How-To

How to Declutter Your Wardrobe: The Declutter Series: with Style Whisperer Aleksandra Olenska

Finally it’s time for us to talk about your wardrobe and how to get started and approach giving it a spring clean clear out.

This can be an overwhelming task and many people approach this by tipping the entire content of your wardrobe out onto the bed, but this is not the approach I take, since I don’t think it’s particularly realistic for most busy women to have enough time for do all that clearing out in one go and when you run out of time, you are left with a big mess that can make things worse. Keep watching to hear what I recommend for keeping yourself on track, decluttering and staying on top of the job.

Many women I help, have exploding wardrobes full of pieces they never wear, or don’t know what to do with. It can feel overwhelming, and a place of guilt or shame – for the money spent, or the weight not lost, for the lifetime of possessions weighing you down, or for the new shopping being done as you don’t really know what you have. 

What you really want is to have a more streamlined and organized wardrobe that makes you feel great – confident elegant and relevant and that represents you, in your multi-faceted self, as you are now at this point in your life. 

Your external self is an echo of your soul, so clearing out your wardrobe and make up bag, can be a deeply cathartic process, that leaves you feeling lighter, brighter and ready to shine as a true expression of yourself! 

In this video, you’ll learn my simple system for organizing your closet, so that you feel feel ready for your fabulous Next Level You, with a renewed lightness to flirt through life looking AND feeling more powerful and in control of your life and your style.

Once you’ve committed to a wardrobe declutter, the first thing to do is to make time and schedule it in the diary – that could be 30 mins a few evenings a week, or the weekend, or however much you want to commit to – because like anything else important, if it’s not planned, it’s less likely to happen! If you’re ready to see how to realistically declutter your wardrobe without the overwhelm, then watch this video.

So Hurrah Now that you’ve committed and planned in time to do this, I want you to decide what you’re going to do with your unwanted clothes and accessories…throw it away, recycle, sell it, give it away to friends, charity, a clothes bank…decluttering your wardrobe is amazing, but only if you actually get rid of the stuff afterwards! 

So this is important because you have to make that commitment to yourself…for many women getting rid of things can be a mental hurdle, so it’s great to address this from the start. 

All too often, I’ve sorted my stuff into bags to go to charity for example, and then don’t get round to it…so everytime I look at those bags ready to go to the charity shop, I feel the clutter of guilt – rather than feeling lighter, I feel heavier – and that’s the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve! 

Then what I sometimes see happen is that clothes from the charity shop or selling bag get gradually reincorporated into their wardrobe, defeating the whole point of the exercise! 

Another pitfall I see is relinquishing old clothes to the status of cleaning or gardening clothes. 

That’s ok for a few pieces, but limit yourself to 2 cleaning/gardening outfits, otherwise it’s all too easy to feel frumpy, or slip into an unwanted version of yourself. 

I mean, how many slobby cleaning clothes do you really need? 

So once you’ve decided, make sure you schedule in time for going to the clothes bank, or sending your used bras off to charity, or re-seller, or recycling point. 

Because just like anything else important to you – you’re more likely to do it, if it’s scheduled into the diary! 

Split up your wardrobe into categories according to the clothes you have – for example, shoes, jeans, knits, evening and occasional wear, gym clothes, loungewear, work only clothes…and schedule in time for each category. 

You don’t need to plan the whole thing at once, just choose a few categories to schedule in right now. 

Start with an easy win such as your underwear or socks and tights drawer – so satisfying! 

I find the ‘empty it all out onto the bed’ method can be overwhelming, and a huge undertaking, and if you don’t finish that day it can place a load onto your mind (as well as your bed!) 

So remember, you don’t have to do it all at once! 

You’re more likely to do it, if you split it up, and enjoy the amazing feeling when one section is complete. 

Celebrate the small wins section by section – it’s much more satisfying. 

Ok, so now that you’ve divided your wardrobe up into sections, and scheduled time into the diary for when you’re going to declutter each section…get yourself in the mood, then follow the yes no maybe method! 

