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The Ruthless Wardrobe Declutter Guide

OK let's be honest...who has said out loud "I have nothing to wear" whilst stood frustrated and helpless in front of a wardrobe bursting with clothes?

It's a scenario most of us will be familiar with as we are simply overfaced by the sheer volume of stuff in our possession . We may have dresses still with tags that have never had an outing, 10 pairs of jeans in the same colour, a jacket that goes with nothing, a top we didn't need and have never worn but was on sale....

Wouldn't it be much better to have an adequately stocked wardrobe, containing just the pieces we love? A wardrobe where we can easily see what we have, enabling us to create the perfect outfit each day, making the most of our clothes?

Of course! Follow these tips; be strict, be practical and by the end of today you could have just that. (Also lets face it, more room to treat yourself to something new :)

For most of us a full on wardrobe declutter is going to be quite an undertaking so ensure you have drinks and snacks on hand and a couple of hours to dedicate to do the task properly.*

*if this really isn't feasible for you, break down the task to maybe a drawer or shelf at a time. This is not really the most effective way to tackle it but whatever you can manage is better than living in fashion chaos.


Before the difficult decisions begin, you need the space to categorise your clothes into 4 piles


For the pieces you love and wear regularly and will continue to do so


For anything clean and in good condition. We will donte to a friend, family member or one of the many fabulous charity stores on the high street.


For your unwanted items that are in excellent condition, still have tags, are vintage etc..

Recommended sites include EBAY and Vinted. Also check if there is an independent dress agency near you. Preloved clothing is all the rage right now - people are making good money from the items they no longer want. Why not have a go?


This pile is for your damaged or unwearable clothing. Please do not bin as it will likely just end up in landfill. Check if your local council has a collection / recycle point for clothing or perhaps there is somewhere that takes takes scrap clothing in your area ( some will pay you per kilo).

You may note the absence of the dreaded maybe pile. If in doubt - throw it out ( again sustainably please - not the bin!)

Now for the questions you need to ask yourself ( remember this is the ' Ruthless' declutter so be just that )

Q#1 - Does it fit?

This is probably the hardest question to start with. We all have items in the wardrobe that no longer fit properly. Frustratingly a woman's weight will often fluctuate due to hormone changes, pregancy etc, but unless you are certain that you are getting back to your 'ideal' weight in the very near future you need to let these items go. Focus on looking and feeling fabulous in the clothes that do fit.

Q#2 - Do I need more than 1?

Gather together any duplicate / similar items. Pick out the best for the keep pile (ie the one you wear the most or the one in best condition) and the rest can go.

Jeans are a good example, we often have several pairs but cull the ones in the same style and colour.

Q#3 - Is it still in fashion / still my style?

Yes it's true that fashion often repeats itself but we can't hang on to everything just in case. If you have vintage or designer items that you really cannot bear to part with but will not be wearing in the foreseeable, look at alternate storage (eg pack away in the loft or garage). This way you still make space in your wardrobe.

If you no longer like it or it doesn't suit you - donate or sell.

Q#4 - Does it still have tag on?

Unless the item has been recently purchased, straight into the donate or sell pile please ladies. When you buy something new you should be itching to wear it as soon as you can. If you have put it in the wardrobe and forgotten about it, it needs to go.

Q#5 - Am I Saving it for best?

"Saving for best' is not a good enough reason to hang on to a piece you never wear. When exactly is 'best'? Life is for living now - if you love it wear it. Unless it is truly vintage or has sentimental value it needs to go.

Q#6 - When was the last time I wore this?

If you haven't worn it in the past 12 months the chances are you won't wear it in the next 12 months. It needs to go. Even if you like it there is a reason why it has not been worn. If you were being particularly ruthless you could apply this to clothes you haven't worn in 6 months but you need to take in to account seasonal pieces (eg summer shorts, winter coats etc)

Q#7- Does it need repairing?

Will I take it to be repaired in the next couple of weeks? Can it even be repaired? Will I wear it when it has been repaired. Lets be honest we are not keeping this item.

Apply these questions to every piece in your wardrobe and drawers - yes even your underwear and no, we are not keeping odd socks in case the other one turns up.

You should now have your 4 piles. Congratulations!!

Arrange to distribute your DONATE, SELL & RECYCLE piles as soon as possible. Do not be tempted to undo your hard work and sneak anything back into the wardrobe.

KEEP - these items can be put back into your wardrobe for you to wear and enjoy. You should now have a better idea of what you own which will make it easier to rotate what you wear and change up your outfits my mixing and matching different pieces.

Now that you are all organised the trick is keeping it that way. Try to do the ruthless declutter at least twice idea, ideally with the change over of seasons. That way you will always be able to maximise the wear of your clothes and identify what you need, making sure there is always space for something new.

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