The Great Wardrobe Detox: Part 1

When I mentioned in yesterday’s Friend Friday post that I was planning a Wardrobe Detox everyone seemed more interested in this than my answers to the questions. I was so glad that I had mentioned it, as it has help to encourage me to get on and do it. Do you find that, that telling someone you intend to do something means that you’re more likely to do it? I do all the time. It means that I’m more accountable than if I just told myself I’d do it. Anyway…

Ever looked about your bedroom/dressing room/apartment and wondered how all of those clothes got everywhere? I have. Countless times. This past week it has become such a problem that no matter where I turn there seem to be piles of clothes EVERYWHERE:

After seeing an article in the Times on 12 January 2011 – “The ten-step wardrobe detox” – I decided it was high time to bite the bullet and detox my wardrobe for the new year. I am taking Carolyn Asome’s advice: “Don’t look on this challenge as a new year’s resolution, made to be broken. Think of it as the year you started dressing properly.”

Last autumn I also followed Geneva, of A Pair and a Spare, as she documented her Wardrobe Rehab on her blog and whilst writing the last Friend Friday post, I discovered that Kendi, of Kendi Everyday, is currently writing a series on how to Create a Working Closet. Now it is my turn.

Over five posts I will document my progress as I follow the ten-step plan from The Times article to detox my wardrobe and start to live a healthier life in my closet. If you fancy trying out the steps with me, let me know.

1. Sort out what suit you and what you are actually going to wear:

Find a rail (like this Ikea clothes rack, or this John Lewis garment rail) and look at your wardrobe. Stick your favourite pieces, the ones you genuinely love (and feel great wearing) on that rail. There might be less there than you’d anticipated, but don’t panic by adding less favoured pieces – that will defeat the object.

If you really can’t bear to do this on your own, enlist the help of a trusted friend/sister.

I had intended to start the detox today but I got back from work last night feeling motivated and decided to just go for it while the feeling lasted. This was the mess within the wardrobe before I started the detox:

I didn’t have a clothes rail to hand and we have no room for any additions to the apartment – the whole point of this detox is to get rid of stuff, not add more – so I emptied the contents of my wardrobe onto the bed and used the rail in there instead.

I borrowed the criteria that Geneva of A Pair and a Spare set herself when she undertook her own Wardrobe Rehab Project last year:

• When was the last time I wore this? If I hadn’t worn the item in the last 6 months (taking into account the season) I probably wasn’t going to wear it again. I let myself keep a small number of ‘sentimental’ items as well as expensive basics, but most things I hadn’t worn went out, particularly cheap items bought on a whim or on sale.
• Does this make me feel attractive? If you look at yourself in the mirror and what you’re trying on doesn’t make you feel your best (wrong shape, colour or style), maybe you should get rid of it? If it doesn’t make you feel good you’ll be much less likely to wear it.
• Does this fit properly? For each item I checked the fit by lifting my arms, sitting down, bending over etc. Bum crack or too much boobage is not a good look. I got rid of things if I had grown out of them, even if I liked them (oh the pain!). The likelihood of me being the same size I was when I am 19 again? Ummm slim to none. Perhaps you’re different and you fluctuate in size, in which case you could allow a bit more flexibility here.
• Is this item out of date? Some fashions and prints will date very quickly and if you haven’t worn it because it reflects a trend that has passed completely, you’ll not wear it again soon.
• Is this item worn out? If the item isn’t in good condition and is ripped, stained or stretched, don’t hang onto it unless you are committed to fixing the problem.
• Does this need altering? If something doesn’t sit or fit quite right but is well made and of good quality, see if you can get it altered or alter it yourself to make it more wearable.
This is what was left after my ruthless sort out:

The dress section is still considerably fuller than the other part of the wardrobe but, for me, it will always be this way!

2. Make a pile for mending and alterations:

From the selection on the rail, sort out what needs to be dry-cleaned, washed or mended. Don’t be lazy about sorting out minor repairs or getting new buttons sewn on. Your edited new wardrobe needs to look fresh and enticing.

After a cold cold winter, my coats have had a lot of wear, so I decided to give them all a bit of TLC and sent them off to be dry-cleaned. (Except for one – which will go later – as I still need something to wear!)

I am very lazy when it comes to ironing my clothes and regularly chuck stuff straight from the airer where they have dried and into the drawer or wardrobe. So I got the ironing board out. Anything with a missing button, I will sort out myself and anything that needs hemming, or turning up, I have kept to take with me to my sister’s.

