The sustainable way to clean out your wardrobe

If you haven’t already used lockdown as an excuse to sort out your wardrobe, I’d make a bet that you find the whole idea TOO OVERWHELMING!!! Am I right???

If that’s the case, then I believe I can help.

I use a three-stage storage system

My theory is that everyone loves the idea of a decluttered wardrobe but once they set off on the enormous mission they become too overwhelmed and give up or they just get reckless and chuck out way too much without thinking it through.

I mean, the job generally needs to be done before we go to bed as you have suddenly have piles of clothes taking over your sleeping space, so you rush through it by the end of the day and make some rash decisions.

Unlike Marie Kondo, I don’t encourage a big cull. And so to alleviate the overwhelm, I suggest you do it in stages over time.

1. Pretend you’re going on a month holiday in the same climate, doing similar things (let’s also imagine there’s no coronavirus obvs). Put everything you want to take on the bed, including all shoes and accessories of course.

 2. Go back to your wardrobe and do a quick sweep of everything hanging there. Pull out anything that doesn’t make your heart sing and pack it away in a large suitcase. IMPORTANT: treat these clothes well and fold them neatly. If they have food stains that might go yuck over time, wash them first. Use luggage separators or re-use plastics you’ve been saving and put in some lavender bags or something to keep it all smelling okay. The suitcase is not necessarily the ‘limbo’ before these clothes are banished forever. it is just a resting space until you might rekindle your love. Pack the suitcase up high or in the basement/roofspace and set a reminder to check it again in two months time. I call this the ‘backroom storage’ and every wardrobe should have one. It means the next big closet clean is already half there.

 3. With the rest of the clothes still hanging up, bring the better items to the most accessible area and what I call the ‘meh’ stuff can be pushed further back or folded away in drawers, out of sight for now. Leave a space for your ‘ultimate’ clothes (those that you would have taken on holiday) now still on your bed. Hang them so they are the first things you see when you open your wardrobe. The idea is that you will only wear these clothes for the next month, and you will practise wearing them in different ways and different combinations throughout the month. Now, not only does your wardrobe have breathing space, your brain will definitely find it easier to create a variety of looks out of less items – and you’ll re-work everything in a way you wouldn’t do normally. Once the month is up you will be ready for the next set of clothes that are hanging behind. Go through the same process for as long as you need, remembering to pull down the suitcase intermittently to look at old-timers anew.

THERE! Doesn’t that feel better already?


For more tips on styling the wardrobe you already have, read my interview with Gem, an awesome vintage searching app.

clothes clothes hanger dress fashion
Photo by EVG photos on

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