I don’t know about you, but no matter how hard I try my wardrobe always ends up messy – pretty much like a tornado recently rolled through and couldn’t be bothered to clear up the chaos it left behind… (Wait, am I describing myself?) I have been slightly better in the last six months or so, since the last huge clear out I did… Emphasis is very much on the word ‘slightly’ though. I have reached the point where I wince when I open the wardrobe door; if that’s not a sign something needs to be done, I don’t know what is.
Around this time of year, much like a lot of people, the itch of spring gets under my skin and I have a sudden burst of motivation to really do something about my messy surroundings. In the UK anyway, it’s like we’re all taken over by the shocking exposure to some actual sunlight: the vitamin D gets into us and we’re all charged up ready to clear all surfaces, throw out that unwanted pairs of jeans and fill the house with plants. Or is that just me? Either way, I thought I’d share with you my wardrobe decluttering process and why I think clearing out your wardrobe every once in a blue moon can be great for your mental health.
I started the clear out with jumpers, which anyone who knows me personally will know is my biggest weak spot when it comes to clothes. I LOVE jumpers. Living in England, a jumper is an essential most days of the year, and often the easiest item of clothing to buy from both traditional clothes shops and thrift stores because they look great even when they don’t actually fit right. There’s no messing around trying things on and feeling overwhelmingly frustrated at confusing sizing (yeah, I’m glaring at you, jeans). The jumper buying process goes along the lines of: ‘ohh that’s a nice jumper, how much is it?’ followed by ‘yep, I’ll have it’ if it’s within budget. So simple.
I feel like this post is diverging a little. The point I was trying to make is that jumpers are a necessary part of any British wardrobe and they’re almost too easy to buy, therefore I have a lot of jumpers. And I didn’t want to throw many of them away. So for the jumper section, I basically just had a little tidy up and made the decision to chuck two items – one which was a hand-me-down I’ve never worn, and the other a heavily-worn-but-now-just-collecting-dust jumper.
Even though I didn’t trash much from this section, I still went through the process and decided the other jumpers were used and loved enough to keep. Knowing what you want to keep is just as important as letting unloved things go. This is my first tip for decluttering for mental health: recognise what brings value to your life and don’t throw things out just because of a social pressure to become more minimal.
Next, I moved to the tops shelf. Much like jumpers, a few items went from here but not too many as during my last clear out I got rid of loads. The best thing about this shelf is the box I use for all my t-shirts, which is flanked by my flannel shirts on one side, and long-sleeve tops on the other. Before having this system, this shelf was constantly exploding and tops were forever launching themselves off the edge. Now, I’ve minimised my t-shirt collection to whatever fits in the box and they all behave themselves by staying neatly ticked away. I believe that tidy sections help maintain an organised mind; if your surroundings are chaotic your thoughts are likely to be scattered too.
Then it was time for the bottoms shelf: jeans, shorts, trousers, leggings… Anything that goes on my legs is kept here. This is the area I most heavily culled, and it’s been a long time coming. So many things on this shelf do not fit me anymore, or never really fitted me right. For me, clearing out jeans is a process of coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay and normal to grow and change; it’s a lot easier to feel body positive wearing clothes that fit and flatter, rather than squeezing into jeans that cause sweating and body parts to squish uncomfortably.
It’s taken me several years to realise how the length of my torso does not lend itself well to extremely low-rise jeans, but that this is okay, because there are plenty of other types it does like. It’s very easy to get caught up in trying to make our bodies fit into the current trend instead of trying to find styles our bodies and minds are happy wearing. Throwing away three pairs of jeans was a great way for me to put all of this into practice.
The shelf at the bottom of my wardrobe is reserved for pyjamas and old, oversized t-shirts for chilling or exercising (a little less of the latter, let’s be honest here). I decided not to touch this shelf really, although I do need to purchase some more pyjamas soon as most of mine are falling apart at this point. Note to self: you’re not going to feel good about yourself if you act like you’re not worth sleepwear that has no holes. Fresh pyjamas will definitely boost my wellbeing, so this is something I need to fix at some point.
I was getting worn out at this point so decided to leave the dresses and underwear for another clearing out session. I decided getting from A to B in one go wasn’t the most important thing about this task, but that having a chance to practice making thoughtful decisions was a valuable thing to dedicate time to.
Are you decluttering this spring? Let me know your tips in the comments 🙂
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