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Moth Balls And All That

It's that time again....

I know I'm sad, my friends and family tell me so but I can't help the way I am. You see I positively look forward to the quarterly wardrobe declutter. Yep that's about as exciting as it gets! But oh, the sheer joy of walking past the closet and taking a crafty peek at the colour co-ordinated order within....better than errmmmm...chocolate.

Wardrobe decluttering was a service that I offered when I was an image consultant and dosed up with Piriton, I have a dust allergy, I spent many a happy hour rummaging through ladies closets.

I think it's all about systems really, crack this and your wardrobe is transformed forever. So what do I do?

Well first of all, I make sure that I have a good couple of hours clear. If you stop half way through to pick the kids up, you won't want to carry on.

You will need

- a supply of black bags (for charity, Ebay or the bin)
- your dirty linen basket close by
- your blue Johnson's dry cleaning bag (like Monopoly boards - everyone has one somewhere)!

I find it easier to sort as I'm taking everything out of the wardrobe - it's quicker and easier

As you examine each item of clothing, ask yourself the following,

- is it a good style on you or can it be altered (and can you be bothered to take it to a dress makers) there's no point in keeping something if it doesn't suit your bodyshape. If it can't be rescued, chuck it in the black bag earmarked for charity (or Ebay) if its in reasonable condition or the bin if not

- is it a good colour on you or can a colour be added to rescue it? For example, I struggle to wear pure white and I have a really nice thick white shirt that I love so I wear it underneath a blue jacket or add a nude coloured scarf. If it was an absolutely disastrous purchase and you look ghastly, get rid. Be truthful, will you really go to the trouble of dying the item a different colour or will the wretched thing still languish in your wardrobe unworn for another 5 years?

- can you fit into it? Look, I know we all dream of having a Kelly Brook figure but if it didn't fit last year, chances are it's not going to this year. Gather up all the clothes that are too tight and throw them in the loft, don't leave them in the wardrobe. It's just too depressing. Similarly if something is too big (oh if only), there's just no point in cluttering the place up.

- do you still love it and is it still current? Be ruthless!

Now, I know there are going to be some items of clothing that you are unsure about. My mantra is if you're unsure, use the 'unsure black bag' technique. Throw these items in a black bag, leave in the bottom of your wardrobe for 6 months and I can guarantee that you will not have looked in it. Now is the time to get rid and replace with another 'unsure black bag'. It works for me and I do end up being more ruthless in the first place.

As you are working your way through the clothes, check that they are clean (if not throw them in the dirty washing or dry cleaning pile). Don't put them back in the wardrobe grubby as you won't wear them.

This also applies to garments that need mending. I'm not talking major stuff here, my seamstress skills are fairly limited but hems that need wonder-webbing (best invention ever), buttons that need sewing on etc. I personally don't try to tackle these jobs now but I pull out items that need work for a later date. Mums are always good for jobs such as these. Actually I keep a small sewing kit in my wardrobe as I know I'm more likely to sew on the odd button when it falls off than if I have to go and get the big box of gubbins (the kits you get out of crackers are ideal!).

Ok your wardrobe is now empty, that's the hard work done. Give it a good clean and then you're ready to put everything back (well not everything, that would be defeating the object but you know what I mean).

Start with jackets. If you have trouser suits, split them up, you'll definitely be more inclined to wear as separates (new outfits, zero cost). Put all your black jackets together, then blue, then grey and so on. Tip: check all the pockets, you should find some loose change and if you're lucky a few notes too! (£27.43 on my last declutter). Then move on to blouses and tops. Again, put them in colour order It makes it so much easier to put an outfit together if you can see what you have. Carry on doing this with skirts, then dresses, then trousers.

I don't hang knitwear as they can pull on the hanger and become misshapen so I fold these instead.

We've all got limited closet space so don't hang your jeans. Fold them and place them in a drawer (I can safely say no-one has ever said that my jeans are creased). I also fold layering tops, vest tops and t-shirts.

