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How to Achieve a Successful Wardrobe Cleanse or Purge

Updated on August 29, 2017
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Fashion and Style Blogger at Inez | My Small World. I am a curious learner and educator.

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Why Should I Dump Out My Entire Wardrobe?

Taking inspiration from the book, A Woman's Guide to a Simpler Life by Andrea Van Steenhouse, PH.D. with Doris A. Fuller, which I began reading recently. I began a blog series on Simplifying Our Ornamental Life as was the chapter of the book on which I’m currently meditating. I dumped out my entire wardrobe. Well, almost all of it, and here I share how I achieved that and what I did with the items I cleansed off. What prompted my wardrobe purge and cleanse? An overwhelming itch to liberate myself from years of clutter. You see for years, like you, I had accumulated clothing items for varied purposes. Some I bought for functionality like the weather or work uniform and some I had bought due to emotional distress. Unashamedly, I have items I had bought simply to impress someone or in the hope that I’d be blessed by a hope or expectation. Some of the items in my wardrobe got there as gifts, some of which were put to use and some not. I have come to believe this is almost same for majority of women

Do You Find it Difficult To Concentrate? Is it due to Clutter?

As I have grown older and gradually approach my thirties, I find that I have developed a strong enough sense of identity to no longer give in to dressing like everyone around me. Not that I did so often, but there were moments I allowed the influence. As I teach secondary school I have come to observe that in the quest to not be or feel left out, a number of teenagers want to wear what their peers wear, do what they do and even act as they act. In a lot of ways society allows this. I cannot say whether it’s good or bad, but I observed that these teens who fervently follow the crowd become lost as young adults when they finally move away from the crowd to become their own person. Their own person? What does that mean? They have been Dory, Franca and Trisha. Who are they themselves when they are not these people? The struggle to find a sense of identity begins and so they purchase whatever feels like them at any given moment. They buy the shoes because the sales person says it will look good on them. They buy the shirt because the girl that seems in the spotlight is wearing one. The struggle to find ourselves go on until hopefully at some point we have a defining moment and settle into whom we have become. Unfortunately, by the time this happens we would find we have a wardrobe filled with everything and everyone we had always wanted to become or wanted to please.

At What Point Do You Begin to Desire a Free Mind in Your Home?

At this point the clutter begins to impact our minds and clog our thought processes.

Have You Begun to Evade Your Wardrobe?

We might even find ourselves evading our wardrobes and settling for the few clothes we hang on a separate rack. We might even give that a stylish name and call the selection a capsule wardrobe and that’s alright so long as it remains capsule. Many times these lingering bits of clothing from when we tried so hard to be everybody else but us prevent us from being authentically our own self. It is at this juncture of self-discovery that we come to realize we are in dire need of a wardrobe cleanse.

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Everything You Need to Achieve an Effective Wardrobe Cleanse.

What is a Wardrobe Cleanse?

The word cleanse means a period of time during which a person attempts to rid the body of substances regarded as toxic or unhealthy. There are various areas of a person’s life or lifestyle that will require cleansing at one point or the other. It could be the colon, the people in a person’s life, the diet or non-diet, the profession or in the case of this article, the wardrobe.

Why Should I Do a Wardrobe Cleanse?

To announce yourself to the world, instead of announcing somebody else.

Every human’s lifestyle evolves. No one stays stagnant. No one remains exactly as is for 5, 10 or 15 years. As we evolve, the things that used to be enough for the person that we were no longer becomes enough for the person that we are. Yet, we find that we hold on to those things that represent whom we were. To wardrobe cleanse is to let go of whom we were so that we can fully settle into who we are right now. It’s the only way we can progress and move past all the debris cluttering our minds and home.

Yes, sometimes it may seem or it may truly be that whom we were was better (that’s usually when it’s harder to cleanse) than who we are right now. We hold on to the hope that we will get back there and yes, wouldn’t it be better that when we do get back we get back with the best of us?

For those who do not need to get back to whom they were, wardrobe cleansing helps streamline whom you are right now so that you are not a greyhound announcing yourself as a Pekingese or a Pekingese announcing yourself as a greyhound if that is not your intention.


Are You a Greyhound or a Pekingese?

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Ready to Achieve a Wardrobe Cleanse?

How Do I Do a Wardrobe Cleanse?

Depending on the size of your wardrobe you might do it alone, enlist the help of a loved one or a professional stylist. Either way, always begin in sections. It would defeat the purpose if you dumped it all out on the floor and then feel too tired to process each item effectively.

The steps to a successful wardrobe cleanse are as follows:

  1. Sit at a desk and get a writing pad/jotter and a pen
  2. Know why you want a wardrobe cleanse. Write it down.
  3. Know where you want the cleansed items to go. Write it down in bullet points. E.g. To a charity. To a consignment store. To your home store. To loved ones etc. and then have one bullet point labeled ‘control’
  4. Get containers, baskets, large waste bags or cardboard boxes and label each with the bullet points you’ve made above.
  5. Know how many days or weeks or months you can effectively achieve your goal. Note that a tired mind achieves nothing, but have a fixed date. E.g 8th of August.
  6. Now, take your wardrobe in sections, starting from a box of clothes or the section close to the door. Toss every item into one of the boxes and proceed until you get to the last shoe or earring.
  7. If you finished earlier than your fixed date. Chill, relax. Let everything be. Don’t forget the clothes or items in the laundry or with the cobbler. You will be tempted to move things around from container or basket to basket. It’s alright play with it until the ‘8th of August’, but do not return anything to your wardrobe just yet.
  8. On your fixed date, i.e, 8th of August, place a phone call to all the bullet pointed labels and tell them when to collect the container you have for them. i.e, call the charity, call the loved ones, call the consignment store……. And take the home store label to your store in the basement or attic or backyard.
  9. After all the labelled bags have been carried by their new owners you will be left with ‘control’
  10. Get new containers and begin from step 3 down to step 9 of this article for the ‘control’ container. This time you give yourself only one week to send the items to their new owners and what is left in the new control bag is yours to keep; to rearrange in your now cleansed wardrobe.

Are You Cleansed Yet or Are You Still Waiting in Line?

Fun Silly Quiz: Greyhound vs Pekingese


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© 2017 Inez Anigbogu

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    • mactavers profile image

      mactavers 2 months ago

      I wrote a Hub on the reasons I cleaned my closet last year. My approach was slightly different, and my reasons were slightly different, but having everything in its place is a real time and money saver.