How To Spring Clean Your Wardrobe (And Why It Feels So Good)
It’s almost that time of year again, so what are you waiting for? Start decluttering.
Written by: Hannah-Rose Yee
You’re not imagining it: When your home is clean and decluttered, your mind is clearer.
Studies have proven that regularly paring back your stuff – and in particular, your wardrobe – can have a transformative impact upon your mental health. Without a closet full-to-bursting with things the anxieties of all that choice are removed from your life to be replaced with calm, simplicity and the ease of knowing that everything you own has a place in your wardrobe and your life.
But in order to reach that zen-like sartorial state you have to spring clean first. Here are some tips for getting the job done (and done well)
1. Get it all out
You heard us: Take everything out of your wardrobe and put it on the floor, on your bed, in the hallway… As much flat, open surface as you need and can find. This might seem a terrifying prospect to you now, but the best way to go into a spring clean is to be able to visualise everything. You might be shocked by how much you own, which will encourage you to get rid of some things pronto, or you might rediscover a once-beloved item that has been languishing away at the back of your wardrobe.
The only way that this can happen is if you get it all out in the open first. Make sure you’re on your own in the house, though, with pets and/or kids safely occupied elsewhere. No-one wants a Sex and the City situation. (Remember when Aidan’s dog Pete chewed Carrie’s Manolo Blahniks? Never. Forget.)
2. Immediately create some piles
Once everything is out in the open give yourself some categories. Maybe it’s Cull/Store/Keep or Yes/No/Maybe, but however you choose to categorise, make sure you separate each pile in the room you’re working in. Giving a bit of breathing space between each pile will allow you to fully assess what it is you’re keeping, storing and throwing away.
Things that should go in the cull pile – to be sent to secondhand stores, op shops or if you’re feeling particularly ambitious listed on eBay or an online consignment store like Vestiaire or The Real Real – include anything you haven’t worn in years, things that don’t fit or things that are damaged beyond repair. (If there are slight tears or nicks, consider getting the item repaired to prolong its life in your wardrobe.) Exceptions to the rule are fancy party dresses you only wheel out for black tie occasions or glamorous weddings.
The maybe pile should be things you’re still unsure about, or that you once loved but wonder if perhaps you’ve grown out of. One way to deal with this pile is to store them for a month. If, by the end of the month you haven’t fished out that little floral sundress or pair of billowing linen palazzo pants, maybe it’s time to say goodbye. Be ruthless!
3. Take the time to store things correctly
With your wardrobe empty, now is the time to really invest in how your closet works. Buy a shoe rack if your space permits, or hang shoe bags on the back of your wardrobe doors. Invest in wooden or copper wire hangers from Danish homewares brand Hay. Hang a luxurious wardrobe scent from Diptyque. Use woven baskets or mesh containers to house your folded knits and winter accessories when they’re not in use. If you’re really crafty, get some vacuum storage bags and put all the winter stuff in there.
When you hang your keep pile back up, have a go at re-thinking the order in which you arrange your clothes. It might make sense to try colour-coding your items, keeping neutrals together and the colours on one side. Alternatively, hang by season, keeping heavier, cosy cold weather separates on the left and the breezy summer pieces on the right. Maybe you want to arrange by style or category.
Whatever you choose, ensure that whatever you wear the most is hanging right in the centre of the wardrobe, in front of the entrance to your closet. That’s where you stand when you’re contemplating your wardrobe, so whatever you hang there has to be your fashion MVP.
4. Keep your energy levels up
Spring cleaning is hard work. Before you start download a couple of fun podcasts – we recommend a few episodes of the charming and chatty pop culture conversation The High Low or, if you’re in the mood for self-improvement, the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of How I Built This by America’s National Public Radio – to tide you over as you clean. Make sure to have plenty of water and snacks on hand, too. After this is all over you will have earned yourself a drink. Keep a bottle chilling in the fridge so that you can celebrate a hard day’s work at the end.
5. Write a list
As you restore your ‘keep’ pile to your wardrobe start a list of gaps that need filling. Maybe you’ve noticed you have a handful of blazers but no perfect denim jacket, or maybe you’re low on stylish flat shoes. Think of this a stocktake for your cupboard: What do you have too much of? What are you missing? What do you need to replace?
If you have a few of one item, think about reducing the excess. (If they’re a true staple classic like white tee shirts or slip dresses, you can get away with having a couple of options.) Now the fun part begins: Filling in the gaps by going shopping. But don’t veer off course from your list. The whole point of spring cleaning is that you should only have to do it once a year.