As sales across the land come to a close and the consumerist masses return once more to their normal (hopefully more polite) behavioural patterns, the time has come to take stock of our wardrobes. We should examine their contents, our new purchases, the old favourites and start planning ahead for the future. In other words, it’s time for a damn good clear out.

We have all, at some point, been guilty of holding on to things in our wardrobe for far too long. We become attached to a favourite jumper and we wear shoes until they fall apart completely – then tape them back together for another couple of weeks. We buy something on a whim and then refuse to part with it because it cost quite a lot or in the vain hope that it might come in useful one day. We’re scared of throwing out anything.

But sometimes getting rid of stuff is exactly what you need. Removing what you don’t wear, what really shouldn’t be worn or pieces that have seen better days will not only free up space – it will help wipe the offending items from your mind, it will let you see past the top you have always relied upon and allows other pieces to start jumping out at you; whole new outfits will begin to evolve and you’ll feel much better.

It will also give you the space and freedom you need to start developing your style by allowing you to add new items that you really DO need and that you really WILL wear.

However, having a clear out is a little more complicated than casting wide your wardrobe doors, pulling open your drawers and banishing anything that might displease you to the charity shop down the road.

Out With The Old, In With The New

A wardrobe clear out is an emotionally invested process. You have built up your collection of pieces over many months (or years), you have spent no small amount of money on it and clothes are quite an important part in making sure nobody thinks you’re a nutter that wears the same outfit day in, day out.

Take your time and feel sure about every decision you make – but remember that it doesn’t hurt to be a bit ruthless sometimes.

The Nine Step Program

Although this ‘program’ might make you feel like a recovering addict, the nine steps below should hopefully allow you to feel completely comfortable with the decisions you are making whilst streamlining your current wardrobe:

  1. The first thing to do is to take stock. Just what exactly do you have in your wardrobe? This will give you a clearer picture of what you have too many or too few of, what needs throwing out and what needs consideration. This will also be useful when you start to buy more clothes.
  2. Separate. Divide all of your clothes into piles – a pile to throw, a pile to think about and a pile to keep. Here it is important to strike a balance; be ruthless with yourself over what you really don’t wear or really don’t want but also think carefully about how your style is going to develop or whether you want to maintain a flexible wardrobe.

    Is your style going through a transitional phase or are you starting again? You might want to hold onto some of your old clothes just in case, even if you stick them in a bag at the bottom. Remember that there are pros and cons to being a one look man.

  3. Go back through your piles. Make sure you want to get rid of everything in your ‘throw’ pile and that you want to keep everything in your ‘keep’ pile, then go through your ‘maybe’ pile with a fine tooth-comb. Try to look at it in combination with your ‘keep’ pile as these will be the clothes they will have to work with.

    How to they fit in? Do the colours work? Do they fit? Remove anything that you know won’t work and be totally honest with yourself – you don’t need anything sitting around gathering dust.

    Remember to do this with every part of your wardrobe, from socks to hats, hoodies to shoes, if you’re going to do it you might as well do it right.

  4. Once you’ve gone through your ‘maybe’ pile and transferred it to the ‘keep’ pile, go through the resulting ‘keep’ pile again. Look at fit, look at colour, and look at condition, age and why you kept it.

    Are you holding on to something just because you like it, even though it doesn’t work with anything else in your wardrobe? There is little point in keeping items that are clearly worn out, sweat stained or just dirty in general, it WILL make a difference to your outfit and someone WILL notice.

  5. Having completed all of this, it’s time to put everything back. If you’re wardrobe has previously been something of a haphazard affair, why not do some wardrobe maintenance? Your clothes will thank you for it. Having things organised properly will make it easier to remember what you own, put together outfits and it will make your clothes last longer (really, it will).
  6. This step isn’t quite as important and certainly isn’t necessary but it might be a useful exercise. One you’ve had your clear out, do some experimenting. By removing the waste you have a much more streamlined selection of clothes that (hopefully) all go together. Have a go at styling some new outfits, you might surprise yourself and by doing it before you start adding new items you can see exactly what you need to buy.
  7. Now you’ve got your pile of rejected clothes, make eBay your friend. You’ve spent a lot of money on those clothes over the years and most of them will be saleable. You don’t really lose anything by listing them (you can do it for free at certain times) and any money you recoup is money that you didn’t have before. If it doesn’t sell, take it down the charity shop.
  8. I purposely put this step after selling off your clothes because it means you’ll have more money. Use those gains to improve your wardrobe and you’ll feel much better. However, don’t slip back in to old ways. Plan your purchases, make sure they fit in with your newly cleared wardrobe and don’t go overboard. Just because you’ve removed clothes it doesn’t mean you have to replace them like for like immediately. Take your time and get it right.
  9. Maintain it. Keep everything neat and tidy, and take regular stock of what you’ve got and what you need. If you have something that you no longer wear, move it on. Don’t get sentimental, be decisive and considered and make your wardrobe work for you.
Wardrobe Essentials

Whilst you are cleaning out and taking stock of your wardrobe, why not invest in some key wardrobe maintenance staples? Things such as quality wooden hangers, shoe trees and shoe racks will help organise your wardrobe more efficiently and keep your remaining clothes in better condition for longer:

  • John Lewis Fsc Cedar Trouser Hangers Set Of 2John Lewis Fsc Cedar Trouser Hangers Set Of 2
  • 6 Pack Of Wood Coat Hangers6 Pack Of Wood Coat Hangers
  • Pack Of 14 Natural Wooden Coat HangersPack Of 14 Natural Wooden Coat Hangers
  • Jasper Conran Black Suit Carrier CaseJasper Conran Black Suit Carrier Case
  • Go Travel Carry ClosetGo Travel Carry Closet
  • Jeff Banks Black Suit Carrier BagJeff Banks Black Suit Carrier Bag
  • Russel Lint Roller Set With 3 RefillsRussel Lint Roller Set With 3 Refills
  • John Lewis Lint RollerJohn Lewis Lint Roller
  • Trixes Lint Magic BrushTrixes Lint Magic Brush
  • Delfa Consul Cedar Wood Shoe TreeDelfa Consul Cedar Wood Shoe Tree
  • Melvin & Hamilton Shoe TreeMelvin & Hamilton Shoe Tree
  • Mens Executive Shoe TreeMens Executive Shoe Tree
  • Great Ideas Standing Shoe RackGreat Ideas Standing Shoe Rack
  • John Lewis 3 Tier Expanding Shoe RackJohn Lewis 3 Tier Expanding Shoe Rack
  • John Lewis 3 Tier Shoe Rack BlackJohn Lewis 3 Tier Shoe Rack Black
  • John Lewis 5 Tier Shoe Rack BlackJohn Lewis 5 Tier Shoe Rack Black
  • 5 Shelf Shoe Rack Solid Pine5 Shelf Shoe Rack Solid Pine
  • 4 Tier White Shoe Rack4 Tier White Shoe Rack
Final Word

The transition from autumn/winter to spring/summer is the perfect time to have a good clear out. Having to change the way you dress gives you a great opportunity to evaluate what you do and don’t need in your wardrobe. You can see clearly what you have and haven’t worn, and it’s always nice to make room for new things.

Take your time, be considerate but don’t be afraid to be strict with yourself. Make intelligent choices and both your wallet and your style will be much happier. The wardrobe spring clean is an essential part of the modern man’s style development; embrace it and make it work for you.

As always I want to know what you guys think, have you got any clearance tips?

Let me know in the comments below.