A few days ago I very innocently put up an instagram story of the inside of my wardrobe, well I don't think anything has ever garnered such a reaction (maybe the baby blackbird?). Most were amazed at the minimalism, some cooed over the neatness and others were alarmed that I had no clothes. There were many questions so I thought I would do a little post about it!
Disclaimer: the above picture is not all the clothes I own, I have a chest of drawers for underwear, t shirts and loungewear. I work from home, so do not have an office wear wardrobe. Coats are under the stairs. I have no idea if this is cost effective but it personally makes my life easier. We got wardrobes installed in Feb last year and that is how this all began.
It all started with too many shoes. Too many cheap shoes. Due to not going out much I wasn't wearing any of my heels so I decided to declutter them. At this point our new wardrobes were due to be installed shortly but I knew there wasn't a lot of space for shoes so it made sense to reduce their numbers. I keep my flat shoes downstairs in a wire basket (4 pairs), easy to pop on when nipping out.
I gave around 30 pairs to charity and was really happy with having less footwear cluttering up my then wardrobe space. At this point, Michael and I were sharing an ikea wardrobe and a chest of drawers, the rest of my seasonal clothes were in masses of bin bags in the guest room which I switched over and rumaged through during the year.
When the new wardrobes were installed (from Sharps Sherbourne range, if you are wondering, mention me, you may get a discount ha) I assessed how much space I had versus how many clothes I had. Well it just wasn't adding up. I brought everything I own upstairs and tipped it all on to the bed and floor. It took hours but once I had a system going it worked well. You have to be brutal. The main goal is to get down to your bare essentials, then build up from there. Make piles of:
things worn every week or so (your fail safe go to options)
special items (cashmere, pretty dresses etc)
Then in each category get rid of anything you haven't worn in the last year, and if you are feeling brave...the last 6 months (for non seasonal items). Then split those categories in to jumpers, tops, jeans, dresses etc.
First up was knitwear/jumpers.
I have mentioned before how fond I am of H&M knitwear, at £9.99 a jumper I don't feel bad replacing a few each season. I got down to cardigans x 3 (grey, striped and black) v necks x 2 (black and grey) and pretty knitwear x 2. Lets be honest, you really don't need the amount of clothes that you have. When it comes to knitwear I think you need a good black roll neck, one item of cashmere, 1 cable knit and 1 striped jumper as a starting point. You can then add to this, if you see a pretty zara jumper with pearls on buy it, but its a fad piece so be prepared to replace it. There are some items in your wardrobe that wont be replaced (such as your basics) but everything else lives by a one in one out policy from now on.
As you can see my colour palette is quite neutral. I wear a lot of black and grey! This may have made things easier for me because when deciding what goes with what, everything kind of already compliments each other.
I like to wear a lot of shirts/blouses. I don't replaces these that often and if I do its like for like eg a crisp white shirt, a navy blouse for the same/similar. I got rid of most of my tops because they were all looking a little tired but if yours are all decent then just strip this category down as much as you can. I adore these M&S blouses (similar, the originals have gone!) I bought one in green and white.
If you struggle to reduce your items, really think about how often you wear it? If you love it why don't you wear? Could you buy something similar but you'd wear more? And if you get rid of it you will most likely find something similar to replace if you miss it! Be brutal!!
The area I really struggled in was dresses. I had A LOT of black dresses, all good and different in their own right, but there are only so many black dresses a girl needs. Currently have 5 reduced from 20. I dabble in a few other colours, sometimes navy, sometimes white. I have found this section to have the most staying power, I have made good investments in pieces and will wear one summer dress for a couple of seasons then replace with something new.
I am not perfect, there are some pieces in my wardrobe that I have only worn once, and should replace but are either too pretty or have sentimental value such as this sequin Needle and Thread dress. There are always exceptions!
I am a fan of wearing quite neutral basics and then spending my money and time elsewhere. Black jeans and a white shirt is the perfect base for coloured nails, jewellery, lovely handbag and shoes, then perfume. I realise I have more perfumes than jumpers and tops combined. I also love a scarf!
My scarf area is at capacity so the next purchase will mean getting rid of another, by getting rid of I always mean giving to local charity shops, homeless charity or women's shelters.
The top section of the wardrobe is for jeans on the right ( 3x blue and 3x black) and bags on the left. In new house, will definitely like large section as I like to keep in dust bags when not in use so they take up a lot of space. Currently have 4 up there, with another on the way...(ooo yes). I have taken the same approach to handbags, I have a black, tan, oxblood for A/W and have a nude on the way. I have promised myself I will stop there. Because lets be real, there is no way the one in one out rule applies here...! I see handbags as investments and try to buy sensibly and not led too much by fashion trends.
I think the same applies to boots and shoes, it depends if you are a shoe/handbag person or not I guess but I can part way with shoes quite easily, if I haven't worn them then I won't keep them! I am currently on the hunt for a great pair of black ankle boots, they will replace my very worn KG ones.
As a treat I bought myself a scented oval from Diptyque this has genuinely added such a difference to the whole getting ready experience, it makes your wardrobe smell like heaven when you open it and gives it such a luxurious feel. There is no stress when looking at your wonderfully curated wardrobe, it looks and smells good. One oval lasts just over a year and has been one of the best investments...after the hangars!
Benefits - Less laundry, more space, clothes stay fresher as not cramped, quicker decision making, more time spent elsewhere, less clutter in the bedroom due to less floordrobes amassing, you've narrowed down all the items that make you feel good, helps you figure out what your style is, and what maybe your wardrobe needs more (or less) of.
My top tips
- invest in key pieces. I have items such as black cashmere turtle neck that I will wear probably to the grave. Same goes for handbags. You can skimp on basics as a handbag with always raise your outfit.
- only keep things you feel good in, this one is so crucial. If you don't feel good in it, don't keep it. Don't keep it just because you may fit in it again one day. If you lose or gain weight, I am sure you will be able to find something even more awesome.
- shop wisely but if you see something you like just buy it, life is far too short.
- one in one out - once you have established your base, one in one out. I recently bought a zara dress, and gave away a cardigan and a cami top.
- hangers - MAJOR. Just fucking throw away all your shit hangars and go get these sexy bitches - 50 for £16.99...COME ON. This is the best bit.
- hang your clothes up - your wardrobe now has the space, if it doesn't need washing hang it back up dammit. No more floordrobes, you are an ADULT. In the same vein, iron your clothes.
- sell on designer pieces - if you have designer pieces you no longer wear definitely sell them on as they can go towards either your next investment piece or other frippery. Best sites are Vestiare, Ebay or Rebelle. Even non designer items do well, I have seen old Joules jumpers go for £70 on ebay.