Now that it’s scheduled in, when the time comes, get yourself into the right mood and mindset to feel lighter and brighter! Play fun music and make sure you’re wearing breathable clothes as things can warm up quickly! – 

I’d recommend wearing black leggings and a , or a jersey dress, or nice underwear and a dressing gown, so that you have a neutral base to quickly whip in and out of clothes and outfits should you need to without taking EVERYTHING on and off every time.

You don’t want to be doing this on a bad day…

Play wardrobe detective and get analytical…I love the idea of tuning into your intuition and going with what feels right for you – or sparks joy as marie Kondo puts it, but in reality that can be overly simplistic for a lot of people, especially if you’ve had a rich life already, full of wonderful experiences and memories, or are someone who is very in their heads (like me) – so I like a more structured analytical approach too. 

For me this means playing Yes No Maybe 

It’s like your very own version of the dreadful british tv show snog, marry avoid! 

A YES can mean 

Yes, I LOVE it, I wear it all the time

Yes I LOVE it, it has huge sentimental value to me 

The yes section has no buts – for example –  yes I love this ring, it has huge sentimental value for me, BUT it brings back too many sad memories, OR yes I love the colour of this top, BUT it doesn’t fit me at the moment > these belongs in maybe or no – the choice is yours! 

With the NOs

NO, it looks tired, bobbly, faded, grey

NO, it has buttons missing and I will never get around to getting them replaced > note that if you do have alterations to do with some garments – and a lot can be achieved with a good tailor, then put them aside into an alterations pile ONLY if the minute you decide to make that pile – you immediately schedule in the time to go to the retouch – your alterations people or tailor, and likewise schedule a pick up or delivery of the pieces afterwards. Otherwise you’re just adding to the mental clutter of your headspace – and the already busy load. 

NO, I feel bad because I bought it and never wore it (it still has the tags on,) but it doesn’t feel like me. Give yourself permission to purge! 

A NO can also look like, it’s much too small and cannot be altered 

Nos also mean throwing away the micro-anxieties! You might remember micro-anxieties from my home declutter video…in your wardrobe they can show up as tights that gather at the ankles, or don’t stay up, as a skirt that’s a bit too tight, as a jumper that has a great style, but is really itchy even though the label says cashmere…It’s time to get rid of them – Micro anxieties begone!

A Maybe may be 

I never wear this because I don’t know what to do with it, I don’t know how to wear it, but I still love it  

I love this vintage beaded dress, but it’s falling apart, and I don’t think it can be fixed.  

Maybe when I lose weight 

Maybe I’ll keep it for cleaning clothes 

The buts can go here – that top that you adore, but it doesn’t fit you at the moment…

Does this resonate with you? What do you find to be the best part of decluttering your wardrobe? Let me know in the comments below! And if you’re ready to declutter then write YES in the comments! 

Ok, so obviously, you’re going to keep the yes’s and put them neatly back into your wardrobe. 

More on that in another video, and the nos you’ve already decided what you’re doing with them…So, what to do with the maybes! 

I’d like you to THINK LIKE AN EDITOR and Accept, change or edit it out, and then embrace extreme acceptance. 

As a stylist and fashion editor for magazines such as Vogue, sometimes a piece would come – I remember an amazing red tulle dress for example that I loved, but it just didn’t fit in with the rest of the shoot, it didn’t tell the story I wanted it to tell, and so I had to accept that it didn’t work, change it for something else or mix it with different things to make it work, or edit it out…it’s about taking action and then embracing that decision wholeheartedly and moving forward!

For you, ACCEPT can look like if you actively intend to lose weight, and are putting the plan into action then great – put those ‘maybe’ pieces that you love don’t fit you right now on pause…

This is where you rest those pieces – you put them on pause – so you put them away (in a box under the bed or in the attic or garage for example,) until you reach the goal you have set for yourself in terms here of losing weight and fitting them again. 

