Right about now is usually when we’d start swapping our winter clothes for more summery attire. It’s time for a spring clear out – and what better time to do this than in quarantine?
“Whilst life feels out of control at the moment, there are small pockets of our lives which we can control,” says life coach Kate Ibbotson, a professional declutterer and author of A Tidy Mind. “Decluttering our wardrobe is one of these and it’s a perfect contained space to focus on at this time.”
Many of us will have more time to do a thorough clear out, so take advantage of it – “but if not, then do it for your emotional health because decluttering is known to promote feelings of calm when you look at the newly sorted space”.
Start by categorizing your clothing, footwear and accessories, says Ibbotson. For each category, go through and compare like with like. Do you favor one pair of black boots over another? Do you need both?
When sorting through the clothes like this, Helen Sanderson, author of the Home Declutter Kit, recommends putting clothes into the following piles:
donate (to friends, charity or re-sale)
worth trying on
for the bin/recycling
holiday wardrobe (store in your suitcase if you’re short on space)
Once it’s all out the wardrobe, have a trying on party, suggests Sanderson: “Use this time to re-set, create a new wardrobe and a new you! Do it with some friends on Zoom, your flatmates or partner and a glass of wine.” If you haven’t worn it in the last year, chances are you’re never going to, unless it’s a special item for formal occasions. But, she adds, beware of the “I might be able to fit into it one day” trap. “The belief: tomorrow is more important that today. Counter this with: I’ve chosen to create space and order in my life right now. And I choose to have clothes that work for me today.”
When making a decision, don’t just ask yourself whether you like an item. Instead, says Ibbotson, ask yourself specific, intelligent questions such as: How do I feel in this? Would I buy this again if I saw it today? Does the fit flatter my shape? Does the color suit me? Do I have at least three other things which go with it? Do I own other similar items? “Saying no to some items means saying yes to other things, she says, “and more space for stuff that brings you joy.”
Once you’re done, work out where your clothes will go. If things need mending – and you’re up for it – do it! Set yourself a deadline though, says Sanderson, then put the clothes in a bag and label it with the deadline date. “Agree with yourself that if you haven’t done it by then, it’s time for them to go!
Charity shops are shut right now and many local clothing banks are closed or full. Ibbotson suggests dividing your items into sizes and list for free on a local Facebook group or Next Door community group. Local people could pick up from outside your home whilst doing their allowed outdoor exercise, she says. “There may be some charities still accepting clothes, shoes and school uniforms, such as women’s refuges,” she adds.
Sanderson says any high-end clothes, or things that are almost new, may be worth something on eBay – but consider if it’s worth the time it takes to sell them. “The rest could be offered to friends and family if you like, but most likely will best as donations to charity shops.
“I recommend putting it into the car, so it’s ready to be dealt with and you don’t clutter up the house. If you don’t have a car, store them out of sight under the stairs, in the garage, garden shed or under the bed. Importantly, set yourself a reminder to pull the bags out and deal with them once the lockdown is over.”