365 days. 12 months. 52 weeks. You could do ANYTHING in that time, couldn’t you? Renovate a house? Declutter a house? Let’s do April.
The seasons are changing, you can feel it can’t you? Daylight savings, temperature changes, and the light is changing too. It’s the perfect time of year to declutter your clothes and your kids clothes.
Oh no! Not clothes Liz! They’re the hardest! I love ALL my clothes and my kids clothes are too cute (and expensive!) to get rid of!
Wait, wait, wait…I promise it’ll be ok. I’ve done this myself when I moved from a house with two big wardrobes just for me, to a tiny apartment with one small 1 metre wide wardrobe.
I’ve written a few blog posts on this subject, in more detail, but I’d be remiss not to include this subject in the Year of Decluttering series. So the links to the other blogs are strategically inserted into the text that follows. Lets’s get started:
First, you need to know what you’ve got.
You might have similar things tucked away in drawers or boxes, folded on shelves or rolled up in cubbies and hung up too – like knits and leggings, T-shirts… that kind of thing.
Let’s get a little bit organised. (Phase 1)
Your wardrobe is Premium Storage. It’s a place of action & activity, where you should be able to find what you want instantly. It’s not long term storage for things you never wear, or hardly ever wear.
It’s also not the place for camping gear, computer bits, paperwork, your collection of gift wrapping bits and bobs or your kids sports gear. There is always somewhere else they can go.
It should be easy for you to pull things out and put your lovely clothes away. We all know the dreaded Hanger Tangle when clothes are packed too tightly together.
Life is too short to wrestle with stupid hangers (even if they’re lovely matching flocked or wooden ones.) And who wants to cram and squash gorgeous new things into a packed mishmash?!
A lot depends on how much space you have. But even the most cramped clothes storage is easier to use when the same things are together.
For you that might mean all your clothes are in the same place regardless of season. Or you might prefer (or have no choice) to store off season stuff in another wardrobe or in boxes in a storage area (Make sure they’re in a dark, dry place and airtight!)
Even if you only store your bulky winter jackets and sweaters elsewhere (freshly cleaned and dry) it’s going to make a difference to your useable space.
And it’s a bit easier to declutter when you can see how many of each thing you have. (I’m not a big fan of emptying out your whole wardrobe in one go, it’s freaking overwhelming when you’re doing it by yourself.)
The final organisation can wait a bit while you do Phase 1. If you read my blog Organising Your Wardrobe The Easy-Peasy Way. There’s a lot more detail on that.
Right now we just want to roughly group things together, or pull out just the one kind of thing. Let’s get stuck in.
Let’s choose knits as an example. Some will be pulling them out for the first time in ages (Hi Kiwis & Aussies! Xxx), and some will be packing them away (Hello Northern Hemisphere lovelies!)
You can choose to fossick out every single knit, and store them all in one place, then move on to the next type of clothing and do the same thing. Then work through from the beginning with weeding in mind another time.
Or, you could do a quick weed there and then. Boom, it’s a sneak weed!
Sneak Wardrobe Weeding. (Phase 2)
All you’re doing is rough organising, you can tell yourself, nothing to worry about here… Then you can do a quick visual check as you touch or look at each thing to see if there’s anything that can go:
- Do you feel bad about yourself when you wore it last time?
- Is it itchy or scratchy?
- Maybe it’s not quite the right colour?
- Does it go with anything?
- Have you worn it in the last 2 years?
- Have you worn it in the last season?
- Do you like it?
Get a donation bag ready. Would you be happy to gift it to a friend? Toss it in that bag! If it’s not in superb condition don’t donate it. If there’s anything that you wobble over, pop it back. What you keep is your choice. If you decide it’s worth it, you’re choosing to give that thing space in your Premium Storage.
Someone else will love them so get that bag to a local charity shop ASAP. (Here’s a link to my Donations Webpage https://thetidylady.co.nz/useful-links/donations. It’s always a good idea to call first thing in the morning to check if they’re taking what you’re giving and of course, only donate really good stuff – no pilled, stained, bleach-marked or clothes with holes)
Repair clothes when you can. If you can’t find someone who can, recycle those clothes! See my Recycling Web Page under Clothing.
A quick word about keepsake clothing: It’s your choice to use your Premium Storage Space for things you will never wear again. Things like your wedding dress, your prom dress, the jumpsuit you wore to your first concert when you were 16. Or you could pop them in either a specialist gown box or a keepsake box and store it somewhere else. (Google christening and wedding dress boxes)
Group together what’s left and move on to the next type of clothing, when you’re ready. Keep going!
And what is Phase 3 you might ask? That’s the part where you get to organise your clothes The Home Edit style, or your own unique organised style. Cute storage is totally optional.
You might find that at this point you find yourself doing another little bit of weeding, that just comes naturally as you touch and organise each item.
This one is easy. Pfffft easy!? You say? The great thing about kids? They keep growing. There’s none of this – Oh they might fit this size 1 again if they lose weight!
Go through your kids clothes every change of season, or twice a year. Look for clothes that no longer fit or are beyond repair. Divide into these groupings:
Keepsakes – There will be some special clothes that have meaning for you as a mum or dad. Make a box for each child and label it, store it somewhere clean and dry, not in their wardrobe, or yours either unless you have heaps of room.
Trashed clothes – Repair if possible. 100% cotton can be donated as cotton rags in clearly marked bags. Chop up soft fabrics for your own cleaning/workshop rags. Check out my Recycling Web Page under Clothing.
Good clothes – Pass down to the next child if appropriate. Donate or gift to friends. Yes, even the expensive, top quality designer kiddie clothes. Or sell them if you must, but don’t delay, get them gone.
If you have an emotional block around letting your baby clothes go, please get in touch. I can help (I’ll never make you do anything you don’t want to do.)
Your Partners Clothes.
Don’t even go there. Yet. Pressure never works on resistant partners.
Impress them with YOUR wardrobe makeover first. Let them see how much you’ve given away, how gorgeously organised your clothes look. And how easy it is for you to maintain and keep tidy.
If they don’t even notice, or they don’t care or they run away screaming like Kermit The Frog at even the thought of decluttering or weeding their clothes, respect that. It’s important to respect their presence in the home too.
You could offer to just organise, with a solemn promise not throw anything out (and stick to it, no matter what.) That way it’ll look a bit better, but bear in mind, if they don’t care, you’re the one who’s going to have to maintain that order.
Also once they’re more organised, they’ll be able to see just how many things they really have. Which might inspire them to do a little light weeding, by themselves…
Bye for now,
P.S. I’m committed to sharing my decluttering, organising skills and tools with the world, in the hope that it can help others. If this blog resonates with you, please consider forwarding it to anyone who may benefit from it. If this was forwarded to you, subscribe below.
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