Clean Out Your Wardrobe | Anyclean

By Nick Vassilev

updated: 18/11/2023

Most of us start off with good intentions regarding our wardrobes.  This time, we’re going to be organised and keep everything in order so that we wont’ be left facing a chaotic jumble of rainbow hues and mismatched shoes going “I haven’t got a thing to wear!”

Sound familiar?  Right, it’s time for a clean out of your wardrobe.  And your drawers, because if your wardrobe is chaotic, the chances are that your other clothes storage places are, too.  Choose a good CD, make sure that you can see a good mirror and dump the whole lot on the bed and begin.  Oh yes – before anything else goes back in, it’s probably not a bad idea to run the vacuum cleaner around the inside of the wardrobe to pick up the inevitable lint, and maybe consider putting a liner in your drawers (you can make your own scented ones with aromatic oils and a plain old paper towel.

The first thing to do is to pick out your favourites.  These are the ones you wear all the time, fit well and don’t need mending.  It probably wouldn’t hurt to give them a quick once-0ver just to check that they don’t need any repairs or spot-cleaning.  Back onto the hangers and into the drawers they go.  In the case of shoes, the ideal is to store them on shoe trees or in boxes with Polaroid photos of the contents.  But most of us aren’t that organised – or else have had the original boxes taken by junior members of the family for craft projects.  Neatly in pairs is quite OK for most of us!

Taking out the favourites was the easy bit and should have made a decent dent on the pile of clothing on your bed.  The next bit is nearly as easy.  This is where you take out the “seasonals” and store them.  These are the specific winter clothes such as woollen jumpers or polar fleece tops, and the summer-specific clothes like tank tops, sundresses and swimming costumes.  If you wore them last summer/winter and getting them out of storage is almost a ritual, then these are definite keepers. Check these over carefully before putting them away.  Have moths been at any of them?  Do they still fit?  Do they need repairs?  Do you honestly need twenty different sundresses and five bikinis?  Purge out surplus garments and things that don’t fit (things that make you look ghastly count as “don’t fit” even if they’re the right size). These will start your pile of giveaway clothes.  Also purge out anything moth-eaten, badly faded or with crispy elastic.  These will go in the rag pile (incidentally, anything worn regularly that is badly tattered also needs to go here.  Be ruthless).

The pile will be considerably smaller now.  So far, so good.  Now things get trickier.  Now you need to sort out the “special occasion” garments – the evening gowns or tuxedo (if you have one), the special sports clothes.  Everyone should have at least one outfit that is suitable to wear to a wedding or a funeral – most families have these one.  Make sure they all fit.  If you have several outfits, lucky you. But be reasonable.  Unless you’re going out to this type of event nearly every weekend, you don’t need a vast array of these garments (but you probably put some into the “favourites” and “seasonals”.  At the other end of the spectrum, everyone needs to keep one pair of grotty clothes for going grubby jobs in – you never know when you might need to help a friend paint a roof or when you’re going to have to poke about underneath a car.  Again, be realistic – you don’t need ten sets of grotty paint clothes.  One will do – or a pair of overalls.

The tricky ones to get rid of are the sentimental value clothes.  Always keep your wedding dress if you are happily married – even if it doesn’t fit any more – it will last longer than some of the sheets and towels you got as wedding presents (mine has).  Clothes that were bought or given or otherwise insisted on by a significant person in your life, be it your lover, your spouse or your mother, are trickier.  You may be able to sneak these out, especially if they don’t fit.  If you merely don’t like the clothes, I’m afraid I can’t advise you as to whether to keep them or to get rid of them – but then, I’ve got several items that I can’t stand but hang onto because my husband likes seeing them on me (they come out as a special treat for him – and no, these don’t include lingerie!).

You will also need to purge accessories ruthlessly.  For me, at least, these are the things that tend to pile up.  While it’s good to keep a range of scarves and belts, be sensible.  If it doesn’t fit (this includes belts that fit your waist but you can’t get around your hips – and all your jeans are hipsters, plus belts that don’t fit the loops in your jeans), if it’s in bad condition or if you have got bored with it, out it goes!

Also purge your underwear.  If it has holes (apart from the ones for your legs or deliberate ones in naughty lingerie), is grey, stained or tattered, out it goes!  Also check that they fit.  Bras stretch and underwear can get perished elastic – out, out, out!

What do you need to buy as replacements or to fill gaps once you’ve done the purging, taken the giveaways to the charity shops (or a friend) and sent the rags to be recycled (or to be used as polishing rags and dusters)?  That’s totally up to you…

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.