It feels like it's been a long winter, and I don't know about you but the minute the sun comes out I'm itching to ditch the thermals and throw on a summer dress. So now is the perfect time to go through the wardrobe and get it shipshape and ready for a busy summer of use.
Over in our Free Facebook group I run two Wardrobe Revival weeks every year - a daily live video taking you through the ultimate wardrobe seasonal switch over step by step (this year's starts April 17th). Following this process means you'll have a beautifully organised wardrobe for the next six months, and a shopping list of things to look for to fill in any gaps. You'll also have a handy go-to set of outfits to call on whenever you're short on time - bonus!
Sometimes tackling our wardrobes can seem daunting, especially if we haven’t done it in a while, but following my five day plan in this blog or in our Facebook group means we can break the task down into shorter daily steps that feels more manageable.
Before you start the revival plan you might want to make sure you have the following handy: Notebook, pen, bin bags, storage bags, spare hangers and copious amounts of tea. We also recommend the FREE app, Save Your Wardrobe.
Here’s my five-day Wardrobe Revival Plan:
Day 1: Get things out of your eye line that you can’t wear now.
When you open the doors of your wardrobe to get dressed, everything you see should be something you could wear now. You'll save time and space by taking out all your winter clothing and things you don’t wear often.
Step 1: Remove all your winter clothing from the wardrobe, fold it and pack it away, or if you have space elsewhere in the house, move it to another wardrobe. Personally, as I have a small wardrobe, I put my out of season clothing away in storage bags you can suck the air out of and store under the bed (these bags have the added advantage of being space saving and with no air inside them, they are unlikely to be safe harbour for moths). What counts as winter clothing? Heavy jumpers, coats and thick jackets, heavier fabrics like corduroy or velvet and sometimes darker colours. If you're not sure see if you can envisage yourself wearing it in August, and if the answer is no, it might be a winter piece. Remember knitwear doesn't like to be hung up as it makes the shoulders stretch, so definitely fold knitwear if you're packing it away.
At this point, you don’t need to sort and organise those clothes as you don’t know how you’ll feel about them when they come out again in the Autumn, so for now, just pack them away and we’ll deal with them at the start of the next season. You might want to keep these bags handy for a day or two as there’s bound to be more to add to them as you continue your sort out.
Another good reason for not sorting them now is because there is less resale value in them. There is far less market for a winter jacket in June than in October. The same applies for items you want to donate to charity, it just becomes a storage issue for the charity, so hang on to those pieces and sort them/ sell them/ donate them at the right time of year.
Step 2: For other items you don’t wear often (like evening wear etc) you can do a quick check to make sure they fit and are ready to be worn if needed, but they can go into dust bags and be hung in another wardrobe in the house or at the end of your rail where you don’t see them each day.
Step 3: Pack away things you've kept but you know don't fit you right now. For clothes that don’t fit that you still like, they should definitely be put away. It’s not a great motivator if you get up in the morning and stare at a rail of clothes that are too small for you. Store them with your out of season clothes for now and try them on again when you revisit those bags in the Autumn.
Day 1 is in the bag.....literally.
Day 2: Try On Your Clothes
Day 2 is a big day, you'll definitely need the tea brewing for today's tasks, so get the kettle on, and make sure you're wearing your good underwear for a lot of trying on.
Step 1: Gather up all the clothes you have left in the wardrobe after yesterday's pack away. Get them out and lay them on the bed by type (so a pile of trousers, a pile of skirts etc) Do you have other clothes that are wearable this coming season somewhere else in the house? (try the laundry pile, a drawer somewhere, a suitcase stored away – check all over the house!) If you’ve been following this process for a while, you’ll have stored away your spring/ summer clothing at the start of the autumn, so get all that out too and add it to your piles. Seeing your clothes in this way is a very telling exercise - does it look like a lot? Maybe not enough? And what do your piles tell you? Do you have a huge pile of jeans but hardly any dresses? Are there loads of tops but not many skirts or trousers? This is a common issue I see a lot and clients always have an a-ha moment when I point it out as it helps explain why making outfits is tricky if the wardrobe isn't balanced.
While everything is out on the bed, I like to give the drawers and the inside of my wardrobe a little bit of a spring clean. A few nicely scented drawer liners or some lavender bags really helps make the space feel clean and special.
Step 2: Try everything on and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. I usually put on a good pair of trousers and then try on all my tops, and then jackets, cardigans etc, working my way through each pile. Ask yourself:
Do I like this?
Does it work for my lifestyle for the next 6 months?
Does it fit me well?
Can I see myself wearing it?
Does it deserve a place in my wardrobe?
Is it in good order? (check it over for pulls, holes, missing buttons, dropped hems etc).
Put the items you decide to keep on an appropriate hanger and back in the wardrobe (see step 3 before you start doing this!), and create two piles with the rest: Pile 1 is the things you’re getting rid of and pile 2 is for things that need some attention to be wearable (laundry or repair).
