How I Organize My Wardrobe and Work to Eliminate Unused Items
I’m a clothes horse and I don’t deny it. And while this is fine in my books (mostly), it also means that I must perpetually organize my wardrobe and work to eliminate unused items. Because though I like a large variety of items, there’s only so much closet space in my bachelor suite.You know?
Plus, as much as I am willing to acknowledge that my shopping habits are excessive (I justify this by shopping mostly used), I don’t actually like to own too much of anything and clutter makes me crazy. So, I’m perpetually re-evaluating my wardrobe and attempting as best I can to fine-tune.
Here’s how I manage a full, highly varied wardrobe.
I think these tips could work for you, regardless of the size of your own wardrobe.
First thing’s first: Remove anything that doesn’t fit
Even if you can’t bring yourself to get rid of it, remove it, place it in a bin, and put it away. You can revisit the bin every few months and consider if you’ve even noticed the absence of those items. If it still doesn’t fit in a year, it’s probably time to let it go for reals.
Keep your style (or preferred style) at the forefront of your mind as you begin
I use Pinterest, some people might do a collage or just bookmark some favourite bloggers. I like to have a board for Spring and Summer and another for Fall & Winter that I can quickly refer back to and flip through for some inspo.
I like to spend a few minutes flipping through these boards before I start a wardrobe edit.
They remind me who I’m trying to be, how I feel best, and ideally what I think is a comfortable and sustainable way to dress every day.
As my style changes and evolves, I try to delete out any photos of styles that no longer suit me - and then specifically pay attention to whether I own any similar pieces and whether this might be a sign to cut them out.
If this sounds arduous to you, don’t do it. I love spending a lazy Sunday evening in front of the TV taking stock of my fashion preferences and planning looks for the week, but it may not be for everyone ;-)
Hang as much as possible
Hang as much as possible - if you can’t see it, you won’t wear it! I swear by this. Folded items, especially lower than eye-level, get worn WAY less often and are easily forgotten about. I try my best to hang everything I might want to wear on a regular day (except sweaters, because I’m not a monster) and only fold or shove into drawers those items I won’t want often.
Tip: Don’t hang sweaters. ;-) This is the single most life-span-shortening thing you can do to knits IMO. Fold them. Hang what you can of everything else, but sweaters (and jeans, come to that) are a-ok folded (and still super visible and easy to find).
Sort clothing with like items
I don’t separate work wear from casual wear because my style is very mixed, for starters, and for seconds I am fortunate to work in a fairly easy going environment where I can generally choose how casual to be (within normal adult reason).
Instead, I arrange my clothing according to the type of item (and sometimes then by colour, too). And usually in ascending order of length - both sleeve and body. What does this mean?
It means all tank tops are grouped together, all skirts together, all long sleeves together.
Short dresses, then longer dresses (when I can). I like arranging my closet this way because I can check the weather and create an outfit quickly and easily based on the layers I want to incorporate.
Often, I’ll wear a tank under a sweater for an added pop of colour (or instead of a bra), then layer a blazer over that. It’s easier for me to find all those pieces by simply checking the “blazer section” instead of hunting around.
If you are someone who has to go quite suited up to work but don’t necessarily dress that way all of the time, it may make sense for you to essentially divide your closet into two sections: work and casual. Or maybe three sections if you’re someone who never saw a workout top they could live without (WEIRDO).
I learned this trick from another blogger years ago (I’m not 100% sure but I think it could be Be More With Less and if it’s not please feel free to let me know so I can fix it!) and I’ve used it a ton ever since.
It’s simple: Do a wardrobe edit, using a few of the above tips. Then, as you put everything away, place all of the hangers backward instead of forward like you would normally. As you wear something, wash it, and then hang it back up, place those hangers back in normally.
At the end of a determined amount of time (maybe 6 months?) take stock of all those backwards facing hangers. Chances are, these are not items you will wear and should be the ones you delete from your wardrobe.
Change out very seasonal stuff
As a Canadian, or maybe just a fashion hound?, I hate the concept of a summer and winter wardrobe. Like, no, Sherry, Imma wear those jeans and that blazer all year round. Same goes for sweaters (campfires need cosy, amiright? And what about the office air conditioning sitch?).
But there are a few items in each season that are often rendered useless. In spring, I pack up the biggest, wooliest, chunkiest sweaters and make way for my shorts. In fall, shorts and sundresses get packed away.
Just pack up the obvious stuff, the stuff you know you won’t rock with tights (neon floral and open back sundress, I’m looking at you) and the stuff that makes you sweat just to look at it in summer.
And last but not least, pay attention to what you wash
Because what you wash is what you wear. Right?
You’ll likely find that there are a couple dozen things you wear on the regular so maybe you can get rid of the things you don’t find yourself washing...and using all the time.
This is also a great way to consider how you might “capsulate” your wardrobe, by focusing on pieces you love and sticking to only buying those in easy-to-match colours. For the minimalists out there ;-)
Happy organizing, friends! Let me know what you decide to try (or if you have any awesome tips of your own).