A few weeks ago, I visited Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, at the V&A in London, and let me tell you, it was literally like stepping in to dream (as cliché as it sounds), not just because the dresses on display are other-worldly (they really are), but because you are in the spine-tingling presence of pure beauty and genius. The techniques used are mind-boggling, the colours, mesmerising and the designs, flawless. A truly breathtaking experience.
What struck me most was the realisation that I would wear each and every single thing I saw there, without hesitation. How often does that happen, even during couture season, or more likely, when you hot foot it to your local Zara? I can’t think of the last time I wanted to literally grab it all, and that is no more obvious than when I open my closet. It’s one thing to not like everything in Anthropologie, but it’s another when you don’t like what’s in your closet, because you bought that. *shrieks*
So, it got me thinking. Why is that?! I started to examine my closet, and question my sometimes (ahem, often) poor shopping habits. Why did I buy that? Why haven’t I worn that? Granted, I am not going to buy (or be able to buy) everything or even anything, that I saw at the V&A without some serious lifestyle changes, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t recreate the magic of wanting to wear everything I see when I open my wardrobe. What if everything fit? What if I liked it all? What if I could actually see it all? The answers to these questions were “OMG, yes, that’s what’s been missing in my life!”.
I also realised that if I can actually see what I own, (*shock, horror*) I will be able to get my creative juices flowing and start styling things differently again. It’s no coincidence that I have fallen in to a style rut around the same time that my wardrobe started to get out of control.
An eye opening moment, for sure, and one that made me do some crazy stuff like try things on and chuck stuff out and ask myself what on Earth makes me *add to cart* so damn often. I even calculated the money spent on stuff I have never worn for added shock factor (!)
So, Hina’s Big Closet Clearout began. The aim of the game was this: create a curated closet that (in the words of Marie Kondo) “sparks joy”. Above all, I just want to make it easy to get dressed in the morning, and look stylish, which isn’t really much to ask for.
I would highly recommend doing the same if your wardrobe needs an overhaul, and you want to curb some bad shopping habits.
Here’s what I did in 5 steps to get my closet organised:
- EMPTY, EMPTY, EMPTY
I took everything out, and I mean everything. I put every single thing I own in a huge pile on the floor and took a few moments to let the size of that pile sink in. Looking at the pile/ mountain, I realised I had been holding on to clothes that just weren’t right for me any more; they didn’t fit me, they didn’t fit my lifestyle, and they didn’t make me smile, so they needed to go.
I think I’m quite good at clearing out unwanted stuff, which I do every season, but there’s always room to be more ruthless when it comes to editing your wardrobe.
A quick note: if you haven’t done this for a while, be ready for what’s coming. Take a deep breath, pour a glass of wine and just start going through it. Warning: you will at some point want to throw it all away, or shove it all back in, but stick with the process!
2. SORT EVERYTHING IN TO TYPE (SKIRTS, DRESSES, T SHIRTS, BLOUSES ,JEANS ETC)
I created mini piles around my room and this made it clear what I have loads of (jeans, I’m lookin’ at you) and what I want to wear more of, which I don’t have enough of (hello, versatile dresses).
3. PICK UP EVERY ITEM OF CLOTHING AND ASK:
- Does this fit me, no, does it really fit me?
- Do I feel comfortable in it?
- Is it appropriate for my lifestyle?
- Do I love it?
- Would I buy it right now?
Important questions, and I was ruthless. If it didn’t fit, it was gone. If I wasn’t comfortable wearing it? Gone. If it didn’t fit in to my lifestyle? Gone. If I don’t love it? Gone. Wouldn’t buy it now? Gone. To me, there’s no point in giving anything closet space that doesn’t pass these tests. I’ll admit though,the “love it” thing is slightly more complicated. Black camis, Spanx, socks: these are all essentials, but I can’t love them, so they had to pass another test: are they functional? Do they really do what I need them to do? If no, then bye!
I then had 4 piles: keep, donate, sell, recycle (Zara, H&M and & Other Stories have great schemes)
4. TEST THE “KEEP” PILE
I wanted to be absolutely certain that only the best of what I own was staying, so I decided to ask some more questions of the choices I made for the “keep” pile:
- Will this go with what I already have?
- Can I think of 3 occasions where I can wear this?
- Can I style this differently to get more use out of it?
This extra point of reflection was essential to get my styling creativity going again! A few things ended up going in to the “donate” pile, but most stayed! It’s amazing how much easier it is to think about styling when you look at only the pieces you truly love, mindfully and in the cold light of your bedroom.
5. PUT EVERYTHING BACK IN
Here’s a confession: I cannot wear anything if it’s wrinkled, so everything in my wardrobe has to be wearable on the spot (ie clean and ironed). If you don’t already do this, you should try. It’s a game-changer when you want to get dressed fast.
At this point, I made a pile for the ironing and did that first, for the few things that had become slightly wrinkled.
Once that was over, I hung my jeans, shirts and dresses and put my skirts on clip hangers to keep them straight. I folded knitwear and basic tees, and rolled camis and loungewear so that they all sat neatly in a drawer, making them easy to pull out. Bags were lined up and stuffed to keep the shape and make them easy to see.
I organised by item and then colour to make everything easy to find! I also packed away my winter clothes and accessories in to IKEA storage boxes I put on the top shelf of my wardrobe, to create even more space. Let’s face it, who wants to wade through wool jumpers in July to find a floral maxi?
Now that everything is easy to see, I can wear what I have and plug any gaps with mindful purchases of clothes I love, that pass all of my questions above, and one other:
What will the cost per wear be?
Keeping this in the back of my mind has made it really easy for me to buy less and invest in better pieces overall.
I’ll definitely be talking more about cost per wear/ use and how it’s made me rethink shopping for everything.
If you try this closet overhaul, let me know how it goes!