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If you have culled your wardrobe - what's your secret?

(47 Posts)
PontypineNumber9 Tue 15-Dec-15 07:43:10

How did you decide what to chuck?
I've just gone through my clothes and have a couple of bags to go to the charity shop (maybe 2% of my wardrobe). But I really should get rid of more like 50%. If you've done this how did you decide what to get rid of?
My life (and body) has changed dramatically over the last few years - I've gone from full time city worker to part time casual job and mum of 2. So I can't use the "haven't worn in a year rule" as I've been pregnant or breastfeeding for most of the last 4 years. I'm now back to my usual size so most things fit (those that still don't should do in a few months - fingers crossed).
I live in jeans and shirts but can't bear to get rid of my expensive clothes which fit and are in great condition. But I have so much stuff I don't even know what I've got!

PontypineNumber9 Tue 15-Dec-15 07:44:23

Also - how can I stop buying more of what I already have (who needs 5 grey sweatshirts?) and put into practice buy less, but better? I need to break the shopping habit!

homebythesea Tue 15-Dec-15 07:53:56

I religiously do the "have I worn it this year" test when I do the winter/summer changeover. The only exception is evening wear which may not get worn quite so much these days but is classic and worth holding on to.

I think you just have to be realistic about your lifestyle and only keep those things that fit the way you live now. Holding on to things just because they were expensive when you first bought them is silly- why not sell them to raise funds for clothes that suit you better now?

The other thing I have done more gradually over the last few years is limit my wardrobe to a few colours, and thinking more about whole outfits rather than individual items. So my current winter wardrobe is black, grey and navy in the main (punctuated by lighter tops, some more colourful scarves and accessories) which means that creating outfits is easier. Maybe you could set aside some time to really go through everything and create outfits and see what is left over to help you see what you can happily chuck out/sell?

I remember that transition from city suits to a more home based wardrobe - it's not easy is it and does affect the sense of identity a bit so I totally get your reluctance to separate yourself from the "old" wardrobe!

PontypineNumber9 Tue 15-Dec-15 08:28:09

That's all such good advice - thank you. The hard part is putting it into action! But I know you are right - I am holding on to things which have no part in my life right now. I'm going to try to find time to go through it again and keep only the things I really love and will actually wear. Put like that it sounds so easy but I find it hard to be ruthless, especially when some things I've only worn a handful of times.

homebythesea Tue 15-Dec-15 09:10:36

You can change those things you've only worn a few times into things that will give you pleasure many many times because you will actually wear them! No point in having stuff you just look at! In the same vein I got rid of all our posh bone china we got as wedding presents because we never used it- used the money raised to buy some gorgeous Le Creuset which gets used constantly!

jamtartandcustard Tue 15-Dec-15 15:37:51

I try the clothes on and look in the mirror. If I smile, think wow I look great and I feel great then I keep it. If it's nice, alright, Ok, but....... Then I chuck. And usually "love" outfits turn into "okay" outfits at which point it's time for something new.
Also, having a large family I do a load of washing everyday so I personally work on a 4 item rule - 4 long sleeve tops, 4 short sleeve, 4 vests, 4 jumpers, 4 trousers, 4 shorts etc.
Maybe with the work clothes put them in one of those vacuum storage bags and put them in the loft so they are there if you do return to city life but not taking up space in the wardrobe?

PurpleWithRed Tue 15-Dec-15 15:42:45

Allow yourself to keep a few treasures in a special treasure box - things you know in your heart you won't wear but are full of memories. Then you end up with three heaps: currently wearable, treasure and Other. Other = charity.

When my sister died her fab work clothes went to a charity that provided interview outfits for the disadvantaged - it was in NZ but there must be a version over here somewhere.

PurpleWithRed Tue 15-Dec-15 15:44:04

It's called Dress for Success

ItchyArmpits Tue 15-Dec-15 15:52:34

Marie Kondo (wrote 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying') says when culling your wardrobe you should pick up the item of clothing and ask yourself "Does this make me happy?" If not, out it goes.

Amazingly effective for getting rid of about 80% of your wardrobe.

After you've done that, adopt a "one in, one out" policy. So you can buy five grey sweatshirts if they will make you happy, but you must get rid of five other items...

metimeisforwimps Tue 15-Dec-15 15:53:38

I found the Marie Kondo method very good fr reducing my wardrobe. You hold eacthing and ask if it brings you joy. It made me realise that I was keeping things that were lovely but a burden to me. I now have only things I wear. Or know I love wearing even though I don't often get a chance. When you have less its easier to be more focused in your shopping, and I alsso find setting a monthly limit helps me to be more discerning!

