Take Stock of Your Wardrobe (before the shops re-open)

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December 2021

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Before the Shops Re-open, Take Stock of Your Wardrobe

Carrying out a study in 18,000 households across 20 countries, Movinga (a German based removal company) asked participants to estimate the percentage of unworn clothes they have in their wardrobes. On average, those in the western world thought it to be 34%. The reality? A whopping 73% of their clothes went unworn.

As we actively wear about 20% of the clothes we own, why do we keep so many clothes in our wardrobe?  There are many reasons.

·       We hold on to clothes in the hope that they will fit us again.

·       We’ve so much in our wardrobes, items get forgotten and ‘lost’.

·       We don’t know what suits us and therefore end up with lots of mistakes that are left unworn.

·       We have an emotional attachment to items and can’t bring ourselves to remove them.

Before you begin to add more items into your wardrobe as the shops plan to re-open, take stock of what you already have.

How do you feel about your current wardrobe and organisation system? How easy is it to find things? Do you file your clothes by colour, by type, at all? Do you wear the same few things over and over again? Do you have too many clothes? Have you clothes with tags still on them?

Decluttering your wardrobe - as well as saving you time in the long term, will help you:

1.      Rediscover items you’ve overlooked

2.      Remove items without the guilt

3.      Understand your shopping habits

4.      Gain inspiration to wear items in new ways

5.      See where your gaps are

Where to start?

Decluttering can be an overwhelming task. Break it into bite sized pieces. Here’s how.

1            Go through your wardrobe by item – one item per day; coats, knitwear, trousers, dresses, etc. Include shoes and accessories. Sort what you wear or want to wear into piles by type – (for trousers that might be work trousers, jeans, leggings). Note which colours you have, and note any colours of the rainbow that are missing.

Gather and sort into groups:

         i.            what doesn’t fit,

       ii.            what needs repair,

     iii.            things you don’t wear,

     iv.            things you wear or want to wear.

Ask yourself the following:

a.       What makes you feel your best?

b.      What makes you feel your worst?

c.       How many items still have tags on?

d.      Where are the gaps in your wardrobe? (add these to your shopping list).

2            Donate or recycle garments no longer wanted. It’s crucial that these are removed quickly. Put garments to sell on selling sites and start recouping some of the money you’ve spent. Add up what you’ve spent on items that have never been worn. How best could you invest that money in the future?

3            If there are things you’re not sure about, put them in a bag for three months. After that time, if you’ve genuinely missed the item then reinstate it into your wardrobe. If you’ve completely forgotten about it, then let it go. A rule of thumb is, if you haven’t worn it in the past year, you probably won’t. If it doesn’t fit, get it out of your everyday wardrobe. Keep it somewhere else if you intend to wear it again. Dress confidently just as you are.

4            Each item should be a joy to wear; consider letting go those items that don’t give you a feeling of joy. Don’t hold on to or wear items due to guilt. Wearing items out of guilt is disempowering.

5            Keep your memory items (wedding dresses, christening gowns, evening gowns) packed away elsewhere.

6            File and store like items together. Use quality hangers (wooden or velvet) to help clothes maintain their shape. Use drawer dividers, shelf stackers and baskets to keep your wardrobe orderly. All your clothes should be visible. Look after your clothes and they will last longer.

7            After pruning, fill the gaps with a few select items. Make mindful purchases of items that you need love and will wear at least 30 times. Also invest in a few more accessories to add personality, flair and interest to your looks.

8            Avoid buying poor quality, duplicates or excessive items that you don’t need. Save yourself money, eliminate the mistakes, and save the planet by reducing the volume of clothes ending up in landfill.

Create a capsule wardrobe, in which everything you own and purchase, is both flexible and versatile, giving you a multitude of outfits for nearly every occasion, ideally you’ll have 35 well-chosen pieces which can give you 100s of combinations! You should have a perfectly assembled wardrobe of clothes, with only items that fit, are a joy to wear, and are an extension of you and your personality.