If you never get round to organizing your closet during the early stages of the pandemic, what better time to do a proper wardrobe clear-out than at the start of a new year? Whether you’ve suddenly discovered you’ve splurged on too many tracksuits (although, we wouldn’t automatically dismiss them right now) or want to shake up your style, you’ve got to first take stock of what you’ve already got.
Think of it as a juice cleanse: nobody wants to do it, but once it’s over, you’ll be glad you did. Below, a step-by-step guide to refreshing your closet.
1. Set dedicated time aside
A proper wardrobe overhaul is no mean feat, so don’t rush it. It’s best to carve out a dedicated time slot – a weekend, say – to complete your mission. Set aside at least a day, even if you’re naturally organized. A thorough detox is guaranteed to take longer than you think.
2. Scope out an idea of what you want from your wardrobe
“Spend time mood-boarding your dream style and exploring your vision for your own wardrobe,” says Charlie Collins, wardrobe guru and founder of Creative Wardrobe. “This can be really fruitful before a wardrobe cleanse to gain clarity and inspiration.” Focus on things you do and don’t like about your style and elements you’d like to retain or change. Having clarity before embarking upon a cleanse is key.
3. Organised chaos
Once you’ve freed up your diary, embrace the hot mess that your bedroom will inevitably become. It’s only temporary. Remove everything from your wardrobe, organize the items into piles that make sense, and start the cull. Keep a supply of large bags (not bin bags, they could split) to hand, so that you can set aside any unwanted items to be transported to their new destination.
4. Do you really need it?
You think you need the cream jumper, but do you actually wear the cream jumper? Covid-19 has turned our approach to getting dressed on its head. Many of the things you own likely went many months without an outing. But what about before that? If you hadn’t worn the jumper for more than six months in the Before Times, you’re highly unlikely to wear it now. Be brutal. Anything you no longer wear goes on the “no” pile.
5. No, really…
For some, it’s not easy to bid farewell to staples that are sentimental somehow. If you’re wavering, get a second opinion from a friend who will be honest with you. Share WhatsApp snaps of the items in your “maybe” pile and get a final decision from someone who can be objective.
6. There’s a new life out there
Whether it’s giving your items to local charity shop, a friend or relative, or an organization like Smart Works – which provides women with quality workwear, skills, and employment confidence – donating is a fulfilling prospect. Or, of course, there’s resale: a smart way to make the most of your pre-loved pieces (never regard them as “unwanted”). Sites like Depop, Vinted, Vestiaire Collective, and Hewi provide all the tools you need to shift your goods for cash – they’re wonderfully user-friendly. Rental, too, is an option (see below).
7. See what you can monetize
If you’re not quite ready to permanently part ways with a piece, try renting it out instead via peer-to-peer lending platforms like By Rotation or Hurr Collective, where – bonus! – you can also browse the wardrobes of fellow fashion fans. Rotaro, Cocoon Club, Hardly Ever Worn It, Onloan and MyWardrobeHQ are other rental sites worth surfing.
8. Replenish responsibly
“Invest in pieces that will stand the test of time and are made well,” stresses Collins. Whether it’s scouring the resale offerings of the aforementioned sites, vintage treasure hunting, or investing in forever pieces that you can see yourself wearing for many years to come, ensure that you’re broaching new additions with a conscious mindset. “There are lots of brands that hold their value really well in the world of resale so if you shop thoughtfully, you should always be able to reclaim some of your item’s value,” she adds.
9. Don’t overlook anything
A wardrobe detox must take in gym gear, nightwear, and lingerie. Tackle these elements after your everyday wear but before those tricky sentimental pieces. No one is putting a gun to your head, so don’t feel obliged to purge your wardrobe of things you genuinely don’t want to live without in the name of space-saving. Do consider investing in some neat storage containers, though.
10. Tag on means time to go
Save for the odd lockdown purchase that still needs a real-life road test, it goes without saying that anything that has been gathering dust in your wardrobe with the tag still attached should not survive the detox. Pieces that are BNWT (Gen-Z speak for “brand new with tags”), are more attractive on resale sites, so get snapping and uploading.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk