Chances are, if you’re like most people, you can probably relate to at least one of these wardrobe problems:
- You have so many clothes that even just opening your closet feels slightly overwhelming. You’ve kept every impulse buy you’ve ever made, hoarded items from your high school days and there’s a pretty significant percentage of your wardrobe you haven’t worn in years.
- There are a few staples or essential items that you know you need, but you just never seem to get around to buying. You always have the time to buy another cocktail dress though!
- You wear the same seven or eight outfits pretty much on rotation (either because it makes deciding what to wear in the morning easier, or because your closet is too full or disorganised to find other options).
- You have multiple items in your closet that you had forgotten even existed.
If any of these sound familiar to you, it’s probably time for a wardrobe stocktake.
So, what’s a wardrobe stocktake you ask? Well, it’s essentially an inventory count of all the items in your wardrobe. It gives you a full picture of all the outfit options that your wardrobe currently has on offer, plus what you need to buy and what you should throw away. If you’re bored on a Sunday and feeling in the mood for some spring cleaning, here’s how you can use a stocktake to edit your wardrobe for the better.
Step 1. Get in the zone
We all have our own way of making tasks fun, whether it’s by blasting your favourite Spotify playlist, singing to yourself or putting on a new podcast or audiobook, get yourself in the zone for some spring cleaning.
Step 2. Gather all your clothes and shoes together
And I mean ALL of them. Everything in your closet, your drawers, or hidden away in storage. If your clothing is already fairly organised (e.g. all your shorts are kept in one drawer), keep it that way as you gather everything together.
"Building a proper wardrobe is like building a home. Indeed, you should think of it like a home, because it is something you're going to live in. It must be comfortable and suit all your needs."
- Edith Head
Step 3. Organise your clothes into piles
Your piles may start off with some general groupings – such as pants, tops, dresses, active wear – but get more specific as you move along. So, your pile of pants may be divided into work pants, jeans, ¾ pants, etc. The more specific you get, the easier it will be to identify what your wardrobe does and doesn’t need.
Keep in mind that some items may fall under more than one category (a top may come under both active wear and singlet, for example) so make the call on how you want to categorise your clothing as you go along.
Step 4. Start counting!
Once you’ve got your clothes into piles, it’s time to start counting. Grab a pen and some paper and make a count of the number of clothing items in each pile specific to style. For example, your list may look something like:
- 24 outer layers (4 jackets, 12 jerseys, 5 cardigans, 3 sweatshirts)
- 38 tops (8 singlets, 15 t-shirts, 15 long sleeved tops)
- 30 dresses (15 cocktail, 10 short summer, 5 maxi)
- 10 skirts (2 pencil, 3 long, 5 a-line/short)
And so on. Keep counting until your entire wardrobe is documented on paper!
Step 5. Assess your wardrobe needs
You should now have a pretty comprehensive list of what’s in your wardrobe, so it’s the perfect opportunity to assess if there’s anything that your wardrobe needs. Is there anything that’s not on your list or that’s looking a bit slim in numbers? You might find, for example, that you don’t have a warm winter jacket or a nice pair of sandals for summer. If so, you can now make that a priority for your next shopping list!
Step 6. Pair up new outfit combos
It’s not often you’ve got your entire wardrobe fresh in your mind, so now’s the time to find some awesome new outfit choices. It may be that you’ve unearthed some cute tops that you’d totally forgotten about, or found a jacket you hadn’t realised would go great with your newest pair of pants.
One of the best parts of doing a wardrobe stocktake is that even if you throw some clothes away, you often end up expanding your wardrobe choices, simply by finding new combinations or bringing old favourites back out of hibernation. Feel free to try different outfits on and experiment!
PS. LOOK BOOK APPROVE IT: Snap some mirror selfies in your fave new outfit combos and organise on your phone for future reference. You can learn more about that in my Wardrobe Transformation Rules post.
Step 7. Be ruthless
Now for the hard part - throwing away what you don’t need. This is the time to be ruthless; remember, you decided to do a stocktake for a reason! If there are items of clothing that you haven’t worn for years and can’t picture yourself wearing anytime soon, don’t hold back in putting them in the reject pile. Trust me, you won’t miss them, and you can use the vacant space in your wardrobe for new clothing that better aligns with your current needs and tastes.
If you find it hard to throw things away, it can help to put your rejected clothes towards a good cause rather than just straight in the bin. Consider selling your clothes on an online platform or give them away to a second-hand store. Even if you don’t want or need them anymore, someone else will!
"You'll never find something to wear that makes you feel beautiful, smart, or loved if you don't believe that you already are."
Feeling good? Feeling fresh?
Tell us how you get on in the comments below.
Oh, and share this with someone whose been wearing the same thing for 3 weeks.
(All in the name of fun, expressive dressing and love!)