If you don’t meet that goal, then it’s time to give yourself grace and ACCEPT that – because you too want to be telling your story as you are now through your style…so Embrace extreme acceptance and be kind to yourself, and edit out those pieces by getting rid of them 

If you have a few things you like but are unsure of…ACCEPT that you are unsure, and make an action plan to put them on pause for a set amount of time, and see if you miss them…and if next season, or next year you’ve not worn them, then get rid of them.

Whatever you do though – don’t rest everything! That’s a cop out! 

CHANGE can look like changing the way you see a garment by mixing it with something different – a sparkly top with jeans for example, or changing the usage of it – framing a 1920s beaded dress for instance. 

For pieces you love that have sentimental value, make a treasure chest for yourself, in an accessible but pit away place (such as under the bed) so that you can open it up, and experience the warmth of memories they evoke. 

You can get creative – and have your favourite falling to pieces vintage made into a cushion or frame some of the fabric (don’t forget to take it to a framers, or buy the frames straight away!)

You can also put some of those sentimental accessoires or keepsakes on display – framed or in framed boxes for example, like a modern day cabinet of personal curiosities. 

It’s a way of surrounding yourself by the happy momentos of the past, whilst also moving forward to your future. 

In my Next Level You method, we work with the neuroplasticity of the brain, to change belief systems, through our engagement with our possessions as a physical manifestation of our desires. 

It’s about intentionality – using objects, the clothes and accessories we choose to wear, and the stuff we surround ourselves with in our homes and at work, to empower us to be our next level selves…by getting rid of pieces with negative emotions, and surrounding yourself by happy memories – and the prospect of new positive vibes, you can bring more love, peace, confidence and self acceptance to your next level you! 

Within CHANGE You can also embrace Permission to Play

With the pieces that you love but don’t wear because you don’t know what to do with them -it’s time to play!  

  • One piece at a time, try mixing a maybe piece that you don’t know what to do with, with your YES pile…try mixing it with staples that you wear everyday – jeans for example, and a blazer. 

  • Have fun and play with it with a lighthearted spirit! 

  • It can help to take pictures of yourself to get more of an objective viewpoint. And when you feel great in something, snap it too, and add it to your smile folder in your phone to look back on when you feel stuck or in need of a boost! 

-If after this you still feel unsure, don’t know what to do with them, it’s time to retire them – pop them in the NO pile and begone!  

Et voila! Enjoy feeling lighter and brighter, and if you’re in the groove and ready to declutter other areas of your life, to feel even more fabulous – then watch my next video! 

Declutter your make up bag too! 

External Self
your Wardrobe, your Appearance, your Style 

It’s time to step into the shoes of your new style, so lets make room for it! 

Split up your wardrobe into categories according to the clothes you have, and start with your underwear drawer – so satisfying! 

Throw away, recycle or donate anything you haven’t worn for the past year, or doesn’t fit you (unless you can get it altered immediately). If a garment needs altering, for example a button has come off, or the hem is coming down – schedule a specific time to take them to alterations – otherwise, get rid of them. 

  • *  Knicker drawer 
  • *  Socks and tights 
  • *  Shoes 
  • *  Jeans 
  • *  Trousers 
  • *  Gym wear – e.g. Leggings, sports bras 

Home wear – pajamas, nightdresses and jerseys – comfort clothes are important, but limit the slob-wear! 

  • *  Specialized clothing (e.g. Hiking/sports/ holiday wear/bathing suits and bikinis/ ski wear) 
  • *  Accessories (split up according to your wardrobe. E.g. fine jewelry, costume jewelry, scarves, hats, and gloves)

* Skirts
* Dresses
* Knitwear
* Shirts and tops
* Evening wear
* Coats and jackets 

* At home clothes – the sort of old clothes you might keep to do the chores, or wear for cleaning. Limit yourself to 2 outfits otherwise you’ll too easily feel frumpy, or slip into the old you. 

* Handbag – de-clutter weekly! No one wants to be rummaging for a dingy hair bobble or tissue at the bottom of her handbag! 

Lots of love xoxo Aleksandra

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