ItchyArmpits Tue 15-Dec-15 15:56:10

If you're going to be a SAHM for the foreseeable then I would advise getting rid of most of your old work clothes - the chances are that in a few more years' time you really won't want to be wearing things that are 7 or 8 years old. (Yeah, I know, if it's a lovely black cashmere v-neck then it probably won't date, but things like dresses will).

louloubelle2 Tue 15-Dec-15 16:12:10

Here are some things lifted from my posts on the "buy nothing for a year" thread which seemed to go down well with some and some more thoughts:

- you can only wear one item of each clothing type at a time.
- there are only so many weeks in a season before the weather changes and you won't be able to wear them anymore e.g. jumpers or boots.
- think about your lifestyle RIGHT NOW and what you realistically need to wear for the activities you ACTUALLY do. Not might do, or used to do, or wish you did. What will you be up to in the next 7 days?
- If you have any interest in fashion, or wearing nice (whatever that means to you) clothes, then there is no such thing as a classic or capsule wardrobe that you will complete, and never need to buy a thing again.
-on a related note, the shops will never run out of clothes you will love. There is no need to stockpile or keep things for just in case (maybe certain evening wear or for a particular activity like a sport excluded) because when the time comes to wear it, you won't want to and there will be something you can buy that will be more or just as suitable. This related especially to work wear from before you had children. Believe me, you won't want to wear your old stuff when the time comes.

I learnt from bitter experience. I had a wardrobe full of stuff that didn't suit my lifestyle. I am not the girl from the WITblog. I don't have that kind of budget. I don't have a creative job in the city, or a need to dress up to go to my friends houses for dinner. I don't go to pubs where I couldn't wear the same clothes as I wear in the day. I don't need to dress up to go anywhere where I live in fact. In reality, I work from home, do a lot of sport, walk the dogs and watch a lot of weekend football and rugby. My pub visits and dinners out or with friends are casual and about the company and food not what shoes I wear.

Petal02 Tue 15-Dec-15 16:56:33

My culling rules are:

1. Any item that hasn't been worn for a year has to go

2. Any item that I don't feel good in has to go. My definition of 'feeling good in ' is: (a) I would be happy to wear this item to an important work meeting; (b) I would need to feel confident in this item if I went to the pub after work or in lunch hour; (c) I would need to feel good about myself in this item if I ran into my ex-husband. I don't want him back (god forbid) but he needs to remember the mistake he made in letting me go .....

timelytess Tue 15-Dec-15 17:10:31

I've done it and guided others, who were very pleased with the outcomes.

1 Anything that doesn't fit now must go.
2 Anything that doesn't have 'something to wear with it' - odd skirts, trousers, tops, must go.
3 Anything kept for sentimental reasons must go. More about 'must go' in a moment.
4 Anything that isn't comfortable or that you don't feel your best in, must go.
5 Review what is left. It should be comfortable clothes you feel attractive in.
6 Organise your wardrobe into outfits - put the tops with the trousers etc
7 Look and learn. This is your style. Stick to this when buying.
8 Make a list of anything you need - don't buy anything else.
9 Now do underwear and shoes - start by throwing away anything shabby or unflattering, no matter how comfortable.
10 You should now have a small but useful wardrobe.

Must go:
Bin if its worn out
Charity shop if its useful
Cleaned, boxed, put away if its sentimental.
Sell if you think you'll get anything for it. But do not put it back in your wardrobe in the meantime.
If you have too many of a certain garment (I noticed I have three identical denim shirts - bad move) clean, fold and store the spares (away from your wardrobe) until the current item is worn out.
Keep it simple, keep it 'clean'.

[Now I confess to having 76, yes, 76 pairs of black trousers. But they are now stored and I won't be buying any more until they're all used up.]

MarkRuffaloCrumble Tue 15-Dec-15 17:29:14

Like metime I used Marie Kondo's method. I got rid of 4 bin bags full of clothes, not by asking what I should get rid of, but by deciding what to keep.

You ask yourself if you really love it and it brings you joy. The hardest part is not feeling guilty when you let something go - you're supposed to thank it for its service, whether that has been keeping you warm for a few months, many years of joy (before it went all bobbly) or even just teaching you that a certain colour or style doesn't suit you.

She also recommends not doing hand-me-downs as you end up with lots of things you didn't even choose in the first place. My dds wardrobe is full of t shirts and jumpers that ds gives her, which are too nice to get rid of but actually not really 'her'. Because she has a wardrobe full of stuff she can't see what she really has, as its so stuffed.

metimeisforwimps Tue 15-Dec-15 19:58:51

oh yes mark. That's another thing I liked about the Kondo method, I sort of brought to mind how I'd benefitted from an item, realised that time was over and thought about someone else using it.

