Consumption to Conservation: Sorting Through Your Wardrobe

Is your collection of clothes bordering on excessive? Wondering how to reduce it? Look no further! Here are some top tips for sorting through those endless piles.


It’s important now more than ever to keep track of our wardrobes. It’s easy to fall victim to the rapidly changing trends of the fashion industry today, so what better time to sort through old clothes. Recycling clothes is clearly the way forward, but how do we know what to give up? Many charities would swoon at our donations! Likewise, endless sustainability companies are looking to purchase your old bits and bobs, repurpose them, upsell them, etc. You may even be aware of a local homeless shelter currently accepting donations. It’s a very wholesome thing to do, and, in a way, you’re saying thanks for the opportunities you had with those clothes and wishing them farewell with their new owner (without it sounding like a ‘congrats on your new job card’…)


The best place to start is by carving out some time to try everything on! Yeah, I get that it’s going to be long and tedious trying on your entire wardrobe, but our bodies are constantly changing, and that shifty washer/dryer situ might not be helping the way you think. I have some dire stories relating to the university washing machines and some unfortunate clothing mishaps… but anyways! This is where to start. It will be time-consuming, but it’s better to get it all out the way in a lump sum rather than piling it on the designated chair for ‘tomorrow’.


Will I ever wear this again?


Take a long think and ask yourself, do I feel confident enough to keep this? This may seem daunting, but it’s easy for us to purchase statement pieces on a whim that we maybe know we don’t feel 100% in but are keeping it on the off chance you have a confidence breakthrough. This isn’t the most light-hearted of the suggestions, but I can speak from experience that confidence doesn’t always come around – which is entirely okay! It’s a journey, after all.


Get rid of it if you haven’t worn it at least 30 times this year. Okay, this one is pretty simple. If you’re not even wearing something 2/3 times a month, then why are you holding onto it? Not to nag, but that poor item of clothing is sitting there collecting dust when it could be the subsequent owner's best new buy. Be brutal with yourself here; I know you can do it!


On a similar note, don’t keep valuable clothes. You don’t have to give it away for free; plenty of sites can help you resell your goods for a decent percentage of the purchase price. And even websites that will willingly swap that item with something of a similar value. Without teaching you how to suck eggs, it is not worth holding onto things just because you spent a large sum of money on them.


Picture how many outfits you can do with something. This sounds silly, but it’s my personal fave. You’re going to want to start by organising your wardrobe into definites and maybes (and hopefully already have a pile of 100% giveaways/resells). Step 2: of the definites, organise them into their respective categories, e.g., bottoms, tops, shoes, accessories. Step 3: take photos and/or try on your maybes and pair them with their respective definites. If you can’t imagine at least 5 outfits, is it really worth keeping?


There are positives to having a good old clear-out.


Don’t hold onto something because you think you can remove that impossible stain or repatch that gaping hole. Also, don’t hold onto it for your next craft project that we both know you won’t get around to. It’s added clutter and could be rehomed perfectly.


Sort through your underwear! Please! I cannot stress this enough. It’s all well and good chucking them in the wash with your other clothes, but the machine cannot physically remove all the bacteria. I’m not saying chuck them out after every use, but a regular change-up will come in handy. As with the bras, our size changes all the time. 80% of UK women are wearing the wrong size! So, just because that push-up bra is doing bits for you, make sure it actually fits properly. If not, you can cause all kinds of damage.


Don’t hold onto something just because you associate it with good memories. It may have sentimental value, but it may not be worth it if it’s simply sitting there collecting dust. This is easiest when accompanied by a family member or friend; they’re there to provide an impartial opinion when you need to hear those home truths.


To be honest with you, I’ve spent days doing this before. It’s kind of time-consuming but so rewarding! Honestly, you’ll love yourself for it, and so will the planet. It’s hard limiting our materialistic behaviours when the fashion industry has a new trend each time the weather changes, but we can each do our bit to limit consumerism.


Katie Mortimer 10/05/2022


Cover Photo: Photo by Adrienne Leonard on Unsplash