If you are the type of person who has a wardrobe full of clothes and accessories and yet nothing to wear, it may be time to take a more radical approach and pare everything back to a sleekly edited minimum.
The idea of the capsule wardrobe, a small selection of pieces that all fit, and all co-ordinate, is an increasingly attractive proposition, especially for those who are short on space and short on time.
Imagine the energy saved if your wardrobe were to be edited down to just a dozen-or-so pieces, and you knew that everything you reached for looked great.
I first saw this in action many years ago when a fashion editor friend was moving to New York and decided to clear out her extensive wardrobe. She donated a huge pile to charity, sold the rest at the markets, and was left with a neat edit of about fifteen of her favourite items, everything in black.
Hers was the perfect capsule wardrobe – a chic black dress, tailored pants, classic black coat, blazer, cashmere sweater, cardigan, flat boots, high heeled pumps, silk shirt, t-shirt, handbag and evening bag.
There may have been a pair of blue jeans. One pair of sandals. That was it. It could all fit in one suitcase.
It’s a liberating thought, to be that concise and that mobile. I often walk past those little elf houses in IKEA, where they show how to live comfortably in 10 square metres and I marvel at the one skinny cupboard in which they suggest a human could store their belongings.
Who are these weird Nordic people who own one pair of pants, some sneakers and a down jacket? Hmm, where would one put the expensive knee high boots one bought 12 years ago but rarely wear? The leopard cocktail coat, the Fijian basket, the six swimsuits and the 12 pairs of faded track pants?
A recent European study found that people do not wear at least 50 per cent of the clothes in their wardrobe, so halving what you have is a great place to start if you are keen to downsize.
Keep the core basics, the pieces that fit you well and that you wear time and time again. You will free up space and then be able to add a trendy piece or two each season. You’ll be better dressed, and importantly, not waste money on items you never wear.
Letting things go can be difficult emotionally, so if tossing out huge amounts of clothing all at once is too daunting, try the ‘remove five things a day’ technique.
My husband has a real aversion to throwing things out, so I tend to sneak a small amount of items each day from the house so that he doesn’t notice.
My last challenge was when our son moved out, and I went through his cupboards like a tornado. I ended up with piles of junk, and had to swiftly negotiate a $50 tip for any Airtasker who could come and take it away before my husband starting sifting through it and pulling out old football scarves and stuffed bears.
Editing takes courage.