How To Spring Clean Your Wardrobe

The Annual Ritual Of Pressing Reset

By Juliette Olah
March 26, 2021

There must be some people out there who like their wardrobes. You know, people who wake up and leisurely select several nicely folded items that all work together effortlessly, and then go about their day feeling pretty damn smug. However, there’s no way I’m going to pretend to be one of those people.

My wardrobe is usually a chaotic sort of multicolored nightmare that would make an acid trip feel calm. Yet this hasn’t consistently been the case. I can recall a few times in my life where I haven’t cowered in fear at the thought of opening the cupboard door. What was I doing at those times versus others that made things more manageable? Well, I’m about to share them with you. While I may fall off the wagon at times, I definitely know how things should be done, and have felt first-hand the incredible flow-on effects of getting wardrobe woes sorted. Let’s begin.

Define Your Style

Before you even so much as glare at your cupboard let’s start with some time-out. I don’t personally believe in hard and fast rules when it comes to judging one’s wardrobe, such as the common “if you haven’t worn it in a year get rid of it” mantra. I have incredible vintage gowns that I love pulling out for weddings and special occasions but I can assure you they don’t always get worn every year. Instead, I prefer to really think about how I’ve changed over the past year (or few years) and assess items based on how they fit with my personality now.

Spring Clean Your Wardrobe

I start by working out what style I’m aiming for and what represents how I want to dress today. Go nuts using Pinterest, looking through magazines, or even talking to friends about how they would sum up your style. I like to actually write down a few words, which could be colors I love, new trends I think would work on me, or people past and present who inspire me.

Get Real About Your Lifestyle

Now that you know which way your taste slants you need to understand how to integrate it into your current lifestyle. Stay with me here—so if you have a super feminine style, for example, and adore bright prints and colors, but you spend the majority of your time working at a conservative law firm, how can you appropriate this to make it work for your everyday?

make sure items actually serve you and play a role in your apparel ecosystem

While it’s OK to have low-rotation items in the mix, the majority of your wardrobe should be high-rotation, wear-it-all-the-time items, and this is where many of us slip up. Having endless fitness wear when you don’t exercise, rows of high heels when you wear flats every day, or twelve formal tailored jackets when you’ve worked in a casual office for three years, would all fall into this category.

wardrobe sorting cropped

Be honest about clothes (not easy, I know), there’s room to have fun, but you should always make sure items actually serve you and play a role in your apparel ecosystem. Oh, and for those who need their print and color fix in the uptight office, scarves, shoes, and accessories will always help you inject personality into a suit combo (which, by the way, can also be super chic).

Assess Pros and Cons

Armed with a clear path of where you’re headed style-wise, it’s time to confront the cupboard. Don’t make any sudden movements (yet), just stand back and look. Is there any type of order or system in place? Do you have socks tangled in bras, or is it quite organized but just lacking freshness? Take a moment to notice where you’ve naturally put things as well. Now take everything out. Yes, it’s annoying (and a bit scary), but it’s important.

With your style and lifestyle in mind you need to bring on the judgment. As soon as I decide to keep something I like to put it neatly back in the cupboard. I also place items to give away in a pile and items that need to be thrown out in a separate pile. If you’re less confident, you can have a ‘maybe’ pile, however the problem lies in what to do with this pile once you’re done. You want this process to be dealt with quickly, and so having piles of clothes you’re unsure about lying around will usually mean they end up back in the cupboard. Not good.

Spring Clean Your Wardrobe

One method you can use is to place any ‘maybe’ items in a garbage bag and put them out of sight somewhere—say in a garage, under the bed or in the back of the wardrobe. Whatever is left in the bag after three months that you haven’t felt the need to retrieve, must be given away. No peeking, and definitely no putting things back!

Change for the Better

Once you do the purge you will, of course, feel like you just single-handedly conquered the universe. To hang on to these vibes you need to consider everything you bring into your wardrobe super carefully. No impulse sale buys, only thoughtful shopping will help you maintain order and control over what can become a beast of a thing.

If you keep your style and lifestyle front of mind every time you set foot in a store, you’ll be well on your way to joining the smug club of those who never have a wardrobe care in the world.


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