Spring is here and that means its time to cleanse your closet

Courtesy of Ikea

SEPTEMBER marks a change of season. Women everywhere will be going through the motions: our sisters in northern hemisphere will be squirrelling away summer clothes while getting ready for fall and winter. Erstwhile, we in the southern climes will be packing away our winter warmers and sprucing up for summer.  

The seasonal change is also a great opportunity to discard the unworn (buying mistakes), the unloved (out-of-date) or just plain unwearable (they no longer fit, faded or worn out). But if you’re having separation anxieties, remember if a garment makes you look dumpy, frumpy or ordinary, it doesn’t deserve the wardrobe space.

We cling to certain things for emotional reasons, but the more clothes we have, the more we have to move, organise or store. So its good to cleanse your wardrobe once or twice a year, even if it’s just to create some space.  But before you start, be clear about the clothes you need for the style you want. This way youll end up with a fresher, more versatile and better-edited wardrobe. 

The secret is to get organised. Heres my 10-step plan that will take your wardrobe from disaster to a dream this weekend.

1: Sort
START by organising your wardrobe into two groups – winter and summer. Find a space free of clutter where you can spread out everything.

2: Store
NEXT you need to store the out-of-season clothes. First, make sure all food and beverage stains are thoroughly removed before storing. Effective cleaning discourages moth and silverfish infestations. Second, mend anything that needs fixing. Keep clothing clean and dry in boxes, calico bags or vacuum-packed space bags from Lifespace, Target or eBay, and store with special insect repellant products or cedar balls or blocks to keep those pesky insects at bay. The balls will last for years. Simply re-spray each season with cedar oil.

3: Rationalise
NOW you’re ready to take stock of the clothing that’s left.  Create a yes, no, and maybe pile and start rationalising. If you have the slightest doubt about something, try it on. Experiment with new combinations to see if you can get any extra wear out of them. Then ask yourself: Does it fit? Does it flatter? Is it functional? Is it fabulous? If youre not sure, enlist the help of someone whose opinion you trust – a best girlfriend, sister, daughter or your partner! If any garment fails all four “F” questions, it goes into the “no pile. Some things will make the maybe pile. Once youve finished sorting, look for trends.  What dominates in the “no pile? Items you bought on sale or on impulse? Are there lots of “yes items from the same store? The evidence in front of you should help you make smarter choices in the future.

4: Recycle
BE realistic – purge any trend-driven styles of seasons past and get rid of the clothes in the “no” pile. Take them to your local charity shop, organise a table at your local market, have a garage sale, or, if garments are still relatively new and in good condition, sell on Ebay, take them to a recycle or consignment shop.

5: Refresh
THE clothes in the “maybe pile just might need freshening up with a little clever revamping. Its amazing how a simple change such as changing buttons, altering the length or shape of a favourite skirt, dress or pants, or embellishing the collar or yoke of a favourite top might make. If you arent handy with a needle and thread or dont have a sewing machine, find a good alterations person and make them your new best friend.

6: Rethink
THINK outside the fashion square! The elegant top or skirt you save for special occasions could look just as good during the day or dressed down with jeans. Equally, the pants or skirt of your favourite work suit may create an elegant evening look when worn with a sequinned top, smart evening clutch and sexy heels. Let your creative juices flow! Refer to magazines for inspiration. You might be amazed at how you can wear things in different ways.

7: Reposition
WITH your newly sorted wardrobe, now all you have to do is hang your clothes according to type. For example, hang your shirts together, dresses together, eveningwear together, and jacket and suits together. Or hang everything according to colour – lights through to darks. Personally, I prefer to keep garments in their type categories. Not only will that make for easier selection and viewing, but youll know exactly where everything is.

8: Replace
BANISH mismatching and wire hangers forever. Instead use wooden hangers and satin-covered, padded hangers for delicate fabrics. Look for a selection of suit hangers, hangers with notches, non-slip hangers, and pant and skirt hangers with clips from My CoathangersHowards Storage WorldIkea and Shop for Shops

9: Rearrange
DIVIDE and conquer your smalls and accessories. A selection of coordinating organisers and containers are perfect for storing smalls – underwear, socks, hosiery and scarves – and accessories. Look for special dividers or separators for drawers and shelves at Ikea, Lifespace or My Storage Shop. Ever loose your jumble of necklaces and earrings in the vortex of accessories hell? Consider putting them in a see-through acrylic chest, on stackable trays, or on those special hanging “trees” for necklaces. Alternatively, convert drawers into jewellery boxes with clever inserts from Organize It

10: Refocus
A CAREFULLY curated and beautifully displayed wardrobe is what every woman needs – and dreams of! Throwing out clothes is never easy although it can be a strangely liberating experience. Reducing your choices will provide you with a better edited and more functional wardrobe.  So now with your seasonly adjusted wardrobe, you can refocus on more important issues such as the clothes you really need for the style you really want!

Now its time to to go shopping … but before you do, plan your new season wardrobe and read my 10 rules of retail therapy

Now that youve re-organised your clothes, its important you have the essential equipment in your wardrobe to complete the experience.

Heres what every woman needs in her dressing room or bedroom: 
  1. Good light
  2. Full-length mirror
  3. Foldaway step stool to reach top shelves
  4. The right hangers 
  5. A selection of boxes, baskets and containers for smalls and accessories 
  6. Plenty of drawers and shelf space for folded garments
  7. Plenty of space for shoes. Consider storing shoes in their original boxes or special clear shoe boxes such as these from Pink Lily or these from eBay
  8. Basket or laundry tidy for dirty clothes

And if you want further inspiration, go to my Dream Closets board on Pinterest

Ever stylishly yours 

Do you need help to rationalise your wardrobe? Not sure what to keep or throw out? 
Got any tips or hints for cleansing your closet? Would love to hear from you.

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