Step 3: Asses your storage. Before you put things back, decide if your current way of organising clothes works well. Ideally you want one main space you go to every morning to find something to wear. Hang the clothes you wear most often and hang them up according to type (so all the tops together, all the trousers etc) and in colour order from darkest to lightest in each group. Ideally you should just hang one item on one hanger. As you hang things back in the wardrobe, you might want to take a photo of them for use in your Save your Wardrobe app.
Knitwear doesn’t enjoy being hung as it can stretch at the shoulders, so find a place to fold and keep all your jumpers etc. When you’re putting things back in drawers, consider the Marie Kondo method of folding clothes into rectangles you can store on their sides. It’s a genius idea as that way you can instantly see everything when you open the drawer, and nothing gets squashed or forgotten at the bottom of a pile.
Day 3: Deal with your unwanted pile and your repairs.
Today is the day to deal with the pile of things you don’t want to keep any more.
Step 1: Decide if you have items you want to sell. There might be some things you can sell off on apps like Vinted or on eBay or your local dress agency.
Step 2: Bag up what you want to donate to charity.
Step 3: Deal with things not suitable for sale or donation as these can still be recycled. Some councils will collect textiles in a clearly labelled bag as part of their kerbside recycling programme, but if yours don’t, some charity shops will accept them (in a bag clearly marked with ‘rags’) or popped into the large metal clothes banks you see in supermarket car parks. Almost every textile can be recycled, so even odd socks or holey tights can go in these bags.
Step 4: Do you have time for some creativity? Some things you might decide you can re-use or refashion in some way. There are so many different projects on Pinterest or YouTube you can try. I made a dressing gown out of old silk clothing, so have a look online and see what projects take your fancy.
Step 5: Deal with your laundry/ repair pile. If you’re not able to repair yourself, find a good local seamstress who can do it for you. Get appointments booked in the diary to visit, as well as anything else that needs your attention so you can have these clothes back in your wardrobe in wearable condition as quickly as possible.
Day 3 is done, but whatever you decide to do with the things you don't want, take action as quickly as possible so the items don't end up creeping back in to your wardrobe!
Day 4: Sort everything else
Today is the day to tackle all the other things that you own that go to make an outfit.
Step 1: Go through your shoes, coats, underwear, nightwear, sportswear, jewellery, scarves, bags, and belts. Sort them and decide what to keep and what can go. If you want to put anything in the Winter bags (for example, your warm scarves), add them in now. If you decide to get rid of something, add it to your piles you created yesterday.
Step 2: Organise the things you want to keep. Remember that if you can see it you’re more likely to wear it, so think about where you can put your accessories. Moving a few necklaces to a dressing table or adding a cork board to the inside of your wardrobe door to display some of your favourite necklaces can mean they are so much more likely to be used. Consider hanging up some scarves or moving your handbags to a place where you are more likely to see them and use them can help make more use of these accessories.
Day 5: Create some outfits and write a list
Now you have a beautifully organised wardrobe, where everything in it is something you can wear now and for the coming season. Great! Give yourself a pat on the back for all your hard work. Today we are going to use your clothes to make some new and exciting outfits.
Step 1: Create a few outfits. You can lay a few things out on the bed and photograph outfits you like, try them on and take selfies, or use your app to put a few outfit options together. Start with a skirt or a pair of trousers and see how many different combinations you can make. Add in a necklace or a scarf, decide on the shoes and build a look book of outfits you can go to when time is short in the mornings. You could print off the photos and stick them to the inside of your wardrobe door for an instant visual reminder of outfits you like when you’re getting dressed. It will save you hours deciding what to wear and it will help flex that creative wardrobe muscle coming up with a few new ideas.
Step 2: Write a wish list. As you’re creating outfits, you might also realise there are a few gaps – clothes needed for the coming season to make your wardrobe work. A pair of summer sandals in a good neutral colour, or a few bright tops perhaps. Whatever it is for you, jot it down as that will form the basis of your shopping for the coming season. By sticking to a list, you’ll only be buying what you need, which saves you time, money and energy and is a much more sustainable way to run your wardrobe.
Your five day plan is complete! You should now have a wonderful organised wardrobe that is ready for the coming season, and where you have a few outfits up your sleeve for days when you are in a rush. In September, you can do the process again to get set up for the Autumn/ Winter. Keeping your wardrobe fresh and fluid in this way stops you getting bored of your clothes, helps you feel more organised and creative, keeps you in touch with your style, and saves you time and money when shopping.
If you’ve enjoyed this process and want to take it to the next level, our wardrobe revival seasonal style package is the perfect next step. Working with me online or in person, together we will sort and organise your wardrobe, create your style board for the coming season, come up with some new outfits and I will help you shop for the missing items in your wardrobe.
If you’d like to follow along with the live video for this five day series, you’d be very welcome to join us in our FREE Facebook group. And if you decide to try the plan, let us know how you get on and share your results with us in the comments below!
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