There’s nothing more satisfying than having a thorough wardrobe clear out. And after reading Holly Ounstead’s blog post, Three Questions You Need Answered to Achieve Wardrobe Bliss” we were inspired to write one of our own.

Read on to discover the best method for clearing out your wardrobe and how to responsibly pass on the clothing you no longer want through our free, fast, home pick up initiative with Traid. Our copywriter, Clare has put this wardrobe clear out to the test, so we’ve also shared the notes that she made along the way.

wardrobe clear out

Wardrobe Clear Out: Pass your unwanted clothes to Traid

Figure out what works for you

Start by breaking your wardrobe down into sections; tops, bottoms, shoes, outerwear etc. You’ll soon start to see a pattern – take note of the styles, shapes and lengths you always wear and consider why you wear them. By working out the items you wear repeatedly, you’ll see which styles you are most comfortable in, whether that’s oversized, tight-fitting, long, cropped, flat or heeled. These are the styles that you should use as your foundation for building a wardrobe around.

wardrobe clear out

Edit your wardrobe down

The next step of the wardrobe clear out is to consider which items you don’t wear. There may be pieces that you love the idea of, but that never leave your wardrobe. Having these kind of pieces in your wardrobe just makes dressing more difficult. So to begin editing your wardrobe down, organise your clothing into four different piles:

Pile 1: “I love these items, they fit me well and I wear them often.” – These are the items to keep.

Pile 2: “I like these styles and I want to keep them but I’m not sure why.” – Box these items away and take another look at them in the next couple of months to re assess.

Pile 3: “I barely wear these styles/ they don’t fit me/ they aren’t really my style.” – Donate these items or swap them with your friends.

Pile 4: “These items are damaged/ aren’t in good condition.” – Recycle the textiles.

If you’re someone that likes to keep clothing ‘just in case’, then a good rule of thumb is to work out which pieces you haven’t worn in the last 12 months. These are the items that you are unlikely to wear again and that should go into piles 2 or 3.

wardrobe clear out

Our copywriter, Clare tried and tested the ‘four pile’ method. Here are her notes…

“This is a task I’ve been putting off for years. It took 30 mins to get everything out of my hanging wardrobe and sort it into piles. In less than 45 minutes a third of my rail was gone! I immediately had an edited mini wardrobe – and instantly felt better for it. I noticed that piles 2 and 3 were the biggest – full of impulse buys and things that just aren’t ‘me’.

A style preference very quickly emerged. I already knew I love jumpsuits, culottes, over-sized pieces, and keeping colour to accessories. This exercise really hammered that home to me. And that I will never wear a pencil skirt or blazer – they’re just not my style.

“Making notes along the way is key. It’s a really, really helpful reminder. And keeping them in my head isn’t going to be enough. I already have a ‘things that are missing from my wardrobe’ list on my phone. I’m going to add ‘styles to avoid’ and some of the things I’ve learned about what works for me and what doesn’t.

“Dresses. I knew I didn’t wear them. I REALLY don’t wear them. I will not be buying them after giving so few of what’s left in my wardrobe to charity.

“I learned I do like colour, but I just don’t wear it. So my mind set of keeping it to accessories – like shoes, bags, headscarves – that’s the way for me.”

Be responsible about what you do with the clothes you no longer want

“People all over the world aren’t thriving in our clothes, they are drowning in them. When it comes to clothes, choosing where they will end up is as important as knowing where they came from.” – Fashion Revolution

It’s inevitable that the clothes you love will start to show signs of wear and tear sooner or later. But don’t let a rip, a stain or a missing button stand in the way of you and a good outfit. Consider whether you can repurpose or repair the items that you no longer want. It’s so easy to re-stitch a missing button, sew a patch onto your ripped jeans or darn your holey socks. Another option is upcycling: can you make the piece of clothing into something else? Check out our DIY Bobble Hat Tutorial or our DIY Upcycled Shirt Tutorial for inspiration.

wardrobe clear out

If you really aren’t able to fix or repurpose the clothing item, then why not get creative in how you get rid of the clothes you no longer want? For example, you could try organising clothing swaps with your friends. This can be a wonderfully fun and sociable way to refresh your wardrobe – and it’s totally free!

Another option for unwanted clothing, is to pass the items on to organisations like Traid, who focus on the reuse and recycling of clothing. They request donations of clothing, shoes or homeware, to re-sell in their stores. To help you pass your unwanted clothing on responsibly, (as well as reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill), we’ve launched our new Pass Me On initiative in collaboration with Traid. Discover more about our initiative below.

wardrobe clear out

Passing your clothing on responsibly: our Traid initiative

“Being responsible about the clothes we buy also extends to being responsible about what we do with the clothes we no longer want.” – Traid

With our Pass Me On initiative, you can now easily and responsibly donate the clothes you no longer want to wear. If you live in London and the South East, all you need to do is book a collection with Traid either online, by phone (020 8733 2595) or by email and they will collect the items from your doorstep at no cost.

Simply make sure you have at least one large bin liner sized bag of quality clothes or shoes to donate, although it really helps Traid if it’s more. And remember, these clothes don’t need to be Thought, they can be any brand.

What’s more, we are able to track all clothing collected from Thought customers. This means we will be regularly sharing with you how much waste you’ve saved from landfill and how much money you’ve raised for Traid. All money raised will be put into an education programme to teach people of all ages about the impacts of clothing on people and the environment, and give people the tools and skills to live more sustainably. Click here to organise a Traid collection!

For the future

Don’t forget to be mindful when you are next out shopping, or browsing the internet. Read my Conscious Shopping Guide to discover more about how to shop thoughtfully and how to avoid impulse-buying.

Hannah wardrobe clear out

Have you tried a wardrobe clear out? Let us know how it went in the comments below or tweet us @wearethought.