New year, new me. At least that is something we tell ourselves every time the clock announces the beginnings of a calendar. But before you embark on crafting a list of New Year’s resolutions, it is wise to finish 2023 and welcome 2024 with a fresh, clean note. And yes, we’re specifically referring to the overflowing mess that is your wardrobe and closet (or your spouse’s and children’s). Keep scrolling as we share with you 10 tips to organise and declutter your wardrobe and even earn some cash while you’re at it.
It might seem counter-intuitive to make a mess when we are trying to organise. But if you have watched any home organising shows such as Tidying Up With Marie Kondo or Get Organised With The Home Edit, you will realise that their first step is always to empty the drawers and place the contents into a giant heaping pile in the middle of the room. This is to help you get a sense of the magnitude of your collection and set the tone of the decluttering process, which brings us to our next point…
After facing the mountain of clothes that you’ve collected over the past few years, think about the outcome you want to achieve. Setting intentions such as whether to reduce your collection by half or to really edit what you own to just the same few pieces you always fall back on will shape your plans to make the decluttering process easier.
We also recommend tucking away some of your least used items at the top of your closet so it won’t get in the way when you’re browsing through your capsule pieces on a day to day basis. Some of the least used items include out-of-season items and stuff you only wear a few times a year, like your Halloween costume.
Now it is time to tackle the pile by creating multiple categories. This can be as simple as sorting your clothes and accessories into “keep” and “throw” sections. If you have a lot of material to sort through, we recommend keeping the categories limited first so that you can properly identify what you want to keep without having to worry about the next course of action with the unwanted stuff.
Some considerations on what to keep/throw could be whether or not they fit and flatter, if you have worn them in the past six months or if they’re damaged and you have no inclination to get them fixed. This is also where you get your damaged clothing and accessories that you want to keep mended and fixed (and actually do it).
Now that you have decided what to keep, it is time to put them back properly. As your wardrobe is now empty due to contents being emptied earlier, take the opportunity to give the closet a good vacuum and wipe it down to clear dust, silverfish and unwanted pests. Any broken hinges, dividers and rods should also be fixed.
Before stowing your keep pile back into the cleaned wardrobe, you should take the opportunity to get the right equipment for your storage needs. For example, choosing the right hangers will ensure that your clothes are more organised. In addition, any plastic dust cover from the dry cleaners should be discarded as they trap moisture that can damage your clothes. Instead, opt for a garment bag made with a breathable material. Finally, replace the closet dehumidifier and wardrobe fresheners.
Once these are done, you can put your beloved clothing, shoes, accessories and pieces of jewellery back to where they belong.
With the throw pile, there are many ways to deal with it. Discarding is the first of them. While it is the most convenient and straightforward method to deal with unwanted items, do consider the following points first. Also, ensure that your discards will not become a physical or fire hazard for yourself and your neighbours.
You can give your unwanted (but wearable) clothing a new lease of life by donating them to people or causes who can use them. These places include charities such as The Salvation Army and Metta Welfare Association as well as recycling initiatives like H&M. For a full list of places to donate your clothes in Singapore, click here.
Upcycling turns your clothing into other usable items. For example, an old towel can be cut up and be used as a hand towel or a cleaning rag while a T-shirt can be repurposed as a hair turban to dry wet hair. You could even transform a blouse into a tank top. A quick search on YouTube or Pinterest will yield many simple DIY upcycling ideas.
If you and your friends have gotten on this wardrobe decluttering journey together, another option is to do a swap. This refers to swapping clothing and trying them on – essentially shopping each other’s collections. And who knows, you might even discover a new style you fancy along the way. Swapaholic Marketplace is another avenue to do fashion swaps.
You had parted with hard-earned money for these preloved clothing and accessories, so why not resell them and recoup some moolah? Websites such as Carousell and Refash are accessible ways to sell your preloved items. As for designer items, you can also consider selling them on websites like Second Edit by Style Theory where you can consign your items and earn up to 80 per cent of your selling price. Else, you could post it on your social media and see if anyone in your social circle is happy to pick them up.
This article was first published in Singapore Women’s Weekly.