Why and How to Downsize Your Wardrobe

A wardrobe should be a streamlined extension of your personal tastes and comforts. But too often, we let our wardrobes become receptacles for any and all garments we’ve purchased in the past.

It’s all too easy to toss outgrown or excess clothing to the back of your closet, and if you’re in the habit of purchasing new clothes for special occasions (or “just because”), your wardrobe can quickly become unwieldy.

If this situation sounds familiar, consider seeking assistance or help from organizational experts here at NEATSPACES. We help busy families and individuals create organizational systems in their homes. In this article, we cover a few of the many advantages of downsizing your wardrobe and offer actionable tips for cleaning out the closet this new year.

Getting Ready Will Be a Lot Simpler

Choosing an outfit (especially for a special occasion like a wedding, graduation, milestone birthday celebration or baby shower) can be difficult. And it can be doubly difficult if you have to sort through piles of unworn clothing to find the gems. A smaller, streamlined wardrobe cuts through all the excess clothing and leaves you with the best.

A smaller wardrobe will also save you time in the morning because you’ll instinctively know which shirt

goes with which pants, which shirt goes with which skirt, and which dress looks best with which jacket. Essentially, you will create something like a “capsule wardrobe,” a synergistic collection of clothing that (more or less) works well together.

You Can Reclaim Space

Depending on the scope of your wardrobe downsize, you may be able to reclaim some space in your closet for other items like paperwork (neatly arranged in plastic storage bins) or hobby items. If you have a closet of clothes spilling into closets in other rooms or areas of the house, you may even free up entire walk-ins and rooms.

With these newly liberated spaces, NEATSPACES can help you implement organizational systems for various household items: plastic storage bins filled with chronologically dated paperwork, neatly arranged family heirlooms, etc. Essentially, cleaning your wardrobe can have a knock-on effect that helps keep your entire home more organized.

You’ll Have a Clearer Idea of What You Have

You’ll better understand what you own if you downsize your wardrobe. Instead of saying, ‘I have nothing to wear,’ you’ll be able to see precisely what you have before buying something new in the spur of the moment. This will not only help you keep your closet in order, but it may also save you money in the long run because you won’t be stuck in a cycle of rebuying similar items.

When You Clear a Wardrobe, You Clear Stress Too

Having a disorganized, mismanaged space in our home adds another layer of chaos to our already busy lives. As we’ve noted previously on this blog, psychologists contend that clutter causes stress by overloading our mental bandwidth with excess stimuli.

Moreover, the frustration of not being able to find something or not knowing what to wear can exacerbate those feelings of stress.

Clearing Your Wardrobe Can Make Moving Easier

Whether you have a move planned imminently or you’re simply planning ahead for a potential move, downsizing your wardrobe is a step in the right direction.

Especially if you plan on downsizing to a smaller home one day, clearing your home of excess clutter, like unused clothing, is a proactive move. View the downsizing resources on our blog and visit our page on downsizing services to learn more about how NEATSPACES can help.

You’ll Appreciate Your Wardrobe

The Wall Street Journal reports that the average person globally wears a garment just seven times before throwing it away – often after the garment spends years of purgatory in the back of a closet.

Not only is this an ineffective use of personal funds, but it is also a massive environmental strain. (Fashion is the world’s second most water-intensive industry; a plain white t-shirt requires approximately 2,700 litres of water to produce).

By honing your wardrobe until it contains only meaningful, functional clothing items, you can help break the cycle of disposable fashion. And we will help ensure that the clothing you clear can be donated for reuse, resold or recycled. 

Now that we’ve identified the advantages of downsizing your wardrobe, here’s a look at the steps involved in creating a pared-down wardrobe, including how professional home organizers can help.

Clothing neatly arranged in a closet

Plan Ahead

Create a plan and a timeline to keep your closet downsizing project on track. Make a list of ‘to-dos’ with reasonable deadlines. While this may seem excessive to some, cleaning out your closet can be a stressful and, at times, sensitive situation. Clearly outlining things will help you stay on top of things and track your progress.

Another step to consider is maintenance. If you have been putting off repairing or maintaining garments (whether that’s dry-cleaning, altering, darning, etc.), now is the time to plan for it. Especially if they are cherished items, it’s wise to plan for their restoration so that you can wear them to their full potential!

Seek out Places to Sell, Donate or Recycle

During the planning stages, seek out places to donate unwanted clothing items. As previously stated, clothing consumes a significant amount of environmental resources. Consider donating good-condition unwanted clothing to local charities and people in need.

If your clothing is in like-new condition and the style is still popular, you may even try selling items on local social media groups or online marketplaces. And if the clothes are couture or in great condition, you can consider taking them to a high-end consignment store. Lastly, most cities have donation bins that will accept damaged or beyond-repair items so that they can be effectively recycled.

As part of NEATSPACES’ decluttering and organizing services, we can help advise on the dispersal of wardrobe items.

Create Areas

When the time comes to begin your closet purge, designating specific areas for different types of clothing will help you keep the process moving. Some examples of allocated spaces include:

  • “Items to Keep”
  • “Items to Donate or Sell”
  • And “Items to Recycle”

It’s also perfectly fine to have a “maybe” pile in the beginning – the process of letting go can take some time. Often, we find it helpful, when tackling a “maybe” pile, to ask ourselves: “Have I worn this item in the last three months?” If the answer is no, it might be time to part with it.

A word of note: if you’re attempting or planning to create a capsule wardrobe, it’s recommended that you keep around 30 – 40 items on hand in order to have complete outfits that you can effectively mix and match.

Call in the Experts

Downsizing any area of your home is no easy task, and a closet is no different. Sorting through items and implementing easy-to-follow organizational systems can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Consider calling in the home organization experts in advance of your downsizing efforts.

Decluttering, organizing and aiding in downsizing are our specialties at NEATSPACES. If the prospect of tackling a decluttering project on your own seems daunting, you’re not alone.

We provide a one-on-one consultation to learn about your wants and goals, at which point we can devise a strategy for your space. We’ll declutter your space, collaborate with you to edit your wardrobe, develop an organization system (we can even assist with the installation of space-saving shelving if necessary), and sort through the collection of items you no longer want for donation or recycling.

You can always get in touch with us if you want to learn more about our downsizing services. Together, let’s ensure that you feel good about flinging open the closet doors each morning!

For downsizing, moving and organizing services in the Greater Toronto Area contact us today!