I'm not a big fan of having a summer/winter wardrobe not because I'm brilliant at doing the capsule thing it's just I can't be ar*ed changing the whole wardrobe over There are bits and bobs that I will only wear on holiday so these do get put into my holiday drawers but everything else is mixed in the main wardrobe.

By the way, I only have one wire coat hanger. They are my pet hate and I refuse to hang my clothes on them - nasty things. But I do keep one as they are great to get rid of static from clothes - yes really. Next time you have a clingy dress on, rub the coat hanger inside the dress as you're wearing it and it should do the trick.

I guess I'm fortunate enough to have enough space for all my clothes, that said, I'm pretty good at churning so my wardrobes don't get to the stage of overflow. This is my tops and casual dresses cupboard (I am ashamed to say that I do have the same size again purely for jackets).

What a brilliant idea this is, divide and conquer away, I think I need it....

And this, a hamster wheel for shoes....

Or just go the whole hog and get this but you could only put black and white in there....

I've toyed with various ways of storing jewellery until I came up with the idea of storing my fashion (cough) 'junk' necklaces in sandwich bags in a drawer. They remain tangle free, easily identifiable and brilliant for packing when you go on your hols!

And that's it really. I've come across other tips over the years but they don't quite work for me. One method is to turn the coat hanger around so you hook it onto the rail the other way when you have worn it. After 6 months you can see what you haven't worn so can consider churning. I really couldn't bear to fight with the coat hangers every morning because they are higgledy-piggledy.

So a day at home today, I'm not planning on leaving the house as there are lots of jobs to be done. Very casual for me. This is the jumper I bought in the Next sale (mainly for when we go skiing, anything goes in the Alps)! Feel a bit of a twit in it to be honest because it is big and adds bulk but hey ho. The Ash Thelma's are on their last legs now (ha ha I'm so funny, last legs, get it), might have to replace very soon.

Do you have any closet tips or secrets you want to share. I'm a sucker for little systems!

Until next time,

Donna x

10 comments on "Moth Balls And All That"
  1. Ooh Donna a kindred spirit, I too keep jackets, tops etc together in my wardrobe & colour coded (even go as far as then hanging them in order of shade...total saddo I know but it makes me happy!!). I've got hubby to put some little hooks on the insides of my wardrobe doors so I can hang my necklaces from these & also a long bar inside the door too for hanging scarves. Jane xx

    1. You should see my jackets, I'm a saddo too. Love the scarf idea. Why didn't I think of that x

  2. I can't wait to move into new house and sort my wardrobe out. I'll have a dedicated room for clothes - the best part of the house for me!! I tend to group similar items but not colour wise. But it's all got a bit overwhelming and I'm trying to hold out sorting until new house it ready. Thanks for the tips!!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Lucky lucky you. I could build a house around my wardrobe requirements x

  3. Well hello sister!!! I too colour coordinate all the items in my wardrobe ... I declutter regularly ... I truly get 'a kick' out of peeking into my wardrobe when it's all done ... I don't hang knitwear ... I hate wire hangers ... and like Jane, I also have little hooks to hang up necklaces. Honestly - it doesn't take too much to make me happy LOL!!

  4. Love the sandwich bag idea for jewellery-will definitely use that one! Great tips for a happy wardrobe :-) E x

    1. Lol not particularly sophisticated but it works x

  5. Such fab ideas & advice Donna! Having been through 2 international moves & various house ones in the last 7 years I've become very good at de-cluttering! I have very limited space atm so I have sent some of my summer stuff up to the attic will do the same with jumpers when the time comes! Everything else stay put & I'm ashamed to say the huge drawer under the bed just about houses my scarf collection! The sandwich bag idea is fab & much better than the mug stand my jewels currently hang on! I kid you not! Hubby stole my gorgeous jewellery stand for his stall & never gave it back! :O Ax