If your wardrobe has been flagging after a busy summer of use or if you haven’t had a good clear out in a while, now is the perfect time as the seasons gently shift to autumn.
Recently I ran a week-long series of live videos in our Free Facebook group designed to help revive flagging wardrobes after the summer and to set them up ready for greatness during the autumn/ winter season, and in this blog I’ll take you through the five day plan step by step.
Sometimes tackling our wardrobes can seem daunting, especially if we haven’t done it in a while, but following my five day plan means we can break the task down into shorter daily steps. I always recommend doing this process twice a year (Spring and Autumn) to keep on top of your wardrobe and to stop getting bored of your clothes, but also to hone and refine your sense of style on a regular basis.
This is supposed to be a fun and creative process rather than feel like a chore, so get the music on, get the tea brewing and break it down to one task a day for the next week.
Before you start the revival plan you might want to make sure you have the following handy: Notebook and pen, bin bags, storage bags, spare hangers. We also recommend the FREE app, Save Your Wardrobe (available on the app store for Apple and available to pre-order on android)
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 will save time and space by taking out all your summer clothing and things you don’t wear often. Start by removing all your summer 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 the bags under the bed.
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 Spring, 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 summer maxi dress in October than in May. 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.
For other items you don’t wear often (like ball gowns 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.
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 Spring.
Day 2: Try On Your Clothes
What’s left in the wardrobe? Do you have other clothes that are wearable this coming season – check all over the house! If you’ve been following this process for a while, you’ll have stored away your autumn/ winter clothing at the start of the Spring, so get all that out too. Lay all these autumn/ winter clothes out on the bed by type (so a pile of trousers, a pile of skirts etc). Try everything on and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. 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 keeps back in the wardrobe, pile up the things you’re getting rid of and the things that need some attention to be wearable.
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 app. Save your wardrobe has a brilliant photo editing tool which allows you to remove the background of each image.
Knitwear doesn’t enjoy being hung as it can bubble 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 things you don’t want, so get the pile on the bed and sort it out according to what you want to do with it. There might be some things you can sell off on apps like Vinted or on eBay or your local dress agency. There might be some things you want to donate to a charity shop or good cause project you support. There might be some things you wouldn’t consider worthy of donation, but 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.
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.
You might also have a pile that needs launder/ repair. 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 4: Sort everything else
Today is the day to tackle all the other things that you own that go to make an outfit. These items are not always stored together, so take the time to go through your shoes, coats, underwear, nightwear, sportswear, jewellery and scarves, bags, belts etc. These are your most private spaces, so take some time to have a good clear out as they’re often areas we forget to address. A nicely organised underwear drawer helps you feel good every single morning when you get dressed, so taking the time to sort it and arrange it now will pay dividend in the months to come. If you decide to get rid of something, add it to your piles you created yesterday.
I believe that if you can see it you’re more likely to wear it, so think about that as you’re sorting these things out. 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.
You can lay a few things out on the bed and photograph outfits you like or use your app to put a few outfit reminders 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.
As you’re doing this, you might also realise there are a few gaps – clothes needed for the coming season to make your wardrobe work. A pair of brown boots, a green jumper or a few new 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.
By following this five-step plan, 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 Spring, you can do the process again to get set up for the Spring/ Summer. 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, together we will 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 see the original videos for this five-step 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 group!
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