When it comes to cleaning out your wardrobe, there are two types of people: those who are absolutely ruthless and will throw out anything they’re not 100% sure about, and those who act like hoarders, refusing to part with a single sock. Neither of these attitudes are going to help you get the clean – but complete – closet of your dreams.
So, to help remedy this problem, we’ve devised six key questions that you should ask yourself about every single item of clothing that you own. Your answers should help you work out what you should keep and what you really need to cull.
1. Do you even like it?
This is the very first question you should ask yourself about any piece of clothing in your wardrobe. You’d be surprised at how many pieces you’re holding onto just because your grandma gave them to you back in 2006. If you don’t like something, it has got to go. It’s wasting space and you’re not going to wear it.
2. Does it fit you?
If something doesn’t fit you, there’s a good chance you should ditch it. And before you start thinking, “Oh, but when I lose a bit of weight, it will look great!” If you do lose weight, are you really going to want to put on old clothes that you’ve had in your closet for years? You’ll probably want to get something new.
If the clothes in your closet don’t fit you now, just as you are, then get rid of them and find clothes that do fit you and make you look your best.
3. Is it damaged or worn out?
This is one that I’m guilty of. I once kept an old, ratty white tee for way too long because it was really hard to find a good white T-shirt to replace it. But I wasn’t even wearing the old one because it had too many holes in it!
Anything that’s really old or damaged should be gotten rid of immediately. You’re never going to wear it again. The only exception should be anything that has a strong sentimental value like a university tee.
4. When was the last time you wore it?
If you’ve made it through the last three questions, this is where it gets tricky. You need to honestly think about the last time you wore the item. If you can’t remember wearing it at all in the last few years, that’s a fair indication that it’s got to go.
Don’t be too ruthless though. Just because you didn’t wear that floral dress last summer, doesn’t mean you won’t wear it this summer. Use this question to identify things that you haven’t worn in a long time and that you are therefore unlikely to wear again.
5. Can you name at least one upcoming occasion where you can wear it?
If you’ve identified a few pieces that you haven’t worn in a long time but are still unsure if you should truly get rid of them, ask yourself if there is at least one upcoming event where you could wear the item.
For example, I have a blue lace dress in my wardrobe that I haven’t worn in a long time, but I know it’s the perfect dress to wear for a garden wedding I have coming up in February.
If you know that you can wear those pants to your partner’s work function, or that top to your friend’s birthday, then it’s okay to hang onto the piece for the time being. If you can’t think of a single occasion where you would wear the item, it’s probably time to say goodbye.
Want to take the spring-clean a step further? Listen to Monique Bowley talking about Marie Kondo's book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up. POST CONTINUES AFTER AUDIO.
6. How much did you pay for it?
If you paid a lot of money for something, it’s probably worth hanging onto.
Fashion operates in cycles. A few years ago we experienced a huge 90s resurgence (which is still going) that made us curse the day we threw out all our old chokers. Last summer we saw 70s styles making a comeback, with flared jeans, boho tops and earthy tones at the front of every store. Most recently, the 80s and all its shoulder-padded glory is fighting its way back into fashion.
The point is, whatever you own will probably come back into fashion. Does this mean you should hang on to that $50 jumper just because it might look cool again in a few years? No, of course not. But that cropped leather jacket that set you back $700 might be worth saving. High-quality or designer pieces are supposed to last for decades and there’s no point in spending big if you’re going to ditch the item after one season.