By Arwa Lodhi
A spring clean means a full clean, and as we enter a new season, that means your wardrobe should be weeded out too.
Given the average British woman has approximately £1000 worth of unworn clothes in her closet, there’s potentially a bit of money you can get back, as well as lessons to be learned from all that wasteful shopping. But many of us don’t really know how to spring clean our wardrobes.
Image consultant Stephanie Roper from The Wardrobe Angel is full of great tips for spring wardrobe cleaning. She advises you first take out the stuff you haven’t worn for a year. Then, find a (brutally honest, and preferably stylish!) friend to tell you what looks good on you, and what really doesn’t work. If you’re ditching something you just feel isn’t ‘you’, this friend could also offer a fresh pair of eyes to suggest accessories that could perk up an item and give it new life.
Once you’ve established what will stay and what should go, lay out all the resulting items of clothing on your bed and categorise them under three different areas: Alterations, Charity, and Sell.
For alterations, get creative. There’s a lot you can do! For example:
- Dresses that are too short can sometimes be cut into shirts
- Old jeans you never wear can be transformed into shorts
- Shoes in colours you don’t like can be dyed
- Shirts you no longer wear can embellish sweaters: think of sewing old collars and cuffs onto a jumper for a 2-in-1 look
If you’re not handy with a needle and thread, just take the item to your local tailor. Consider taking sizes up or down to suit your body shape, shifting hemlines, and fixing any holes or missing buttons and closures to make an item wearable again.
As for selling, clothing that gets traded successfully is should be in good shape and be branded. Any bags, shoes or clothes from popular high street stores should go onto Ebay, while designer clothes and accessories can go into Vestaire Collective or another higher-end website, where you’re more likely to get a better price.
Finally, anything you can’t fix or sell should just get given away. This could be to a charity shop, or you could attend a clothes swapping or ‘swishing’ party if you wish to come home with something ‘new’.
Still, you may not want to get rid of special items, like that peach-toned maxi dress you wore as a bridesmaid to your best friend’s wedding, or the first ever pair of designer shoes you bought…twenty years ago! Stephanie acknowledges that many of us hang on to clothes that we have emotional connection to, but she says springtime is a time of renewal and letting go: if you’re really attached to a certain piece, take a pic to remember it, and “put photos of that particular time on show instead,” she advises.
She also says the “3Rs” of recycling apply not only to rubbish, but to your wardrobe, too:
- Reduce: if you find items that have not been used in over a year, give them away to someone who will wear them. If they’re in tip top shape, sell them.
- Reuse: instead of throwing things like old tights and underwear away, find a way of reusing them. For example, you can use old tights to wash delicate underwear: just cut the legs off, place the item inside, and tie the end. This will keep delicate lace from fraying, and things like cashmere scarves from stretching. Old cotton T-shirts and undies can be used as rags for dusting.
- Recycle: while you can’t dump unwanted clothes in your home recycling bin yet, there are indeed textile recycling points, all you need to do is search for one near you.
Now that your wardrobe is all cleared out, remember not to be tempted to re-stock it full of even more rubbish–research shows the average woman wears around 12 favourite items again and again, whilst neglecting the less preferred items in her wardrobe. Do you really need more?
Main image: simplybedrooms.com