3. Edit the fantasy section:

A bit of steely resolve is now required. Put aside anything that hasn’t been worn for three years, or has never felt quite right when you wear it. Ask yourself why it doesn’t feel right: is it the wrong size? Is it still age/job/life-appropriate? Now might be the time to come to terms with the fact that you are never going to look like Victoria Beckham.

If it’s the wrong colour/shape/neckline then start a selling-on/charity pile. If it can be salvaged, add to the mend-and-alter one. Repeat the above with underwear, chucking out greying bras and “comfy” options with frayed elastic. Do the same for shoes and boots and don’t forget to give your tights, socks and jewellery the same dispassionate overhaul.

This really applies to those questions I asked myself as I tried on every item in my wardrobe (above). I’ve been a shoes’ girl for as long as I can remember. But I am not particularly caring when it comes to my “treasured” footwear. So I have challenged myself to get all of my leather shoes polished and all heels – that need it – re-heeled.

My socks “section” is certainly a lot smaller than when I started this detox – when I rarely actually wear socks I realised it didn’t make much sense for them to take up half of a drawer! My jewellery and toiletries (which are all over every available surface in our bedroom) have been kept as my treat for today! I’m just too good to myself!!

Are you planning a wardrobe detox? Is this something you do regularly anyway? Any tips? I’d love to hear anything you’ve learned over the years.

Come back on Monday for Part 2. Make sure you don’t miss it by following Sugar and Spice on twitter, bloglovin’ or feedburner.

*Photo source

About sugarandspicesg

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9 Responses to The Great Wardrobe Detox: Part 1

  1. Veshoevius says:

    Great post! I was so absorbed I burnt breakfast. Watching another person detox their wardrobe is always really fascinating and looks like you were very ruthless. I'm glad you mentioned the piles of clothes on the floor and jewellery and toiletries over every surface in the bedroom. At least I know I'm not alone! I think if I did this the hardest part would be the fantasy section because I have collected some pretty amazing pieces that rarely get worn but I would never be able to bring myself to part with.Unfortunately I can't see the Times article from the link as they want you to subscribe before you can read it!

  2. oh my goodness, we are so in the same place. i am doing the exact same thing and trying to do a massive wardrobe clear out… it must be that time of the year. xx

  3. Filipa says:

    Uh, I always always try to do this, but when I reach the first step i fail miserably because I can always see myself wearing everything 😛 Even though I never actually DO end up wearing it. Or I tell myself, that my daughter might one day wear it (I'm 20 and have no children yet 😛 so it will be at least another 20 years before i have a daughter in the age to wear any of my clothes! 😛 )But those questions were really good, so I might just go and have a try..:)

  4. Wow.. you are ruthless.. so impressed. Am planning on writing a wardrobe detox post soon so will link to you if thats ok? Need to go and read that Times article now! xxx

  5. oh! it's useless with me…i'm titaly NOT able to detox my wardrobe!it's so fantastic to read your comments! i'm loving it! hope you know that k come karolina is also on bloglovin, facebook and twitter 🙂 so cu soon!!!xoxo from romeK.

  6. Shopgirl says:

    Veshoevius – you are SO not alone! Although I am going to try for AT LEAST a month to not have piles of clothes EVERYWHERE! I know – you have to sign up for the Times article but the 10-step detox plan is basically repeated in this post and the next four! xxthe style crusader – I think it's the "new year, new me" feeling! Good luck with yours – let me know how you get on!? xxFilipa – I have thought that too – about keeping things for my daughter. Well, maybe one day I will have a daughter to wear them but she'd probably hate most of it anyway! There were a lot of things in my wardrobe that I used to wear all the time and it is difficult to get rid of them but you grow out of some things and have to move on to new favourites and make room for even newer favs!! xxTheOnlineStylist – Of course it is ok to link!! 🙂 Good luck with the detox. I HAD to be ruthless, otherwise I'll have never have room for new season stuff! xxK come Karolina – you do have to be ruthless and it was difficult for me – I'm not usually so decisive! xx

  7. tallgirlblogging says:

    Great post! I do pretty regular detoxes of my wardrobe, and I'm finding the more that I do them, the smarter I get with my shopping. Looking forward to seeing your other posts on this 🙂

  8. emily p says:

    well done! I try this often (as clothes and shoes spill out all over the house) but find myself saying things like: 'if I just had the right shoes to wear with this dress, I'd be in it all the time'. then I can't quite find the right shoes, but end up buying something that's almost there and lo and behold, even less space in my wardrobe/room/house…xx

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