How To: Clearing Out A Wardrobe


I’m incredibly bored with my wardrobe lately. I find it not only dull but downright frustrating, and I keep rotating the same pieces over and over, and I still don’t feel like this is actually me.
Still, my armoire is full. With things I don’t wear.
So I decided to clear it, out with the old, in with (less of) the new! And only things I really love this time, I promise!

If you’re in some sort of wardrobe slump, too, or plan to be in one in the future, complete with a full wardrobe but nothing to wear, here is how I tackled at least the latter problem:

Step 1

I’ll start with the thing that comes first in all of the posts of this kind: Make piles. My piles (and what I would recommend) are the following:

  • favourites. The things you love unconditionally and would wear every day if the wouldn’t need a wash now and then.
  • I like it, I keep it. Things that don’t fall into the first category, but you like anyway.
  • I used to really like this. This one is complicated and left me baffled and somewhat sad. You know that you loved these clothes at some point, but now they don’t excite you anymore.
  • indifferent. Things  don’t think that everyone needs this pile. I do, however, for all the things that are not really everyday wear but for special occasions like themed parties, conventions or LARP.
  • basics. You know, those solid-coloured t-shirts, longsleeves, leggings. Also, the one thick woolen jumper you own, and work attire.
  • has to go. Things that are torn, too washed out to wear, or that you simply don’t like anymore.
  • socks, undies, scarves, the like. They don’t really count as clothes, so they are for another time to sort out.

Usually the advice is to make three piles, “keep”, “throw out” and “indifferent”, but I my relationship with my clothes is a bit more complicated than that, so I need more piles.

Step 2

Take the “favourites” and the “basics” pile and put them back into the closet. Except if they need mending. Then do that first.

Step 3

Find out about the “I used to really like this” and “indifferent” piles. Why don’t you like a piece anymore? Is there a size problem? Does the fabric feel bad on your skin? Is the colour actually not for you? Have you just somehow outgrown the style this piece represents?
Clothes can be adjusted and dyed. Maybe that’s a solution for you and this special piece. If not, it’s probably time to part. And if it’s really bad, make a box for memory pieces. I have one of these, it sits at the bottom of my old closet at my mother’s place. In there lies the battlevest from my metalhead days (complete with Sabaton autographs from back-when-they-didn’t-have-roadies-yet), the mid-noughties Gothic dress I wore for my first few more formal dances and the graduation shirt I made myself because we didn’t have official ones. I’m not sure I’ll ever wear these things again, but I’d regret it bitterly if I ever threw them away.
Long story short: When in doubt, either throw it out or put it away in a memory box.

Step 3.5

Get someone to help who’s not fashion conscious enough to see potential in everything (or has a completely different style). They don’t have the same sentimental attachment to your clothing as you do, and at least the latter probably won’t enthuse over the things you actually want to get rid of (subconsciously?) as someone with exactly your taste. This helps with everything, not just clothes, by the way.

Step 4

Get out the “has to go” pile. Donate the things that wouldn’t fetch a penny/cent on a flea market or on the internet, it’s faster than trying to sell it anyway. What’s out is out, and you can’t decide that, actually, this t-shirt isn’t so bad after all, of that you’re willing to give those too-tight trousers another try because they’ll sure look great on you once you’ve lost a few pounds.
Things that are still decent can be sold – there are innumerable options online, or you can give offline a try, via second-hand shops or flea markets.
You probably won’t make a fortune (except your thrown-outs consist solely of Gunne Sax dresses or a Lolita brand wardrobe or priceless vintages). Don’t think so much about what you paid for the piece when you bought it, rather think about what you’d pay for it now. You want to get rid of the stuff, after all, and the money is just a nice little bonus.

Step 5

The afterlife.

Try not to clutter your wardrobe again. I try to buy only one piece for every two I threw out, I’m not sure how successful this resolution will be. When you think about buying something, ask yourself how good it integrates into your existing wardrobe in regards to style, colour and texture. How combinable it is. And how many of this kind you’ve already got. And if you couldn’t maybe get it from a thrift shop, too, because that’s more environmentally friendly (and cheaper). Or, if you’re crafty, if you couldn’t make it yourself.
But, and I think this is the most important thing about wardrobes, and also pretty much every other thing in life, do what feels best.

_ _ _ _ _

The font used in the picture above is Cardenio Modern.


2 thoughts on “How To: Clearing Out A Wardrobe

  1. Ah, die Freude des Kleiderschrankausmistens werde ich dank Umzug auch bald haben. Punkt 3.5 hat bei bisherigen Unternehmungen dieser Art nie stattgefunden und könnte bei der Nächsten meine Rettung sein. ;)

    1. Freut mich, dass dir das was nutzt. ^^
      Ich bin immer hin- und hergerissen, wenn ich was wegtun soll – könnte ja sein, dass es mir irgendwann wieder gefällt. Jules ist da keine große Hilfe, weil er das genauso sieht, aber mein Freund ist zum Glück echt rigoros, was das angeht. :D

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