PontypineNumber9 Tue 15-Dec-15 20:09:52

Thank you all so much - I'm feeling totally inspired! So much sensible advice but I think the two most important things I've got from here are:
1. You can only wear item of each clothing type at a time so don't need a massive wardrobe.
2. The question to ask is what do I love enough to keep, not what should I get rid of.

I have a small selection of shoes/boots, bags and jewellery that I've built up over time. They are great quality and I truly love them - don't know why I've been so different with clothes and amassed so many average ones.

FrustratedFrugal Tue 15-Dec-15 20:15:10

I kondoed my wardrobes this summer. I still have too much stuff (it is difficult to lrt go of expensive mistakes), but now much more of it is getting worn regularly. I'm back to office work now after 5-6 SAHM/ working from home years as a SAHM, but I am wearing very few of my pre-DC office outfits although they still fit. Fashions have changed, although I am much higher in the hierarchy now, work clothes are much less formal these days. I have two pairs of heels in my office but haven't really worn them this year. Anything I don't feel great in, anything that doesn't fit right, anything that is fiddly on should go. Actually I might do another clearout sometime over the Christmas break.

Destinysdaughter Tue 15-Dec-15 20:35:10

My problem with chucking things out is that I find it hard enough to find things that suit me ( big bust, apple shape ) that all the stuff I've got was hard to source initially so I feel v reluctant to just chuck them out as they won't be easy to replace.

I've put on weight the last few years so a lot of my clothes I can't wear or don't look that great but I know if I lost a stone I'd definitely wear them again!

Katsite Tue 15-Dec-15 20:39:00

Better to get rid of things after a year than still having it 5 or ten years on and then realising that something you thought was classic has nevertheless gone out of style and you will not even get anything for it anymore.

IcecreamBus Tue 15-Dec-15 20:44:54

If I haven't worn or fitted into it for over a year, it gets chucked. No exceptions.

RomComPhooey Tue 15-Dec-15 20:45:28

I live in jeans and shirts but can't bear to get rid of my expensive clothes which fit and are in great condition.

If they are classic items, rather than high fashion, I'd be inclined to store them. I'm finding it really hard to find decent basic workwear in high quality natural fibre fabrics lately - even in higher end stores, everything seems to be polyester and acrylic shite that makes me sweat, bobbles or loses its shape. I am regretting letting some of the wool skirts and decent knitwear I had go to charity shops to free up space in my wardrobe. sad

QueenC Tue 15-Dec-15 21:17:35

I tend to go through my wardobe twice a year when I put away the summer or winter items. Anything that hasn't really been worn or that is past its best gets chucked/sold/given to charity.

When buying new stuff only try and buy what you love and what makes you happy. I try not to buy multiple items although I do own a few navy tops but they are all slightly different and I reach for them at different times eg one may have long sleeves, another 3/4 length sleeves etc. Are your 5 grey sweatshirts the same? Do you always choose one over another?

With regards to your expensive stuff can any of it be dressed down to wear now? You may be able to wear a jacket or work top with jeans? I'm trying to not save expensive stuff for best but that's easier now my dc are school age so less likely to get covered in snot/food. If you're planning on returning to work then keep the work stuff but store it away somewhere and then make decisions about it at that point. If you're not returning then see if you have a local shop that sells second hand designer/expensive stuff and get rid of it all.

Saurus72 Tue 15-Dec-15 22:49:34

I'm part way through reading Marie Kondo and am finding it almost revolutionary. Like a PP said, it is about literally holding every item and asking 'does this spark joy?' - if not, out it goes. I think her perspective on the things you have bought but have barely worn (and don't envisage wearing in the future) is that these items have served their purpose, either by being worn already or by showing to you that these items don't suit you/your lifestyle and that you shouldn't buy things like this in the future.

Honestly OP, it may be worth reading this book. It's an easy read and could really help your mindset - it made absolute sense to me and can be very freeing in adjusting thinking.

PennyPants Tue 15-Dec-15 22:55:45

I have regular culls probably 3+ times a year.
I have about half a dozen outfits I only wear for going out. It keeps them nicer than if I try to make them work for everyday wear and I still get my wear out of them, as I go out loads.
I have a work capsule.
I only buy things I love and mostly what I need to replace.
I get rid of tatty stuff asap- life is too short.
I would rather spend £££ on half a dozen things I really like than a ton of mediocre items, so I try to plan what to buy and avoid hobby shopping.
I don't store anything, a lot of it can be worn across the year apart from obvious stuff like winter coats.

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