Anyone notice the cold snap? Time to break out the winter gloves…and how about the rest of your winter wear? Depending on the size of your wardrobe, it may be time for your seasonal ritual of changing over your summer and winter clothing. If this is something you do each year, which scenario best describes you:
A. You attack this activity merrily. Wardrobe organising is like a day at the spa for you. You take out all your summer clothes, briefly contemplate what clothes will make it to next year, quickly fill a charity bag for things that don’t make the cut, then install all your winter clothes. Everything in your wardrobe fits, is in great shape and you can’t wait to wear every piece this season. …or
B. You begrudgingly heave everything from your wardrobe onto your bed, and quickly shove back in everything you packed away from last winter. You turn a blind eye to clothes coming in and going out. Deep down though, you feel the familiar pang that all you are essentially doing is shuffling your clothes back and forth. The clothes you didn’t wear last winter (or maybe even the winter before) are back to taunt you. Clothes that no longer fit, clothes you are determined to wear but just never do, clothes that really aren’t your colour or style but cost far too much to just let go. And you will be taunted again next season by all the summer clothes you’re packing away by rote.
The trick about your wardrobe in general, is that it should reflect who you are today and be a retrieval area…not a storage zone…for fabulous clothing you love and actually wear. Examples A & B above are the extremes, but if you sway more towards B and the sight of your clothes makes your energy plummet, then break the cycle this year.
Some wardrobe organising tips to get you started:
1. Schedule a block or 2 of uninterrupted time, such as 4-6 hours. If this is a daunting task, set a timer for every hour or 2 and allow time for breaks. Put on inspiring music if it helps and plan to reward yourself with something fun or enjoyable later.
2. Have a couple of boxes or bin liners at hand for items that won’t make the cut. Label them as you wish, e.g. Recycle, Charity, etc. *A recent client labelled one of her boxes “Chums” to offer prized items to friends first.
3. To make good use of your time, start a laundry load of any winter clothes that could use a wash from being packed away. Once that is on, start by editing your summer clothes. It may seem like double work now; however, the time and energy it will save you the next time you see these clothes will be worth it and you will thank yourself!
4. As you review each item, be candid with yourself about what you actually wore, and how you felt in it. If you didn’t wear it this season, why not?
– Whenever you thought about wearing it, did you reach for something else instead?
– Was the item intended for work or other activity you no longer do?
– Has it lost its shape?
– Is it trendy or outdated?
– Is the colour or style not flattering on you?
– Did you feel great or uncomfortable the last time you wore it?
– Does it make your energy drop or make you sigh when you look at it?
– Do you love it but it needs mending?
– If it makes your heart sing and it’s ready for next season, pack it away.
– If it is great, but needs mending, place it in a separate area – labelled for that purpose – and schedule a time to get it done. *Note: If it goes another season not mended, let it go, it is just taking up space.
– If it is time to say goodbye, place it in the appropriate container for charity, friend, eBay, etc.
– If it is in a state of disrepair, toss it immediately or recycle if possible.
6. Repeat the process for each article of winter clothing. It will have been a while since you wore these clothes. So if you are in doubt on any item, try it on. How does it fit, look and feel? Be honest and put it in the appropriate place.
7. Now that the sorting and purging is done, you are nearly there. Keep going, it is important to carry the process to completion:
– Return summer wear to where it lives in the off-season. *Hint: if you will be taking any warm weather/beach holidays during the winter, keep those clothes separate or make them accessible. This will prevent you from digging around packed boxes later.
– Dispose of any rubbish items, recycling anything you can.
– If donating your items, consider charity shops such as TRAID, who recycle textiles to prevent your items from becoming landfill. Or if you have professional business attire in great condition, consider donating to initiatives such as Dress for Success (for women) where your pre-owned business suit could help someone get a job.
*Many of my clients have expressed that they hate to “get rid” of good or expensive clothing even though they are not – or are no longer – wearing it themselves. Usually it is a case of finding a good home. Dress for Success, and other similar initiatives, is an excellent way to know your clothes are making a profound difference.
8. Arrange to deliver your donations immediately – within a week max. Solicit the help of a family member or friend…or delegate the task if it will help!
9. Finishing touches: Give your clothes dignity with good, uniform hangers! Not only will they support your clothes better, but the uniformity of your clothes all hanging at the same height is aesthetically pleasing on the eye. For business suits and heavier items like coats I recommend a well-constructed wooden hanger. For lighter women’s clothing I suggest velvet-coated hangers which prevent slippage and often have notches for thin straps.
10. Final tip for the clothes you “promise to wear this winter”: If you really want to be ruthless and see what you are wearing and not wearing, try this simple test. Hang all your clothes facing the opposite direction. Each time you wear something hang it back up facing the direction in which you normally hang your clothes. Set a time limit, such as 6 months, and mark the last day in your diary. On that day have a look at all the clothes still facing the opposite direction. Then when you ask yourself, “have I worn it in the last 6 months?” well…you’ll have an honest answer!