Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Great Wardrobe Declutter

Today I started. And it wasn't as hard as I thought. I didn't need to try anything on as I already knew what I didn't want to keep. I found myself waking up last night thinking 'I'm going to get rid of that denim jacket', so really, I was decluttering in my sleep.

I started with clothing I had previously removed from the wardrobe in my bedroom. I cleared everything out of the office/sewing room wardrobe which was put there to 'think about' months ago when I first read La Bella Figura. I kept a handful of items, the rest went into a (decent-sized) suitcase for donation.

There were pieces I was tempted to keep but then remembered I never wore and didn't want to. A denim jacket which wasn't big enough in the shoulders so always sat funny, another jacket where the sleeves were too short. Tops that were scratchy, not comfortable. Out, out, out. It was so easy and unemotional I thought I mustn't be doing it right.

I also made a decision to declutter all skirts. None have escaped so far. I love how feminine skirts are, but in them I just feel frumpy. Dresses are different for some reason. I love the few dresses I have which I wear on special occasions. But in skirts, perhaps it's my body shape, I'm either too corporate or just plain dumpy.

It was very freeing to skip past the skirts without even a thought. Janet from The Gardener's Cottage made me think about this with her comment a few days ago noting 'right now hanging in my closet are 3 summer skirts that i never wear. why is it that i keep them?'. Thanks Janet for the nudge.

What kept me on track was thinking of my tiny Paris apartment (the one of my dreams, you know it, the breezy, sparse apartment with filmy curtains at the windows). Would Sabine, my ideal French girl have all of this unworn clothing clogging up her home?

And it's not like I'm wasting it, someone else will wear it if it's at their house, not mine. It's easier to live with it hidden away than to declutter it, but like most things in life, the easy way is not the best way.

I thought I would start out with the 'satellite' wardrobes before tackling the main one, work into it if you like. Stephanie from C'est Si Bon wisely began with cosmetics (starting with clothing is quite a tall order). But really, the main wardrobe I don't think will be so hard either. I've run out of time today (late afternoon is the start of relaxing, reading and dinner time) but I didn't think I would get it all done in one day. I'm not that good.

I did get quite a lot done today though, here is my list of Sunday Accomplishments:

Made chicken stock
Vacuumed the house
Changed the sheets on our bed
Did two loads of washing and hung on the line
Washed and ironed cloth dinner napkins
Tidied and picked up the house
Decluttered wardrobes in guest bedroom and sewing room/office
Washed makeup brushes
Renovated a pair of yoga pants that had a really annoying bunchy waistband

The next parts of The Great Wardrobe Declutter are:

Main wardrobe in our bedroom


  1. You certainly accomplished a lot! I did similar things including hanging my clothes on the line. I feel so altruistic when I do that! But what I really enjoy doing each week is washing out my delicates lovingly and hanging them, folding them when dry and tucking them away in a scented drawer. It makes me feel chic. Love checking into your blog these days. You remind me of me!

  2. Bravo! I should have taken Kristi's advise in her book and done a sort of pre- declutter like you did...putting my clothes away first to think about it before I donate them. I think I shall do that today. Getting rid of your skirts is exhilirating. You are very sure of yourself and it's inspiring. I think you must have been decluttering in your subconscience for a long time and it's making it easier on you. I'm so excited for you. And that list of accomplishments for the day is nice too.

    I thought about you yesterday. At my French class, one of the instructors there is named Sabine!

  3. Great job! There must be something in the air! So many of us have been looking at our clothing and homes with fresh eyes and deciding, enough! We should all get rid of (and pass on to someone who can use them) anything in our homes that we do not use or do not like. Since I began my decluttering this spring, I find I'm enjoying my home much more.

  4. First, that list at the end exhausted me and I didn't have to do it...yet. I too am making some stock today and cleaning and laundry.

    Secondly, I am amazed at how quickly you were able to declutter your closet! I am having a hard time getting rid of some things. If you can do this, the rest should be even easier!

    And I agree with Cherie, we all seem to be decluttering. Perhaps it's that in this economy we've taken a hard look at the waste in our own lives and are correcting it with simplicity?

  5. Wow, what a productive day you've had! You must feel so good when you look at that list.

    Well done with the closet declutter. I seem to be stuck in the "thinking about it" stage.

    Good for you for all you accomplished!!

  6. Emily, thanks for your comment and nice compliment. I think we are quite similar - I adore your blog and have just added it to my blog list.

