13 wardrobe editing tips

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 60 Comments

Do you know how good it feels to walk into my wardrobe right now?

Very damn good.

The day I’d earmarked in my currently busy schedule to do my bi-annual wardrobe edit, I found myself in bed in shock after the glass shower door shattered on me.

It took another three weeks for me to carve out a few hours to do this task but I’m so glad it’s finally done.

I was all in a tither there for a while.

The weather in Queensland had switched to summer mode, yet my wardrobe was a mash up of autumn, winter and spring.

I’d look at it every morning, trying to think of an #everydaystyle outfit and I was (almost) convinced I had nothing to wear. It just took longer to find a garment – or to be inspired by a garment.

Now it’s a different story. I’m ready for the season ahead and I hope today’s post and 13 wardrobe editing tips inspire you to get stuck in and do the same in your wardrobe space.

13 Wardrobe Editing tips

1. Allocate at least two hours. This is not a job to do in bits and pieces. You need to apply a wholesale approach to the task at hand.

2. Take everything out of your wardrobe space. Yep, everything. I find the bed is a good dumping ground for this but I just don’t do a dump and one massive pile. I’ll create several piles on the bed so I can systematically work through what’s going back in and what’s not.

3. Go through each item piece by piece. Don’t dwell too long on each piece but do check in with yourself and try and work out when the last time was you wore it; did it make you feel good; is it still in good condition? If it passes those tests, it stays and is allowed back in.

13 wardrobe tips

4. Create a throw out pile. The throw-out pile is for those items that are stained or can’t be repaired. Please don’t send these to a charity to create extra work for the volunteers.

5. Create a charity pile. The charity pile is for clothes in good condition that just maybe aren’t right for you any more. Think about which charity you plan to gift your clothes to. All mine now go to Dress for Success Brisbane.

6. Create an eBay or Gumtree pile. Maybe you’re a gun at re-selling on eBay or Gumtree. Put any items aside (new with tags or designer pieces) and you might just get enough return for your spring-summer shopping spree.

7.  Invest in new hangers if you need them. The last time I showed my wardrobe I was told by more than one person that I needed to invest in some thin flocked hangers. I did what I was told and they were right … so much more space in there now. It’s like I don’t own ANY clothes. I bought packs of 20 from Howards Storage World – a combination of these and these. I ran out but will be buying more soon next time I drive past. I also had some Pinklily hangers that also save on space in the wardrobe. I’ve given Mr SY all my fancy timber hangers that look fabulous but don’t give me the space that the flocked ones do.

Howards Storage World flocked hangers

8. When putting items back in your wardrobe, put the items that you most wear on a day-to-day basis front and centre. These are the high-use items that you just want to be able to see and grab at a moment’s notice.

9. If you are able to and have space, put the opposite season clothes in another wardrobe. My winter clothes are now in a wardrobe in my office. This is also where I keep my shoes. You might have missed the Lady Room unveiling earlier this year on the blog.

10. Colour code each section of your wardrobe to suit your organisation. For example, I group all my tees and tops together but you’ll find all the white ones and black ones hanging side by side. This not only shows me that I do not need to buy any more from the black and white tee and top department but it means I can grab a good basic quickly and easily in the morning rush.

13 wardrobe editing tips

11. If wardrobe editing is not your thing, phone a friend. Better still, get that friend over to help you decide what stays and what goes. So often our emotions are tied up in our clothes – good and bad. I want you to have only good emotions in regards to what’s in your wardrobe – that means ditching anything that makes you feel less that fabulous. A true friend will give you permission to do that.

12. As you’re putting things back in your wardrobe, start making a list of any things you might need. If there are any gaps, these will become evident once you’ve done your edit. Most gaps will be wardrobe basics – jeans, shorts, pants, dresses, shoes in neutral colours that form the building blocks of a wardrobe that works.

13. Go shopping with that list of gaps. You don’t have to complete it all in one day or one month. Hold on to that list in your handbag – or on your phone – and reach for it each time you’re out shopping and tempted by something sparkly and pretty winking at you from the shop window. The list will bring you back to focus on the gaps. Fill them first and then I’ll let you buy all the sparkles in the world.

Over to you, have you done your post-winter wardrobe edit? What tips do you have to share?

  • kelbel61

    I tackled this job on the weekend. It took me 2 hours and 2 full garbage bags of clothes and shoes to Vinnies. Thanks for the tips also. Now to write that list…

  • Monica

    Very good tips! I need to rearrange my wardrobe! It is such a mess there! Thanks!

    http://manwithvanrichmond.org.uk/

  • Judy

    Lovely tips! Thanks! our website

  • Mishelle Diaz

    Great tips! I definitely need to “edit”! Thanks!Mishelle

  • Melissa Preston

    These are some great tips! It is really good idea to leave the clothes that I wear the most on a more front, easy to access place! I always put all the clothes together and push them in my closet and after that I have to make a big mess to take the blouse I wear very often! Thanks! I really appreciate your wonderful post! <3 M.Preston

  • Its like you knew I was ‘tackling’ this at the weekend, so much crap that needs to go. So many crappy hangers that need to be replaced. That flocked hanger idea is genius, thats half my problem, flimsy hangers that break and things fall off. Found a great 50 pack deal at Spotlight too for $50 and some good deals on Ebay

    • Thanks for sharing that hot tip! And I bet it feels good in your wardrobe right now!!

