It’s April 1, and it’s time to unveil the next clutter area in the 2013 Declutter Challenge.
This one may well be a goldmine of items to add to your yearly total.
In April we’re focusing on the Wardrobes, Accessories and Shoes of the entire family. To jump straight into it, you can download April’s checklist here or find the full list, as well as added tips and suggestions below.
(If you haven’t started the challenge yet, it’s never too late to join. Head over here to find the first four checklists, as well as the Slow Your Home forums, where many of us are keeping track of the clutter leaving our homes.)
March, the month of bedrooms, was a tricky one in our house.
Our bedrooms have already been stripped back to clean and simple – this being my second year of the challenge – and there wasn’t a lot of clutter to be found.
I did, however, manage to find a whole heap of other stuff. I am astounded at how much we can still rid ourselves of, even after more than two years of simplifying.
It’s not that we are acquiring more – we’ve become quite good at not bringing things in that we don’t need – but our boundaries for what we need are shifting. Things we ‘needed’ six months ago are being donated or sold without second thought now.
This month I…
- serving bowl
- baby bath
- kids clothes x 3
- my clothes x 4
- linen x 9
- table linen x 8
- books x 2
- shoes x 1
- accessories x 4
Gave Away (to friends and family):
- my clothes x 3
- linen x 7
- handmade artwork
- out of date perfume x 2
TOTAL: 45 items
Progress to Date: 492 unwanted items are gone!
(And it still feels good.)
Now April is the Month of…
For many, wardrobes are inextricably tied with emotion.
The passage of time, the changes we move through as we grow older and perhaps have kids, fluctuating waistlines, failures and wins, periods of happiness or sadness, health or illness. The clothes we wear can conjure up all sorts of emotions.
If you’re keen to get right into your wardrobe, you can jump over to the April checklist right here. (Just click the link and the list will start downloading automatically.) Otherwise, read on for a more in-depth look at tackling the wardrobes in your home.
The amount of time you need to set aside for this month’s challenge depends on:
- your current wardrobe situation – is it stuffed to the brim with clothes, or is it manageable?
- your current circumstances – do you have lots of different clothing needs (officewear, exercise gear, weekend wear) or do you wear similar clothes most days?
- the number of kids you have, if any.
- whether you will be tackling your partner’s wardrobe too (hint: let them see your efforts pay off first, then they may be inspired into action themselves.)
- your goals – do you want a minimalist capsule wardrobe, or are you simply looking to clear out the items that are no longer worn?
As a ballpark figure though, I suggest you put aside 2-3 hours for your wardrobe (easily broken up into smaller chunks), plus an extra 1-2 hours for your kids. That may vary enormously for you, and if it does, I’d love you to let me know via the comments.
How to Declutter a Wardrobe
There are two ways to go about decluttering your wardrobe, depending on the time you have on hand and the space within which you can work.
Before you do anything though, grab yourself three plastic bags or boxes. One is for donations, another for throwing away (items that aren’t redeemable or cannot be repaired) and the third is for storage (items you aren’t sure about yet).
Once you’ve got those in place, you can either:
1. Work your way through each section of the wardrobe one by one – not moving on until the current section is complete and any items you are keeping are put back in place – OR
2. Clear your bed and dump the entire contents of your wardrobe there, working through the pile piece by piece.
Either way, commit to not putting anything back into your wardrobe until you have asked yourself the following questions:
- Have I worn this in the last year? No? Then let it go.
- Is it in good condition? If not, do I love it enough to have it repaired? No? Let it go.
- Do I feel good wearing this? This is a big one – it doesn’t matter how beautiful it is, unless you feel good wearing it, it will languish in the back of your wardrobe, taunting you. Let it go.
- Does it fit me well? Again, it doesn’t matter how gorgeous it is or how much it cost, if it doesn’t fit well, then you won’t wear it. Let it go.
- Is there a good reason to keep it? If it is in incredibly good condition, is very well made, and is a classic style (think black blazer, little black dress, black pumps) then you may want to keep it. But unless it is all of those things, then let it go.
3. Don’t put the item down until you have decided where it goes. If you decide to keep it, then return it to the correct spot in your wardrobe, otherwise put it in your donate or throw away bag.
4. If you’re really torn, you can add things to the third box. Put the box away for six months (put a reminder on your phone or in your diary) and if there’s nothing you need/want in it over that time, you can safely donate everything in there, without opening it.
5. Once you’ve finished going through your clothes, accessories and shoes, you can quickly look over your “keep it…for now” pile and weed out anything you’ve kept in a weak moment. I find that once I’m in the zone, decisions come much more easily.
The April Declutter Checklist
These are the areas of your wardrobes that you will need to work through.
Your Wardrobe/Partner’s Wardrobe:
- folded items
- exercise gear
- hanging items
- occasional items – gowns, formal wear
Items in Storage:
- seasonal clothes
- seasonal accessories
- limited use clothes – maternity wear, snow gear
- too-small or too-large clothing
- sentimental clothing – band tshirts, school uniforms
- gardening/craft clothes
- too-large items – store quality items for when they will fit
- too-small items – keep quality items for younger siblings or donate
- wet weather gear
- snow gear
- beach wear
Again, the April Checklist can be found here.
If you’re working through the checklists and want some added accountability or inspiration, you can keep count of the items you recycle, donate, sell or throw away and share your progress with us in the 2013 Declutter Challenge forums.
I’d love to hear how you go this month – leave a note in the comments with your tally, or let me know where you struggled.