You’ve had enough of me right?
Welcome to a new series – Declutter Queen [or King!] – that features YOU readers. It’s time to share some stories about minimal magic-making.
First up, Lucy J.
Back in August, Lucy from Lucy J Loves took on a wardrobe de-cluttering project [inspired in part by Fashionably Light! So honoured.]. I had a chat with her about her experience. Enjoy!
What made you decide to clear out your wardrobe? What were the motives behind your project?
Lucy: I have a small flat and – due to my sixth sense: bargain spotting – a massive collection of clothes. These things do not mix well. I hate clutter and mess, and because of my habit of accumulating beautiful things, I was finding it hard to keep our home organised.
So, I admitted to myself that my wardrobe was the easiest place to start. I’d been inspired by the ideas about simplifying and reducing on Fashionably Light. I was also been spurred on by listening to a chapter in Gala Darling’s audiobook Love and Sequins about self-presentation – that’s where I got the idea to photograph my outfits for a month to see what I wore most, what suited me and what didn’t.
Tell us about your decluttering strategy.
Lucy: I find it best to have a solid, measurable goal, so I decided that I was going to cut down my collection by a third. I counted every item [underwear and accessories don’t count!] and started dividing things into three sections, starting with ‘the devil himself will not part me from this’ [ie. the things I wear all the time, and the higher quality items that I rely on for special occasions].
Then I grabbed the easy targets and got rid of anything that didn’t fit, was too faded or bobbly, or made me feel uncomfortable [I don’t get on well with synthetic materials]. So that left a massive pile of ‘maybe’ items, which is where it got tough… It had to come down to:
- When did you wear it last? Honestly?
- Would you miss it if it disappeared? Stop lying.
- Do you already have three similar things?
- Bottom line: meet the target. If in doubt, chuck it in the ‘Charity’ bag then don’t think about it again.
Anything that really had to be kept for nostalgic reasons has been put aside. I have a few upcycling ideas to put into practice so my craft attempts will be appearing on Lucy J Loves at some point too.
What did you learn from the experience? What challenged or surprised you?
Lucy: The sheer volume of stuff I’ve amassed during my first two years in London was a shock. I had to have a huge decluttering session before I moved here, giving things away or putting them into storage. We were moving from a two-bedroom house to a one-bedroom flat, so I made myself a capsule wardrobe of mostly black and white outfits.
To discover that in two short years I now had 180 items… I felt like I should be wearing the Cone of Shame. But I was also surprised when I did my tally at the end – I’d managed to cut down by over a third. No doubt my Ebay and charity shop addiction will mean this kind of clear-out will have to happen a couple of times a year to keep my closet clutter-free.
I may have accidentally bought some Vivenne Westwood glitter wellies yesterday for £16. It’s winter though, I need to keep my toes dry, right?
What does your wardrobe look like now?
Lucy: It’s far from empty, but there’s more space to see what’s in there – so it’s easier to find a certain top (or remember that I even own it). Things don’t get so rumpled because they’re not so crammed in.
It also looks a lot more colourful. After taking photos of my outfits for a month I realised that I should be wearing more colour, so out went a lot of faded old black crap.
I used to have to divide my wardrobe into work appropriate/not, but now I have a new job where the dress code is pretty casual, so the pencil skirts and shift dresses are getting much less use and the jeans are front and centre, which is a nice change!
Read about Lucy’s decluttering project here. Want to be the next Declutter Queen? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org :)