How to Declutter your Wardrobe

Assembly Jumper, Ena Pelly Jacket

Throughout the lockdown period, I’ve been feeling motivated to once again declutter my wardrobe. I do this pretty regularly, I’d say probably every year, because I hate, hate clutter. 

For those of you who know me well, you’ll know I like to follow a minimalist lifestyle. When it comes to homewares, skincare and makeup, I only keep the things that I love and use (I’ll be honest the small size of my makeup and skincare collection is largely due to the fact that they have expiration dates!) But when it comes to fashion, I can keep quite a lot.

Like all of you I’m sure, I’ve experimented with fashion over the years and have made some definite mistakes – from unflattering silhouettes to trend pieces. But as I get older, my attitude towards fashion has changed. I care more about quality over quantity; investing in less pieces that are made well with premium materials. I try to keep my wardrobe to a minimum by only having 1-2 alike pieces (e.g. a maximum of two pairs of black linen trousers – this obviously isn’t a hard and fast rule because I definitely don’t have just two white t-shirts!) But it’s a goal of mine.

Whenever I decide it’s time to cull my wardrobe, I pull everything out and lay it on my bed. I then go through each piece at a time and if I can’t remember the last time I wore it, I give to charity (if it’s still in good condition). But this time around I was slightly more strategic in my approach – after all I have the time.

How to Declutter Your Wardrobe

I wanted to document my wardrobe so that I can see where I have too many pieces as well as where the gaps are. I think I got this idea from setting up my budget – which has allowed me to see how much I spend in each area of my life.

I know I have a soft spot for t-shirts, but I don’t think I had a real idea of how many I actually own until I did this exercise!

Step One: Putting the Document Together

First, I split my wardrobe up into categories:

  • Casual
  • Workwear/Formal
  • Activewear
  • At Home
  • Accessories 
  • Shoes

This might not be exactly the same for you, so adjust to what works for you. For each section of my wardrobe categories I then listed the types of items I own separated out into top-half, bottom-half and full-body. For casualwear this looked like:

How To Declutter Your Wardrobe Template

Step Two: Decluttering and Documenting

Next, I started pulling out pieces in my wardrobe by clothing type – first up was tees.

For each clothing type, I sorted the pieces into a keep pile and the overall donate pile. I then recorded each piece of the keep pile in the corresponding column of the document.

While I was decluttering, I also decided to organise my wardrobe first by categories, and then by type. For example, I have a ‘casual’ drawer with tees and long-sleeve tees in it.

How To Declutter Your Wardrobe Template

Step Three: Analyse

Once you have made your way through your entire wardrobe, take a look at your spreadsheet. Are there areas where there are too many pieces?

Then take a look at where the gaps are in your wardrobe. From here, I compiled a wish-list of wardrobe essentials missing from my wardrobe so that the next time I want to shop I will only look for items on that list. For me, this list included:

  • A faux fur/shearling jacket – I don’t currently own one and only have two coats in my closet!
  • A denim jacket – the one I currently have is cropped and fitted. Now that I’m older and have learnt the art of layering, I want a more longline one that has room for sweaters underneath.
  • A black blazer – I have one from Seed which faded severely after only a few washes.
  • A black workwear pant – my workwear wardrobe is looking a little empty. I’m on the hunt for a pair of comfortable, wide leg black pants that are perfect for the office.
  • A loafer – I’m in desperate need for some more workwear appropriate shoes and first on my list is a black loafer.

Let me know if you have any tips for decluttering your wardrobe in the comments below.

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