It had to happen. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and disorganised. Since I did my image training back in 2009, I have been shopping, shopping, shopping.
I’ve been adding beautiful clothes, (that I love) into my pretty large, but full-to-capacity wardrobe for over 8 years.
You see I had this thing – a voice in my head. It’s my job. I need to have lots of new clothes ALL the time.
But this summer, I reached crisis point. When I returned from my summer holiday, having taken a carefully thought out capsule wardrobe away with me and having SO enjoyed mixing and matching from the pieces I packed, I took one look at my gargantous collection of clothes and realised something needed to change.
It wasn’t as simple as just having a big clear-out. I love everything. I wear everything. But because I have so much, there aren’t enough days in a week (or month!) to have the time to wear it all often enough. And this doesn’t feel good. It feels like a waste.
And that’s when I came up with the idea of ‘archiving’. So in today’s blog I am going to share with you my archiving process and how it now feels to have more space, less clutter and (in a way), more outfit options.
Step 1: The new season switch around.
The first thing I did was remove all the clothes that are specifically suited to summer, to make room for the colder weather pieces I was storing somewhere else.
I went through each piece to decide whether I still loved it and if it was in good enough condition to see me through another summer.
A few pieces were packed into charity bags and the rest has gone into the place I store out of season clothes, but this time, I separated them into ‘general summer clothes’ and ‘holiday specific clothes’. This will help come next spring/summer when I am doing the next switch around.
Then I took a good look at the pieces I had left that can be worn all year round. I double checked these items too by asking myself ‘do I still love it?’ and ‘is it still in good condition?’
A few pieces were packed up for charity and the rest, along with my autumn/winter clothes were laid out ready for my new archiving process.
Step 2: What’s in and what’s OUT
I felt like Simon Cowell, I took each piece and decided whether it was through to the next round (i.e. going into the wardrobe) or if it was to be ‘archived’. If I knew I’d be wearing a piece in the next few weeks, I kept it out, and anything that I hadn’t worn much last winter or was unlikely to be suitable for what’s going on in my diary for the foreseeable future went into archive.
The archived pieces are accessible but not on view. I’ve used two storage boxes that fit nicely on the top shelf of my wardrobe for these pieces. If something has been archived and I haven’t looked for it or missed it, or chosen to add it to my wardrobe when I archive some other pieces later in the season, it can go to charity (or be sold) next spring.
I plan to repeat this process when it’s time to get the warmer weather clothes out again and gradually my collection will be thinned out – actually it won’t….I will continue to buy new pieces, but not at the rate I have been and in a much more considered way.
I have a Pinterest board which I’ve been adding to over the last few weeks. I do a LOT of online browsing for my clients and if I see anything I like, I pop it on my board. Then I spend a bit of time deciding when, where and how I will wear it before I hit the buy button. This process has made me much more discerning.
Long may it last!
Step 3: Every day decisions
And now, when I open my wardrobe, I see fewer clothes (but still plenty to fulfil my need for variety), which means that I am choosing what to wear each day more quickly. I’m making even more new combinations than before because I can see everything very easily and it motivates me to try to give everything an outing. It makes me sad to think of clothes never getting worn and not experiencing life outside the wardrobe!
At the end of each day as I get ready for bed, I decide whether I have enjoyed wearing each piece. If it’s a no, it goes. It’s a simple as that. I’ve already got rid of two tops that I have had for years and liked but when I really tuned into how they worked for me throughout the day, one kept needing readjusting and the other was slightly too big for me so not as flattering as some of the other shirts I have. These sorts of things have gone unnoticed for too long. I have upped my fussiness game.
So, if like me, you feel as though you are drowning under too many lovely clothes, try my archiving process. It took a while to sort out but I am SO pleased with the results.
Comment below and tell me if this resonates with you? Are you going to give archiving a go?
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This is such a simple but effective idea. I am going to start doing mine this weekend. I am also going to do the same with shoes. I have so many pairs that I love but my feet don’t, so they are still unworn, these need to go through the archiving process too.
Thanks for your comment Shirley, let me know how you get on. Its working very well for me so far! x
Great Idea Helen – got the problem which is I have always archived my summer clothes and still (particularly since our fab shopping day) still have a wardrobe rammed to the rafters with clothes. So…. what now?
Give this a go Elizabeth, it will really help you to thin things out without the scary feeling of getting rid of things you still love x
Love this blog Helen. Sometimes I just cannot make myself give something away – just in case!! If this is the case I pop it in a suitcase in the loft. If I forget about it and have not needed it by the next time I use the case. It goes to the charity shop. Occasionally I fall in love with it again and start wearing it again.
Thanks for your comment Jo. It sounds as though you’ve been archiving for a while. Love it! x
I’ve been hanging onto summer! Time now to put summer away and sort through the winter clothes. Your blog came at the right time to start me on my seasonal changeover. I like the idea of archiving. Thank you Helen.
Glad to have popped up at the right time Nicky. Good luck with the changeover. It was great to see you at the event last month! x
Thank you Helen. Your suggestions extend my seasonal changes to my wardrobe. I love…do I like the piece? the end of the day question. Masterly
It’s a really good habit to get into Bridget. You might be surprised at the things you decide aren’t good enough to stay!
Love this Helen. Going to swing into action this weekend! Wardrobe groaning at seams!
Let me know how it goes Zoe! X
Well done Helen! I have been switching summer and winter wardrobes for a while now, probably as I have too many clothes in general. I say I am ruthless when switching over into seasons-but in honesty I probably just pack them up and just not ruthless enough! So here I go!! Wish me luck! Karen x
Good luck Karen! Let me know how you get on! x
I’m so frustrated all my lovely clothes being squashed and sharing hangers! I love the idea of this archiving method, I’m going to start this weekend. The question is, where to store the boxes! I’m going try and source the under bed sliding boxes.
Thanks Helen, you’re a super star! Love your blogs! x
Ah that’s lovely! Thanks Octavia, I’m so pleased you are finding my blogs useful. Under the bed boxes are a great idea and then things are within easy reach if you need them. x
Great idea, I definitely need to try it.