune on beautiful shoes in the past, but if you can't bring yourself to wear them, it's time to say goodbye! Price should not dictate whether you keep an item! Good luck! If you enjoyed reading this blog on decluttering your wardrobe, subscribe to our free newsletter below for exclusive competitions and quick links to our latest tips.