I’m a hoarder. There, I said it. I’m a person who literally hoards anything I can get my hands on. Old magazines? I’ve got shelf-loads of them. Stamps? I’m no philatelist but I’ve still got large biscuit tins full to the brim with used and unused stamps.
Things are even more manic when it comes to my wardrobe. As someone who loves to put eccentric (read ‘whacky’) outfits together, and as someone who has memories attached to each item of clothing, my wardrobes were fit to burst with trousers, shoes, blazers, bags and even an għonnella.
But I’ve recently decided that it all had to stop and, with more time on my hands due to the recent disruptions to our daily routines, I had the perfect excuse to execute my plan.
The following is the system I followed.
Start by sorting!
My clothes were already sorted by type, so I didn’t have to take everything out to figure out what it is that I have and don’t have. For this reason, I decided to go through my stuff one type of item at a time, and I started with my socks, which I threw on my bed haphazardly. Then, I went through each pair and placed them in one of four piles:
- The ones I wanted to keep;
- The ones I didn’t want to keep but were still in good condition;
- The ones that were torn or too worn out;
- The ones I wanted to keep but which could go in storage because I knew that I wouldn’t be wearing them but I loved them too much to chuck them out.
I repeated this process with each type of garment and accessory, and ended up getting rid of around 40 per cent of my wardrobe.
Here are some things I realised while going through this:
- Many people say that if you have something you haven’t worn in two years, then you should chuck it out. I don’t agree. Sometimes I go back to things I haven’t worn in 10 years! To me, you should only let go of things which you really don’t love or which are too worn out to be used.
- We are often told that we should get rid of anything that doesn’t fit us. Once again, I disagree. I, and a lot of other people, tend to yo-yo in weight, which would mean I’d have to buy new trousers every six months. So, this time round, I removed size-28 trousers (because, let’s face it, I’m never going to be as skinny as I was when I was 18) but kept anything that was three sizes bigger or smaller than what currently fits me.
- There were items, such as the suit I graduated in (which no longer fits) and a pair of Church’s bed slippers that have travelled around with me for years (and which were quite tattered), which I decided to let go of even though they have very special memories for me. The thing is, all too often we get too attached to things and I think it’s healthy to show ourselves that we can survive without them. Of course, I just got rid of a handful of these things. Next time, I may get rid of a few more but, till then, they remain in safely in storage.
Make a plan for the rejects.
My next task was to sort out what I was removing from my wardrobe. Anything that was torn and couldn’t be fixed was chucked in the bin or repurposed as cleaning cloths. Anything that was still in good condition is now in a bag waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to be over so that my family and friends can have first pick before being donated to a charity shop.
Re-structure your wardrobe.
Getting rid of things obviously meant that I had more space in my wardrobe. Trust me, this is one of the best feelings in the world as, for once in my recent life, I don’t need to move things around just to get the T-shirt I want out.
While I do sort things out by category (shirts & T-shirts, trousers, coats & blazers, knitwear, waistcoats & jackets) and by colour, I only do the latter loosely. Colour coordination does make wardrobes look much neater, but I’d rather have a wardrobe that works around my needs … so while all my green shirts and T-shirts are next to each other, they are categorised by how much I wear them.
Learning a lesson.
Sifting through each item in my wardrobe, I realised that I have too many blue shirts and not enough formal trousers for my needs. I also realised that I need to cut down on the amount of socks I buy – who the hell needs 132 pairs?!
Ultimately, on top of ending up with a freshly-sorted wardrobe, opening it no longer feels like a struggle. Everything has its own space, nothing is getting squashed, and I can find things at a glance. Now, if only I had somewhere to actually go!