  • Anne

    I read a tip recently that suggested turning hangers around in the wardrobe so that the hooks facing the opposite way to how you normally have them, as you wear items and put them back in the wardrobe with the hook facing the normal way. Assess in 3 months or 6 months time and see how many hooks are facing the wrong way meaning that item hasn’t been out of the wardrobe! Quite amazing how few items you actually do wear!!!

    • I’ve heard that too Anne … it’s a great way to approach this if you’re not good at remembering what you’ve worn and loved!

  • Kaitlyn

    I’ve silently followed your blog. Finally found the heart to share and let you know how well you write. I’ve cleaned up my closet too. Many went to trash, for give away, and recycle. I just decided to buy new line from SATCH. They are at all time low sale of 60% less! Saw this http://www.satch.com.au/sale/ and I immediately fell in love with their collection! Now how do I maintain neat closet??? haha

    • Ah, Kaitlyn. Thanks for your lovely words and well done! The tidy closet bit? I usually take a little time each week to make sure things are in place but I’m human, it does get messy!

  • Brooke

    It’s not entirely bad to send the ‘rag’ clothes to charity shops, they tear them up and sell rag bags to businesses, but maybe don’t bundle them with the other stuff, just put a pile of ‘rags’ in a bag together and mark that they are rags to save the volunteers from sorting it 🙂

    • Yes, definitely if it’s labelled that way it won’t waste volunteers’ time Brooke!

  • Mish Young

    I moved to Brisbane 15 weeks ago but I have only just finished my own wardrobe edit about a week ago. I actually achieved mine over a period of three weeks; mainly because I was so busy but also because I was wearing to work anything in my wardrobe that I wasn’t sure if I would keep. I’ve lost 7-8kg since the beginning of 2013, which is an achievement for a thyroidy girl! Consequently, lots of my clothes don’t sit right anymore & some I knew were too big but others that I really liked & wanted to keep, I just had to wear one more time – I put my cardigan & belt wardrobe through it’s paces for those three weeks! Now I can see all of my clothes more clearly & easily & getting dressed is much easier. Now for my next big job which is my vintage mending pile!

    • Well done Mish! I totally know that those 7-8kg did not come off easily. And yes, they warrant a wardrobe edit!

  • Chloe

    Nikki, I’m about to embark on a mammoth wardrobe clean, not only because it needs it, but also because I’m pregnant. Part of me feels like getting rid of everything because it seems like it will be an age before I need anything tailored again. Do you have any tips for a mum to be?

  • Definitely phone a friend.
    While I am getting better, I still need moral support when going through my closet.
    It is so helpful to have someone around who is more honest and objective than the voices in my head!

  • I’ve been doing mine steadily as the weather changes. I wish I could do it in one go, but in Melbs, the weather goes from winter to summer in a matter of hours so I generally need a mix of both until mid November. I do house my opposite season clothes in another wardrobe/s too. Thanks for these great tips Nikki. x

    • It’s a whole different challenge for you – the high season winter stuff can go out though – you just need space for the layering pieces! I have those there in my wardrobe too – mostly because of travel – jackets and jeans.

  • I spent about half a day going through my wardrobe a couple of weeks ago. I was ruthless – I had to be – and I’m so glad I did. I can now see everything I own and everything I don’t. A brilliant guide, Nikki. x

  • Amy

    Do you hang all tshirts? I worry about them stretching. Will the flocked hangers solve this problem? Thanks

    • I don’t have a problem with the t-shirts stretching Amy – with these hangers or previous ones. Maybe it’s the t-shirts?

      • Amy

        I have never tried it. Will give it a go. Thanks.

  • murphy scanlon

    Oh, if only it were this easy! The perils of living in Melbourne include the need for a multi-seasonal wardrobe, because you just never know! I’m definitely going to be doing an edit though! Need to cull some of those “Oh I’ll wear it someday” pieces and make room for things I want to wear every day!

    • I hear you! Your wardrobe needs to reflect your environment – so make sure you always have those layering pieces on hand for the cooler days.

  • Such great tips, Nikki. I just had to do a size edit too 🙁 But, you’re very right that you should only have clothes in your wardrobe that make you feel good, so it had to be done. Nothing ruins the start of your day like that I’ve-nothing-to-wear-feeling!

