written by Kim Gerlach
photography Jaqui Danslanuit, Tilo Wandelt
In our last post here we learned about concepts such as capsule and minimal wardrobe. But in fact, it’s your turn now to dig out all items hiding in your closet and starting the process of a sustainable wardrobe. Are you ready?
Whether you choose to have a cleared mind or a hang-over dull brain; bring yourself into the process of making a change. Having said that, it does help to have set aside some time. Depending on the scale of this endeavour, choose an appropriate time. My recent clothes cleanse took 3 hours, including a nice cup of tea and a little happy dance inbetween. Don’t forget to prepare your physical space by cleaning up an area where you can sort and categorize your clothes.
For the more structured minds: It can be useful to systemize. So even before preparing the space or touch your clothes, make two lists: One list indicates the items you know and love by memory. And the other list will help you to rationalize how much you need. How many pairs of pants do I need? How many sweaters or winter jackets do I want to keep? How many shoes should I have?
Oh, and don’t forget to include your bestie for mental support and a fun time. Especially those who choose to do it on a slow (and hung over Sunday). Invite your friend, put on some soothing tunes and make it a fun activity.
Place everything on the floor or bed to make all clothes visible. You can decide to make smaller piles for different categories or just pile it up randomly. Please do not forget the hidden gems in your storage room or hiding in the laundry basket. And after having done that, the sheer amount of clothes in front of you will very likely give you an indication how urgently and radically you need to declutter.
Your goal should be to keep only those items that can be everlasting favourites. And how beloved Miss Kondo would put it: Does this item spark joy? Would you still wear it in 2 years time? If both answers have been clear Yes’, place them neatly folded in your closet. If there has been some hesitation, place that item in a new pile.
And please remember that you can always repair broken clothes. Do nevertheless ask yourself: Would I still wear this item if it’s been repaired?
Whilst doing this process with every item, some devilish clothes may cross your path. Those kind of clothes that nettle in your closet, being kept alive in the hope of fitting again once you’ve lost those extra kilos. But please trust me with this one again, out of own experience, it’s not worth to keep those items in case you ever in your lifetime lose those kilos. I kept many of those and never wore them again.
First of all, celebrate and do a little happy dance. You did it. And it’s not easy. We attach ourselves to the emotional value and memories of clothes and the process of letting go can be painful.
So, next steps?
You can gift the items away to dear friends, donate them for a good cause or hand them to organizations for collection. You may decide to host a clothing swopping party, but that brings the risk of falling for new items again. Make sure you choose the right and sustainable organization to donate or hand in your clothes. Big players such as H&M may have an established hand in system, but has been highly criticised for not being able to actually reuse those returned items adequately. And wouldn’t it be nicer anyways to avoid fast fashion and decide for second hand or vintage?
We are in a new decade that we need to reach the climate goal of staying below 1.5°C global heating, otherwise, we’re screwed. And surprisingly, your wardrobe plays a vital role in this! Together, we will look at how you can declutter your closet step by step and how to find out which are your most loved and stunning items.read →