This morning I cleared out my wardrobe. For months I’ve been wearing the same outfits repeatedly to avoid digging through the piles of clothes that no longer fit me, or have been washed so often they’re out of shape, or that I just don’t like anymore. It had reached the point where I couldn’t bring myself to look at the wardrobe: there were clothes falling off hangers, and more spilling out of drawers… you get the picture – it was awful!
It all came to a head this week with the change in the weather. I knew that in amongst the mess were clothes suitable for wind and rain, but what, and where? Serious action was needed.
In all honesty I’d been aware for ages that it needed doing, but it was one of those things I’d put off because I thought it would be a hassle: time-consuming and boring. But strangely it wasn’t, and once I’d got started I actually *whispers* enjoyed it! This may be because there’s nothing I love more than organising, but I think it was more than that. It was almost cleansing. I realised that over time I had been hoarding clothes for all kinds of reasons: they reminded me of a special occasion; I used to love that dress and might fit in it again one day; I’d barely worn it (OK, so there may have been a good reason why I’d barely worn it)…
I found clothes that were 10 years old, and not in a good, vintage way. I found clothes that I wouldn’t be seen dead in. I found clothes that I had bought immediately after the birth of my first child when I didn’t fit into my ‘normal’ clothes but couldn’t face wearing maternity anymore. I couldn’t work out why on earth I’d kept them for all this time, so I decided to ditch the lot.
Once I’d decided to be ruthless, there was no stopping me. I’m not ashamed to say that I filled 4 bin bags with clothes for the textiles bin at the recycling centre (although I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I don’t think a charity shop would be able to sell on much of what I discarded).
I also packed up all my Summer clothes to go into the loft.
Then I put everything that I’d decided to keep back onto hangers or folded it carefully(ish), and put it back into my wardrobe.
I’d unearthed a few gems that I’d forgotten all about and can’t wait to wear, including some fabulous party dresses that I had worn a couple of times pre-babies and (to my utmost delight) now fit in again. It’s like having a new wardrobe without spending any money.
And the best thing is it looks so lovely and neat that I’ve stood and admired it on several occasions today. I can have a browse when choosing what to wear. I no longer need to avert my eyes when I’m in my bedroom. I feel at peace.
The only problem is that I fear it’s unleashed a monster. Now I’ve started, nowhere is going to be safe – I’ve already got plans for the cupboard under the stairs, and I just walked past the boys’ bedroom….
You can find inner peace too, by following my tips for de-cluttering:
- Make sure you have enough time to get the job done. The last thing you want to do is be left with piles of clothes, books, or whatever it is you’re sorting through, that you have to keep looking at. Chances are they’ll end up back where they started.
- Decide in advance your criteria for keeping or getting rid of things, and stick to it. There’s no point in spending hours sorting through to find you’ve barely cleared anything out.
- Have a plan for what you are going to do with items you don’t want to keep. Again, you don’t want to be left with bags and boxes sitting around your home or office for weeks.
- If you are going to sell things on, check out the best places to do so (eBay, Music Magpie, Amazon books etc), and be realistic about what will sell.
- If you really can’t bear to get rid of things but want to put them away somewhere else (such as the loft), think about how to store them – plastic storage boxes are waterproof and keep out uninvited guests. Make sure you label any boxes properly.
- For tips on sorting out piles of papers, read How to Organise your Paperwork.
- If you really can’t face doing it alone, why not call in an expert?