January is the perfect time to think about having a home overhaul and clearing the clutter from your house. Like me, you’ve probably made promises to yourself to improve your emotional wellbeing, career and health but did you focus any of your resolutions on your house? I’m thinking that maybe now is the time to start improving your living environment, because the space we live in certainly has an impact on our mental attitude, ability to work efficiently and relationships with the people in our lives. Although it’s not technically a “Spring Clean”, because I won’t be doing much scrubbing, this weekend I am planning to have a thorough clear out of all the clutter in my home and honestly I think will feel much better after a good tidy-up and can look forward to 2014 with an open mind.
One of the first areas that I want to address is my wardrobe. Everyone’s wardrobe inevitably grows in content over the course of a year as we buy new workwear, holiday outfits and those discounted shoes that we just couldn’t leave behind at that price. So no doubt, there will be more items squeezed into my wardrobe than there was at the start of last year, and that means more clutter and less space to add new things! Therefore, one of the best things you can do to declutter your clothing is to get everything out and start sorting – I know that the mess will be all over your bedroom instead of tucked away in the wardrobe but stay with me here! Take each item in turn and ask yourself whether you have worn it over the past year. If the answer is yes, hang it back in the closet. If the answer is no, ask yourself why?
- Is it the wrong size? Is it uncomfortable? Is it tired and faded? Any of these items can be safely taken out of the wardrobe and recycled. Good items can be passed on to family and friends, or even sold at a carboot sale or online so you can get a bit of extra cash for the new year!
- Does it need fixing? If you’ve not worn an item because it is broken, has a loose thread or the button has fallen off, now is the time to do all those repairs you’ve been meaning to get around to, so put them to one side and tackle them after you’ve finished the decluttering process. While you’re sitting in front of the TV in the evenings, how about getting out your sewing kit and fixing that broken seam or loose popper so that you’ve got an item that’s good as new, and you’ll be able to wear it this year – maybe it’s been needing to be repair for so long that you’ve forgotten all about it and can wear it with fresh eyes, as if you’ve been shopping and bought a whole new outfit!
- Professional help? If the problem is something beyond your fixing ability and you really want to keep the item, think about getting the hem professionally fixed, taking stained items to the dry cleaners, getting too-long trousers taken up or have those shoes re-heeled. Again this will give you more clothing options in your new, decluttered wardrobe – it’s like shopping but at a much lower price!
- Is it unseasonal? If you’re holding a sarong and hot pants in your hands at this time of year, chances are you won’t be need it until your summer holidays in 6 months time. Maybe you could pack your holiday essentials away in your suitcase now (including things like adapter plugs and travel hairdryer), so they will all be in one place when you next travel and will be out of the way until you need them. The same goes for winter clothing when you’re in the height of summer – pop those fluffy festive jumpers into storage bags and tuck them away under the bed or on top of the wardrobe (my dumping ground of choice!) and get them out again when the weather changes.
- Is it for a special occasion? We’ve all got dresses, suits, shoes and accessories in our wardrobe that are only really worn on special occasions – black-tie, wedding outfits, even Halloween fancy dress. You know you don’t need immediate access to these items but they have to be stored neatly (maybe not so much with the fancy dress items!), so make sure they are clean and repaired if needed, then keep them on hangers in suit or dress bags and put them at the back of the wardrobe. Or if you really don’t need them, you could get one of those canvas wardrobes for your loft and store this clothing hanging up in the attic, out of the way until you need them again.
Once you’ve decluttered your clothing, you’ll have extra space in your once-crowded closet, so your clothes will stay in better condition and it will be easier to pick out your outfit in the morning. Invest in new hangers and boxes if you need to tidy up your space further and there are plenty of storage solutions out there that will help to keep the space tidy – such as a storage bag in the shape of a dress which has numerous pockets to hold jewellery – and you can clip curtain hooks onto hangers and thread scarves through the loops. I also like to organise my clothing by type so that it’s easier to find the item I want, and I sometimes hang things in colour order too – which just looks nice 😉 Another top tip is to put all your items into the closet with the hangers hooked behind the rail and when you wear a piece of clothing replace it the right way round – that way you can see what things you haven’t worn all year when you get to December and these might be the things you’ll clear out next year!
Decluttering your wardrobe doesn’t only give you a tidier space, but also allows you to do a wardrobe audit – you can see what you’ve already got and what you need in order to make your clothing work as outfits. Maybe you only need to buy one crisp white shirt to go with your suits, under jumpers and to dress up your denims to create tons of new outfit options? Organising your clothing will allow you to see what items are needed so you’ll have a clearer idea of what you’re looking for when you go shopping and can actually save money by only investing in items you need. I’m going to ignore those sale signs and buy only the essentials when I go shopping on Monday with the Debenhams and New Look gift cards I received for Christmas – or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself now. When I’m holding a pink sequined mini skirt in my hands, my good intentions might be forgotten…
I hope these tips have inspired you to get rummaging in your wardrobe this weekend and the best thing is that we’ll all get a satisfying result in only a couple of hours, and it will save masses of time during the year when I’m hunting for that matching shirt – it will already be clean, fixed and ready to wear! In future blog posts, I’m planning to share ways to declutter your home for a more relaxed life & clear out your kitchen for a healthy start to 2014, so come back soon, and let me know how you get on with the wardrobe challenge!
Speaking of wardrobes, I’ve been featured in this Outdoor and Indoor Guide to Surviving Winter on the Phase Eight website, and in it I share my essential outfit from my winter wardrobe and my favourite winter activites (mostly pre-Christmas activities, but hey!) – please check it out here and let me know what you think 🙂