  • PrincessEatsPeaSoup

    I did mine a couple of weeks ago but I still like to read your tips and think about how I could improve. I was bragging about it on facebook and a friend who used to work in fashion asked me for tips on how to edit her whole wardrobe down to one suitcase for a years work in Amsterdam. I sent her here to look at your posts for Unlock Your Style wardrobe basics. Although honestly, I don’t think I could reduce my own wardrobe down to one suitcase.

    • Oh that would be a challenge for me!!

    • I would suggest she looks at Project 333. It’s where you have 33 items in your wardrobe for 3 months. People use it for travelling too 🙂

      • PrincessEatsPeaSoup

        Thanks Steph. That’s a great tip for me to pass on to my friend.

  • Anna

    did my wardrobe edit a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t know about flocked hangers. this has opened up a whole new world, will be stocking up this week.

  • Annie

    My wardrobe edit was done and dusted several weeks ago and it’s a great feeling. I’m a flocked hanger fan after discovering them five years ago in the hundred yen stores in Japan and haven’t looked back. In Aus I stock up at Big W (cheap as chips and fab)

  • I love a good wardrobe declutter and I’m so pleased to read I’m not the only one who endorses colour coding each section! Love the look of those hangers too. Off to check them out now x

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Yes I have done mine and now I have 2 wardrobes it makes it much easier . I have maxi dresses /jumpsuits in the long hanging area and then shorter dresses,home dresses and good dresses in another section and pants tops and jackets in another and it makes it so much easier to get dressed in the morning now I can see everything,great tips Nikki xx

  • Jenni from Styling Curvy

    Best hangers EVER, I use them too. Turn the hangers around and when you wear and replace item in your wardrobe turn the hanger the opposite way that way you know what’s not getting worn.

  • chrisatpb

    Good tips Nikki. I did mine a couple of weeks ago and pretty much followed all your rules. I did have another pile- those clothes I love which need altering to make them perfect. They are with the seamstress right now. Rotated my summer clothes and shoes for easy access. I also washed all my woollens and cashmere and packed away safe from moths for the summer and cleaned and polished all my boots. Felt very vtuous after all that! x

  • Johanne Taylor

    Great tips, Nikki.

    I would also suggest that when you’re in the right frame of mind and before it gets too hot, you actually try on anything that you haven’t worn since last summer. I have lost a couple of kilos (hurray!), but there are things that still don’t look right. Instead of beating myself up that I need to lose more weight, I think it’s better to accept that these things are just not right for me and let them go to a new home where they have a better chance of happy outings.

  • merliyn

    this is my one stop shop for mrs sy’s organizational lessons!
    THANKYOU NIKKI! … I am a pisces and need all the help I can get hun! …
    I have sort of organized mine! … room for improvement! so might start again! lovely photo of you and the beautiful Kelly! … love m:)X

  • Perfect timing for me too. I’ve been looking at mine thinking it’s time to move the winter goodies out, but then we had two really cold days. I hope there’ll be no more of them because the wardrobe change over is happening either this week or next.

  • Boudoir Bazaar

    Why not consider taking the culled items that are worthy of selling on eBay to a pre-loved clothing market? Boudoir Bazaar fashion market in Brisbane is held indoors every 3 months where dozens of women sell their designer and pre-loved quality clothes, shoes, handbags etc. They make a bit of cash selling their goodies and pick up a bargain at the same time! http://www.boudoirbazaarfashion.com.

  • Chantel

    Perfect timing, have just moved & thrown everything into the new wardrobe, hence finding what to wear is a nightmare.. I just didn’t know where to start.

  • Emily @ The Beetle Shack

    Love seeing a few little Bohemian Traders pieces in there!

  • I try and edit my wardrobe every spring. I have not got around to it just yet, hope to soon and I hope to cull loads of items I no longer wear. V x

  • I really need to do this again soon. Actually, I’m half tempted to throw 90% out and start again.

  • Robyna_theMummyandtheMinx

    I did this a little while ago and my lovely friend did hers at the same time. We ended up being able to swap quite a bit of clothing – which was win/win. Also, if something needs mending do it within the couple of days after the clean out, else it will never get done. Think I might need to get some of those hangers!

    • Merryl

      Great recent find – Big W do a set of 10 skinny “suede feel” hangers for $10.

    • The hangers will make a difference for sure – and being able to swap is the best.

  • You’re a mind reader Nikki. We’ve had lots of warm weather in Sydney too. Not only am I gazing into my wardrobe every day thinking “What on earth did I wear last summer??”, I have to move house in 4 weeks! So a wardrobe cull has been very much on my mind. I’ve also been re-reading your Moving House post from earlier this year too – https://www.stylingyou.com.au/2014/01/moving-house-stress/
    What would I do without you? 😉
    Thanks love x

    • Oh dear Michelle, moving is not fun – the only upside is the forced culling!

  • Kathryn

    This is something I need to do, presently all my warm clothes are still staring at me. It was an absolute stinker of a day on the Sunshine Coast yesterday, was hoping for a storm last night. Such a good idea to donate your unwanted clothes to a women’s charity Nikki. Kathryn 🙂