How To Clear Out Your Wardrobe Without Losing Your Cool

Is your wardrobe now a monster at the other end of your room? It's time for war...

Carrie Bradshaw wardrobe

by Madeleine Knight |
Updated on

If your wardrobe has taken on a life of its own and you have recurring nightmares about the heaving clothes bursting from the doors and consuming you - it may be time for a closet cleanout.

Such an operation requires forethought, planning and clear-headed decision making. A spontaneous mad frenzy of hating and binning everything: easily done but inadvisable.

The rules below simplify the process of the wardrobe spring clean, eliminating stress and making it an altogether satisfying and pleasurable experience.

Prepare your mind

Anticipate high levels of anxiety because decision making is stressful. Think about all those other hard decisions you've made in life: Should I change my career? Should I dump my boyfriend?

Wardrobe decisions can be just as difficult so don't feel bad about self-medicating. If you don't have an 'international pharmacist' shipping you Xanax from the States, opt for green tea or meditation to calm you down before you begin.

Set the mood

Set aside a whole evening alone in your bedroom and make it nice. Make your bed so you have a clear 'sorting surface' which is not the floor.

The temptation to fall asleep actually IN your sorting pile is pretty intense if you sit on the floor. Crack on some tunes that aren't disco tunes. Disco tunes will make you throw out everything that's not covered in sequins.

Understand your motivation

Understand and repeat to yourself, throughout the sorting experience, why you are doing this as it will inform individual decisions. Maybe you want less clutter? Maybe you don't want to spend an hour rifling through every single thing to find the one outfit you actually wear to work in the morning?

Maybe you want to do a Miley and totally reinvent yourself? Whatever your reason, don't lose sight of it halfway through. It's a long arduous task and you must persevere.

The three month rule

This is so famous because it works. If you haven't worn it in three months, chuck it. This obviously doesn't apply to sex wear, ball gowns and extremely expensive shoes you don't want to ruin on a drunken night out, but for everything else - use it.

Write down your worries

Why are you so intent on hanging on to those things you don't wear on the regular? Are they valid fears? Write them down, then if not, slam them down.


Fear: I might want to keep things for a themed party

Slam: 'Oh, thank god I kept hold of this white lycra bodysuit and didn't chuck it away, or I'd have nothing to wear to the Dress Like a Massive Condom party next week!' said no one. ever.

Fear: I might end up not having enough money to replace the clothes I throw out and will be left shivering and naked next winter

Slam: You'd look better naked than dressed in a jumper that is encrusted with something that once was gravy.

Be Realistic

If you are handy with a needle and thread I applaud you, but if you're not don't keep items of clothing on the proviso that you will suddenly become hot on haberdashery and transform all your shit clothes into new art work. You will never do this. You are also unlikely to find a tailor to get things taken in or out OR resole your shoes if they are worth less than the resoling would cost.

Don't get carried away

There is such a thing as being too ruthless. Even if all of your shoes are completely fucked, you can't throw them all out now because they are necessary. Some things you will need to slowly replace instead.

When you're sorted...

Taking clothes to a charity shop is all very well and good but wash them first and don't take the real dregs of your wardrobe or you'll be giving the sweet old lady volunteers more work than they need.

Write a list of your remaining clothes and have a think about some creative ways to cheaply acquire specific pieces to transform these into whole outfits/looks.

Set aside some clothes for a clothes exchange party (this is when you invite all your rich, fashionable friends to your house and try to exchange a DvonF jacket for some old Zara hotpants.)

Call up your mother and tell her you miss her so that you have a legit excuse for showing up next weekend with all your winter clothes in a massive bin bag to stick in the attic. London flats are sardine tins, after all.

Like this? You might also be interested in:

How To Make Even A Tiny Wardrobe Look Organised

Love Thy Wardrobe: Seven Super Simple Steps To Sorting Out Your Clothes Storage

In Defence Of Having A Floordrobe

Follow Madeleine on Twitter: @MissMadeleineK

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us