How to cleanse your wardrobe in five simple steps

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Sometimes daunting, sometimes cathartic.

It’s so exciting to bring home a brand new dress. Carefully slipping it onto a coat hanger and then hanging it in your wardrobe. Sometimes you need to push and forcibly squeeze that fabulous new piece into a space that barely exists, only to pull it out a few days later all creased.

It’s a sign. It’s time. This is when you know you are overdue for a wardrobe cull. For many it can be quite an emotional process; fashion and memory are related and at times pull at your heartstrings. Don’t tell me you don’t have at least one sentimental piece you could never get rid of. I have three: my wedding dress, my 21st dress and my first Lisa Ho high school formal dress that I worked around the clock saving to buy after looking at it hanging in the window for what seemed like months. Much like a photo album, each of these items hold wonderful memories and I won’t be getting rid of them.

So what is the best way to cleanse your wardrobe? I use this criteria for each of my clients and myself:


Step one:

In preparation, go to your wardrobe and turn every coat hanger around the wrong way. Then each time you wear a piece hang it back the right way.  After three months you will be able to see what you wear and what you don’t.


Step two:

Pull everything out of your drawers and then lay them on your bed in piles. You need them in broad daylight to see what is lurking, scrunched and wedged into the back corners. Each pile should consist of the following:
Pieces you wear often, t-shirts, shorts, singlets, jumpers etc.

Step three:

Create a secondary pile you don’t wear as much. From there it is easy to work out what you need to keep and what you need to get rid of.


Step four:

Try on each and every piece. Have a pair of shoes to try with everything to give you more of an idea of what it really looks like. Very quickly you will see what has a) dated b) doesn’t fit properly c) what you like vs don’t like d) what you would realistically wear.

This is also a great time for uncovering some buried treasures you had forgotten you had. And if something doesn’t fit? Get rid of it.

Step five:

After you have seen what you wear and what you don’t, make three piles. One pile to giveaway, one pile to keep and one pile for alterations.  I should also mention the best time to do this is when you’re in a ruthless frame of mind. It’s a challenging task and the more unattached you can be, the better.


So once the spring clean has occurred what do you do with the additional clothes you no longer need?

1. Bin – If they have dis-coloured or are damaged and you wouldn’t wear them, it’s not fair to expect someone else would. Throw them out.

2. Gift them – Give away to a charity or friends or your little cousins. It’s only polite to give away clothes that are clean so put a load of washing on and then fold them neatly to give away. The same with shoes and handbags. Wipe them down with baby wipes so others can use them.

3. Designer stores – If you have pieces that have a designer label and are in great condition then why not try and get some money back?  There are many great second-hand designer boutiques around the country. (They will sell your clothes on your behalf and take a commission on the sale.)

Many of us find ‘cleansing’ really difficult. In fact, most of us do. Sometimes all it takes is having someone else there to help you. You can enlist a friend or you can engage one of our Yellow Button stylists who can take you through the process. (It’s good to have an objective eye to do a proper cull.)

One thing is for sure; once you’ve ‘cleansed’, you feel a weight has lifted and your wardrobe becomes a lot more manageable. Not to mention the visibility of being able to see what you already own often gives your wardrobe a new lease on life.

The next time your other half says “When did you buy that?” You can legitimately say…“Oh, this old thing?  I’ve had it for years.”


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