Although our weather has been a bit up and down lately, it has definitely got warmer - now's the time to pack away all those thick winter jumpers and get out the lighter weight summer clothing. A twice yearly change over keeps your wardrobe feeling 'new' and gives you more space to see everything that you could wear today - helping make that "what on earth do I wear today" decision a bit easier!
I've set aside some time this weekend to tackle my wardrobe, and for anyone who wants to do the same, here are my top tips for getting your wardrobe organised and summer ready:
1. In preparation for your sort out, you will need the following - air suction plastic storage bags (IKEA sell an ideal sized pack of 2 for a reasonable price), some decent coat hangers (velvet flock ones for tops, wooden ones for coats and jackets, fold over ones for trousers, and pincer ones for skirts), some bin bags, and a small sewing kit. You might also need a few suit or dress dust bags to pop evening wear into. It's great if you have a full length mirror as you're going to be trying lots of clothes on. Oh, and a vat of tea and biscuits is always handy too.
2. Set aside some time to devote to this job - it's well worth a few hours now to end up with an entire season of easy clothes choosing. Clear your bed (you're going to be heaping your clothes onto it), and then make sure you have every item of clothing you own in that room - check other wardrobes in the house, check the laundry, the loft and the ironing pile - just get everything you ever wear together.
3. Start your clear out by packing away those winter clothes that are too heavy (in colour or weight) to wear now. You won't need these things for the next 6 months (we hope), so put them away so that you don't have to rifle through thick jumpers and corduroy in the middle of August. You might have some things that work well layered over summer tops for chilly evenings; that's fine to keep out, but pack away anything you know you won't wear. Don't be tempted to sort out your winter things at this point - you'll do that when you get them out again in the autumn. Pop them in a storage bag, seal it up, and use the hoover to suck the air out. Not only does it shrink the bag for storage, but you're also not leaving any air in the bag meaning your clothes won't be susceptible to any moths whilst in storage.
4. Now, see what's left. If you have a lot of evening wear, put it into suit and dress bags and hang at one end of your wardrobe or ideally in another wardrobe in the house that has some space. Unless you're Maria Callas, you're probably not going to be wearing balldresses every day so get them out of sight until you need them.
5. Next, get out all the clothes you have left and heap them on the bed in piles according to type (so, you’ll have a pile of trousers, a pile of tops, a pile of dresses etc). If you're like me and you've been storing your summer things all winter, get the bags out and add these things to your piles - now is the time to sort it and decide what to keep.
6. Once you’ve got your piles organised, go through each pile one by one and try on everything. Ask yourself, do these clothes fit me well, do they still suit me? When was the last time I wore it, and do I think I'll wear it again? Does the item you're trying on still reflect who you are and what you want to say about yourself? Sometimes if you've had something a long time we can just outgrow it. Make a decision about each item - keep or get rid of it.
7. Your keep pile. Give a quick MOT to the things you want to keep - check for stains, marks, holes, buttons missing etc. You might have some things you want to get altered too. If it passes the MOT, great. Get a nice hanger and put it back in your wardrobe or fold carefully into your drawers. Need laundering or repair? That's fab - start a 'needs attention' pile you can deal with at the end. Having just read the world famous book about the magic of tidying, I now fold all my clothes in such a way they can stand on their side in the drawers - it's a fantastic tip as it means I can see everything at once when I open the drawer and things don't get as creased as they're not being crushed by the weight of other clothes on top.
8. Your 'I like it, but it doesn't fit me' pile. If you're anything like me, you may well have a few things that are a size bigger or smaller than you are right now. I keep these as they are things I like and my weight often fluctuates. But, if they don't fit now, I don't want them hanging up. Start two size bags - one for smaller and one for bigger things, label them, and keep these clothes in them - somewhere handy so you don't forget them.
9. Your Get Rid pile. Firstly, be sure it actually needs to go. Can you do something else with it, such as dye the fabric? Perhaps an alteration will breathe new life into it? How about wearing it in a different way, or with different accessories? Some things however will just not be right for you any more, so, what are you going to do with them? You might decide to sell some items on Ebay or at a local dress agency. You might want to give some things away to friends, or you may bundle things up for the charity shop. Whatever you do, get it out of your life quickly once you’ve decided to get rid of it, but don't throw it in the bin - literally every piece of textile can be recycled. If you can't find it a new home, find a textile recycling bank near you and pop it in there. Use the bin bags to put your unwanted items in and label them up so you know which bag is going where.
10. As you hang your keeps back into your wardrobe, sort them into their type (i.e. trousers, shirts, jackets etc) and into colour. Now you should be able to see what is missing, and perhaps what you have too much of. Always buying black trousers? Got a bit of a jeans addiction going on? Sticking to too much black and not enough colour? What is your wardrobe telling you about your current buying habits? Being aware of what we buy too much of is often all we need to stop doing it. By hanging in colour and group order, it's also easier to see where you might have some gaps – perhaps a cardigan or a pair of trousers in a great neutral colour will help to bring everything together? Make a shopping list of these items so that when you're out shopping you're really specific about what you're looking for, and you also know exactly what you don't need more of!
If you have any energy left after doing all of that, then you can have a whale of a time getting creative with your new wardrobe. Try on different combinations of outfits and accessories for different occassions and challenge yourself to try on combinations you haven't worn before. Take a selfie, or get a friend to take a photo of you in each outfit, and stick the photos on your phone, or print them and stick them on the inside of your wardrobe door - hey presto! You now have your very own catalogue of looks you can create - perfect for when you're running late one morning; just scroll down your photos and see who you want to be today!
If you need any further help on sorting and decluttering your wardrobe, or if you'd like to know which colours, shapes and styles of clothes are perfect for you, contact me on 07969 372062, or your local image consultant, who will be able to help you give your wardrobe a really great make over!