How to Cleanse Your Wardrobe for the Year Ahead

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Cher Horowitz’s wardrobe in Clueless (1995)
Cher Horowitz’s wardrobe in Clueless (1995)

AnOther shares seven simple tips for spring cleaning your closet

It’s a new year and time for a spring clean. And what better place to start than your closet? Here, AnOther provides a seven-point guide to cleansing your wardrobe, which will leave it (and you) ready for the year ahead.

1. Clear out

First things first: clear everything out of your wardrobe; out of your drawers and off that chair you dump everything on. Lay it all out so you can see what you’re working with. Clear wardrobe, clear mind.

2. Choose joy

Now it’s decision time. The philosophy of professional declutterer Marie Kondo is spreading like wildfire and its premise is simple: hold an object – in this case, an item of clothing – in your hand and ask yourself if it sparks joy inside of you. If it doesn’t, thank it for the service it has done for you and say goodbye. (Marie Kondo’s Netflix show has just premiered if you need some help or inspiration.)

3. Cull

If the Marie Kondo philosophy isn’t for you, simply go through your clothes and ask yourself if you’ve worn each item in the past year – if you haven’t, and it holds no sentimental value for you, add it to the pile. Alternatively adopt what I call the William Morris approach and ask yourself if it’s beautiful or useful – if you don’t think it’s either, get rid and if you’re still on the fence, phone a friend who a) has good taste and b) is capable of giving you good, honest advice.

For pieces that haven’t made the cut, try to avoid throwing them away. In 2017, the UK sent a staggering 235 million items of clothing to landfill, which is a pretty sobering statistic. Instead, donate them to a charity shop or find a clothing and textile recycling facility near you using this website.

4. Cash in

Alternatively, you can cash in your unwanted items. It’s never been easier to sell your clothes – in addition to eBay, there are a range of other websites and apps including Depop, Grailed (for menswear) and Vestiaire, which offers a concierge service that will pick up, price and photograph your pieces so you don’t have to. One person’s trash is another’s treasure.

5. Clean

As for the joy-sparking items that you’ve decided to keep, go through and give them a once-over. If anything needs a clean or repair, take it to the dry cleaner. See it as a chance to give your wardrobe an MOT.

6. Curate

Now it’s time for the fun part (if, like me, you suffer from a mild but nonetheless slightly suffocating case of OCD): organising. Move items that you’re wearing more regularly to the front of your wardrobe, and items that you’re wearing less regularly (summer clothes, sentimental pieces, clothes for special occasions) to the back – place them in under-bed storage boxes if you need extra space. As for your drawers, try Marie Kondo’s vertical folding method – I have and I haven’t looked back.

7. Commit

Now that your wardrobe has been cleared, culled, cashed in on, cleaned and curated, it might be a good time to think about how you want to shop this year. Maybe you’d like to commit to a one-in-one-out or ‘buy less, buy better’ rule, or perhaps you’d like to try shopping more sustainably, buying more ethically sourced clothing and environmentally friendly materials, like organic cotton.

Good luck!