    Just the other day my husband did a load of washing and I noticed in horror that my bras were hanging among the jeans and t-shirts drying. I had them in the hamper for separate washing. He didn't know that (he's a boy) and in they went. They've survived though and of course I didn't say anything (well apart from 'thank you for doing the washing'). He did the washing! Now I have to sort out a separate hamper for delicates. I love your weekly routine of washing them.

    Stephanie, the pre-clutter (love that name) step is a good one. You can fairly instantly see what you want to get rid of, but know it isn't going anywhere straight away (which keeps the panic down). When you go back to it you see that for the most part you were right.

    Regarding the skirts, I've kept them all these years because I think I should wear them (I like feminine things, skirts are feminine, therefore...). My husband often says he loves me in pants and fitted jeans and I do too. Much more so than skirts. It's time to channel Sabine (funny she's your French class instructor!) and just say 'non' to skirts.

    Cherie, I think so too, decluttering is catching, in a good way! Enjoying your home is what it's all about. Relaxing because there is a place to sit, cleaning the house quickly and easily because there aren't piles of stuff everywhere and being able to close the drawers in your bedroom because they aren't full to bursting.

    Kalee, sometimes I think I haven't achieved much in my day off, so writing it all down lets me know I have. I am so pleased with my stock this time. It's like a rich amber nectar.

    You would think if the economy is down we would all want to hold onto what we have, but as you say the opposite seems to be true. Downsizing and decluttering is a way of feeling in control I think. And a way of calming the mind. Just thinking about it relaxes me!

    Jackie, the 'think about it' stage is the first step - yay! A couple of weeks ago I could feel a declutter coming on. The mind working beforehand makes it easier when you actually physically start picking up items to sort through.

  7. hi fiona,

    i so admire your determination, speed and resolve to get the job done. i think all 3 are necessary components in true decluttering. otherwise it's just moving things around! i wonder how i know about this? bravo to you! you are an inspiration.


  8. Actually Janet, you are the inspiration! I really do think to myself 'Janet wouldn't have all this rubbish around in her serene white house' when I'm decluttering and it helps me let go of things.

    When I start to over-analyse a decluttering decision or think 'maybe I would wear it, the hem doesn't sit that badly' I think of your neat house and out it goes.

    In the past I have definitely just 'moved stuff around' and it makes me miserable looking at until the next declutter. Why, Fiona, why?

  9. Great job to recognize what works and what doesn't and to be able to let go. I do the exact same thing as you -- imagine what my IFG or IIG would have in her fabulous, but small apartment ... it really helps. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Kristi, lovely to see you, I know you've been busy. I often think of the pictures of your wardrobe when imagining how I want mine to look. You are a true decluttering inspiration! Hope your writing is going well.

  11. That's a lot done! I got a wild hair up my you-know-what two weeks ago -- the day before our neighborhood garage sale -- and I decluttered my closet of all the accessories I'd schlepped around from house to house but had refused to let go of. I lit a Diptyque candle in the closet, made a special playlist on my iPhone, poured myself a Perrier with lime, and got down to it without a whisper of sentimentality. Got rid of two big trashbags of pure junk, plus so many handbags, scarves, jewelry, shoes, etc. to sell at the garage sale. It's such a pleasure to go into the closet. I'd done well on the clothes front for years, but for whatever reason, decluttering my accessories had always been hard.

  12. M, I can't stop laughing at your descriptive sentence (the first one). I've not heard it before. Hilarious.

    Your decluttering tools sound glorious - a scented candle (Diptyque at that, they cost a fortune here, probably the same everywhere), music and Perrier. Why not make it nice.

    I agree, accessories are hard to go through. Maybe it's because they're so small you think it won't matter if you keep everything?

  13. Diptyque's are very expensive here, too, and a total indulgence. I lit a small candle, which was "only" $30, which I usually reserve for when I take baths. It was nice to use during the declutter though: every time I'd re-enter the closet for about five days afterward, I could still smell the scent. Very nice.

    I think you're right that we hang onto our accessories because they don't SEEM to take up much room. But once I got rid of them and kept only what I love and need, I realized that accessories actually can take up A LOT of room. My closet is so much nicer without all that "stuff" everywhere. And when you have too much "stuff," you don't even realize what you have that you could be using and wearing. Now I can see it all.

    I love to unearth myself from "stuff"!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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