New Year, New... Wardrobe? How To Do A Proper Clear Out Once And For All

The start of a new year is a great opportunity to get rid of some deadwood and start planning what clothes you need for the year.  

A new year needs resolutions and this year I’m going to sort out my wardrobe. Sound familiar? The start of a new year is a great opportunity to get rid of some deadwood and start planning what clothes you need for the year.  
Shopping starts with identifying what you need. Before you even set foot in a shop, you need to start by taking a good look at your current wardrobe. 
Think about the type of lifestyle you have and how you segment your time. Ideally, your wardrobe should match your lifestyle and you should spend your money where you spend your time. 
Here are some tips on weeding your wardrobe which is advisable twice a year: once for the spring/summer season and once for the autumn/winter season.
If it’s not possible to do both, a good wardrobe weed at the start of the year is the best policy. 

1. The  two-year rule:

Get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in two years and if in doubt, throw it out! 
The exceptions to this are specialist clothing eg for sport or maternity wear and occasion wear. 
2. Take out every single item including shoes, scarves, belts, jewellery
3. Make 3 piles.
The first pile is your KEEP pile. This consists of everything you love to wear all the time. 
The second pile is your GO pile. This is everything which you haven’t worn in the last 2 years, items which fit badly, worn out items, out of date fashion items, items you no longer like, gifts which were never worn, clothing with the labels still attached which has not been worn. 
Sort all your clothing by type: dresses, skirts, jeans, trousers, tops, jackets, knitwear, coats, shoes accessories etc. Check for duplicates and get rid of one of them. For example, how many black cardigans do you really need!  
This pile is ready for the bin or charity shop. 
Anything that is out of season eg summer clothes in November needs to be taken out and placed in a separate wardrobe or in the attic.  
Your third pile is your PENDING pile - anything in need of repair or cleaning which you would wear. 
Go back through your PENDING pile and see which items are worth keeping and put the rest in your GO pile. 
One idea for dealing with the GO pile is to have a “swap party” with some of your friends who have also recently weeded their wardrobes. 
Some tips for maintaining a wardrobe: 
  • Before you put the KEEP pile back in your wardrobe make sure it all still fits and is in good condition.  
  • Make sure you can see everything in your wardrobe or you won’t wear it. 
  • Hang all trousers including jeans.  
  • Arrange clothes in a way which makes sense for your lifestyle eg.. work clothes together, evening clothes together, casual clothes together. 
  • Arrange all clothes by type- jackets together, shirts with jackets, accessories which go with tops and dresses on the hanger. As you put the clothes back in your wardrobe, reverse the hangers. When you have worn it, replace it in the wardrobe hanging in the right direction. At the end of the season take out all the items that are still hanging the wrong way and if you have not worn the garment, get rid of it. 
  • Remove all plastic wrapping and wire hangers as they are bad for clothes. 
  • Arrange tops and jumpers on open shelves where you can see them. 
  • Keep shoes in their original boxes. Keep sports clothing separate. 
  • Separate your winter and summer clothes so that you only have appropriate clothing for the season hanging in your main wardrobe. 
  • Winter coats and evening wear should be stored separately. 
  • Store holiday clothing in a suitcase, washed and ready to take away on your next trip. Same for ski gear. 
  • Take out any clothing of sentimental value which you don’t wear regularly and wrap in tissue paper and store somewhere other than your main wardrobe. 
  • If your job requires you to wear specialised clothing, including suits which you would only wear to work, then keep these items together in your wardrobe and away from your weekend wear. 
  • Look after your work-wear. Get it dry cleaned regularly and keep your shoes well polished. First impressions are essential in any working environment and are generally formed by starting at the feet and looking upwards! 
Footnote: make it easier on yourself by hiring a professional to come and help you with the job. Mary from Ruby Seven image consulting has over 12 years experience in weeding wardrobes and there’s literally nothing she hasn’t seen!  
Mary Holmes is our Fashion and Style Expert. Mary set up Ruby Seven Image Consulting in 2006,and helps clients identify their clothes in terms of styles, shapes and colours based on their body shape, lifestyle and personality.  You can find her at RubySevenand on Facebook

Mary Holmes

Image Consultant and Personal Shopper based in Dublin. Works with men and women of all age groups as well as organisations and businesses.

Read more by Mary
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