How to edit your wardrobe

When my wardrobe is de-cluttered and organised, all is well in my world. Ok, so this might be a slight exaggeration but the outfit part of my world goes a whole lot more smoothly when my wardrobe is working for me.

I’ve always had to make do with the space that I’ve got in my wardrobe. One day, I’ll renovate and design a wardrobe based on my needs. One day.

In the meantime, I organise and edit to suit the space I have. And I suggest you do too. 

When I edit my wardrobe, a few things happen:

1. I remember what I actually own. This is HUGE, particularly when transitioning from one fashion season to the next. I love nothing more than being surprised by a favourite garment that I’ve forgotten. 

2. I’m less likely to purchase something which I own multiples of. When my wardrobe is organised, I can clearly see whether I have too many pairs of jeans or white t-shirts. There is no hiding from that.

3. Getting dressed each morning is so much easier when I can see everything that I own. I plan out my week’s outfits in advance. You can too, using this planner.

How to edit your wardrobe | Styling You | Nikki Parkinson

Here are my tips on how to edit your wardrobe:

1. Allocate at least two hours to fully edit your wardrobe. 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.

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 Suited to Success Brisbane. Wherever you live, look for similar organisations, eg Dressed for Success and Fitted for Work. 

6. Create an eBay, Buy Swap and Sell or Gumtree pile. Maybe you’re a gun at re-selling on eBay, Gumtree or on Facebook’s Marketplace. Put any items aside (new with tags or designer pieces) and you might just get enough return for new purchases. If you have designer pieces in demand, there is probably a buy, swap and sell group for that label. 

7.  Invest in new hangers if you need them. My wardrobe life and space has been changed forever by embracing the slimline flocked hanger. Thankfully they’re available almost everywhere now but I bought mine originally at Howards Storage World and most recently at Kmart. In my personal wardrobe, I’m trying to avoid buying MORE hangers. If I run low, I know it’s time to edit and audit, rather than just buy more hangers to add more clothes.

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. I’m fortunate to be able to grab some space for this in my office. My shoes also live in my office/Lady Room.

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.

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 either be wardrobe basics – jeans, shorts, pants, dresses, shoes in neutral colours – or show-pony, trend pieces.

13. Shop mindfully with that list of gaps. You don’t have to complete your “gap” shopping list  in one day or even 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 the gaps first and then I’ll let you buy all the sparkles in the world.

If you’d like to take a look in my wardrobe, head to my Instagram profile and check out the Wardrobe section in my Highlights.