If there is one thing we have right now, it’s the luxury of a little extra time and for some of us, it’s the perfect opportunity to finally take the plunge into our wardrobes for the overhaul we have been promising ourselves for way too long to remember.
For a little extra encouragement we have pulled together a step by step guide, with the help of our Digital Runway Stylist Jenni Sellan, to eliminate any overwhelm. So there really are no more excuses… let’s go!
Step 1 – make a date with your wardrobe
Editing your wardrobe can take anywhere from two hours (optimistic) to two days. When considering how much time you need to create for this process, look at the state and size of your wardrobe. If your wardrobe takes up the entire cupboard space in your bedroom and has spilled over into the cupboards in the spare room, then you will need to allow for that. Once you have decided how much time you need, mark it in your diary. Make an appointment with yourself and stay committed to it.
Step 2 – Assemble your tool kit
There are several items you will need to gather, most of which you will already have in your home and if not, you can add them to your supermarket shopping list:
- A pack of garbage bags
- Several storage boxes or bags
- Cleaning products to dust, and wipe down shelving;
- Quality coat hangers – we want to replace all wire hangers
- Scented drawer sachets / liners
- A small step for reaching the high spots
- A full length mirror
- Sticky notes, masking tape and a marker
- A couple of old cardboard boxes
- A note pad
Step 3 – Categorise
The objective here is to divide your wardrobe into categories. Ideally this step is conducted a few days prior to your wardrobe editing date. Your first task here is to write out a list of categories which will act as your guide during the editing phase. It will look something like this.
- Day Dresses
- Gym Clothes
- Special Occasion
Once you have your list of categories written out, use it as a guide to sort the items inside your wardrobe and drawers. Please note, this is not the time to start deciphering what stays and what goes.
It is simply the process of categorisation designed to create an organised space prior to the commencement of the next step where each category will be edited. This is a step you don’t want to miss as it increases efficiency, saving you both time and unnecessary meltdowns.
Congratulations. Now it’s time to step into that closet and change your relationship with it forever!
Step 4 - Reflection time
The first thing to do is to grab a pen and paper and write down the answer to this question. HOW DO I WANT TO FELL WHEN I GET DRESSED?
Perhaps you want to feel polished, smart and sophisticated; for others it might be that you want of feel comfortable, relaxed and carefree or perhaps your priority is feeling stylish, fashionable and well put together. There are no wrong answers. Ultimately though, when you get dressed you want to feel as though your clothing represents who you are. There is a strong chance that those items in your wardrobe that are not being worn, while they might look good, just don’t feel like ‘you’ when you put them on, and that's they continue to hang there looking pretty on their own. It’s important that there is congruence between how you want to feel and how you look every day.
Once you have your answer, stick it to the top of your full-length mirror so it’s visible during Step 7 -The Edit.
Step 5 - Getting things organised
Take six of the garbage bags from your tool kit and label them using the masking tape and marker as follows and then position them on the floor:
- Toss / throw away
- Sell / $$$
- Donate / Gift /Gift away
- Dry cleaning / Washing
Grab your storage boxes on hand for accessories and those items that need to be stored until next season. You will also need to create a space for the pieces that you are having trouble deciding on.
Keep one of the old cardboard boxes handy for disposing of any broken or wire hangers and have your new ones ready for garments you are keeping. If you have not bought new hangers make sure you add this to your to do list and use what you have for now. Also, make sure your full-length mirror is ready and accessible as trying on pieces is an essential part of the decision-making process.
Step 6 – Removal
Remove all the clothing from your wardrobe, using the list we created earlier. Approach this task category by category. If you are game and you have a generous amount of space, you can take everything out at once, however we would only recommend this if you are organised by nature, otherwise it could all just end up in a big mess. If you have a roller or clothes rack, that will make things a little easier, otherwise, use your bed and if need be the floor (make sure you give it a good vacuum first).
Before you move to the next stage, give your empty space a clean before anything goes back in – wipe down the shelves and walls and vacuum the floor. If you have purchased drawer liners and scented sachets, now is the time to put those into place.
Step 7 – The Edit
One category at a time assess each individual garment and ask yourself the below questions. Once you have assessed each piece, place it in it’s appropriate bag or box (keep, replace, donate, throw, repair, clean etc). If you do have a clothes rack, use this for the pieces that will go back into your wardrobe.
Now, grab your note book, have your mirror and your ‘how do I want to feel' statement at hand - it's question time. For each and every item in your wardrobe, put it through the test with these questions.
1. What condition is this item in? Is it dirty, does it need a dry clean, is it damaged, if so, can it be repaired? If it can’t be repaired do I want to replace it? *note - put anything that is damaged and beyond repair in the throw away pile. There is nothing generous about donating goods that are not wearable.
2. Does this item fit? If you are not sure, this is where you try it on! If it doesn’t fit and cannot be altered, its’ time to gift it.
3. Do I have multiple items of this piece in the same colour and style? If certain pieces are on high rotation then it can make sense to have more than one, but if not, excess won’t serve you.
4. How do I Feel when I wear this piece? How do I want to feel? If there is a disconnect, bid it farewell.
5. Am I wearing this? If not, why not? Do I regularly go to put it on and then hang it back up? If the answer is no I am not wearing this, it’s time to let it go.
6. Do I love this item so much, that I've worn it out and it now needs replacing? Pop it in the replace pile and then once you have replaced it, move it to the throw away or donate pile (depending on it’s condition)
7. Can I wear this item with three other pieces in my wardrobe? This one might actually be a game changer when it comes to having a functional wardrobe. If it does, great, keep it. If it doesn’t ask yourself another question… Am I willing to invest in one or two pieces that will mean I can wear it? If not, say goodbye, if yes, make a note of this.
8. Is this style flattering and does it suit my lifestyle and my personality? There’s no point having ten perfect little black dresses, if you go to one semi-formal function every two years. It’s important to have some options for special occasions but be realistic.
At the end of this process you will have several bags containing items that need to be thrown, donated or sold, replaced, cleaned, repaired, cleaned and of course kept. *note - for the items that need repairing, washed or dry cleaned, don’t put items back in until those things have been done. For any items you wish to donate, place these into the boot or back seat of your car - while you may not be able to drop these off right now, it's important to move them out of the house. Alternatively, place these in your garage until donation points re-open.
There may also be a pile of clothing you are unsure about. For these, leave them and come back to them in a few days when you have had time to think about them some more and assess their ‘workability’ in your wardrobe.
Place everything you are keeping back in your wardrobe, sticking to your assigned categories. There are lots of ways to organise your wardrobe but this is a good start, if you need any extra inspiration just hit up Google.
Step 8 – Take a Sip
By this stage you will be ready to put your feet up and take a sip of something you have had chilling in the fridge! Grab a mag and take a scroll through your Instagram feed, and don't forget to tag Grand Central in you before and after Instagram stories!
This wardrobe cleanse guide has been written by Jenni Sellan, Grand Central's Digital Runway Stylist.
As a stylist, Jenni's philosophy is 'nothing less than chic’ and her determination is to create a space that inspires confidence using fashion as the springboard in a way that is relevant, fun, sometimes fierce hopefully thought-provoking and always through a stylish eye.