Sorry guys, this is really one for the ladies, but could apply to you too! Decluttering can be so difficult for many reasons, complicated here by a need for both summer and winter clothing, where perhaps many don’t overlap. Personally, I feel guilty about getting rid of clothes I’ve hardly worn, and even hang on to stuff that I liked once but now doesn’t fit, as I live in the vain hope that one day get back into them again.

Benefits of Decluttering

Getting rid of ‘stuff’ will make it easier to find things in your wardrobe for starters. I have lost count of the times I have searched for a certain item to find it had been covered by something else, slipped completely off the hanger in the crush of clothes and had fallen to the floor.

Not an easy job

Decluttering isn’t a job for the faint-hearted, and maybe you don’t know where to start. Here are a few ideas that you could use to start your journey to a more organised wardrobe, and you may find you get plenty of use of what’s left. Be selective of your clothing, as you should be getting rid of the clothes that don’t fit, aren’t comfortable, you don’t wear and don’t make you feel your best.

Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe could be the answer – a sort of mix-and-match idea - picking a limited selection of interchangeable clothing pieces that complement each other, composed of neutral colours that allows you to create several different outfits with a small selection of clothes, but this doesn’t work for everybody.

Take on the challenge

Having the right mindset is important. Having got motivated, set aside a day on your calendar, then you know it’s got to be done, and set yourself a target of retaining only, say, 50 hangers. If you have a set amount to fill, your preferences, lifestyle and even your laundry routine will dictate this number, but the point is to give yourself a limit to help you be more ruthless. You will have to be very particular over what you keep and what you don’t.

Get yourself some space, because ideally you should haul everything out and start picking your favourites. If you can’t do this, perhaps place the hangers hook towards instead of away from you containing what you want to keep, then go back and start being selective. Perhaps divide your space into tops, trousers, dresses, casual/sports clothing, or even the number of items in colours (I have a massive number of black t-shirts, and I am sure I only wear a handful). Maybe give yourself a limit on the number of items in each category. Ditch-stained and torn items that can’t be fixed!

Credits: envato elements; Author: aleeenot;

Try everything on

Trust your gut reaction to each item. If you don’t immediately love it, or it really doesn’t fit, get rid of it. Each item in your wardrobe should fit you well at the size and shape you are today. If you’re expecting your size or shape to change, keep only your absolute favourite items. But store them away from your current wardrobe.

Get yourself a ‘maybe’ box

This is a good idea to help you be more ruthless without the fear of being overzealous and holding you back. It’s like a safety net - pack up any items of clothing you’re not sure about into your ‘maybe’ box. Seal it and put it somewhere out of sight. Set a reminder for yourself for 1 – 3 months in the future, and if you find you haven’t needed, wanted or even thought about the items in the box by that time, get rid of them knowing you’ll be just fine without them. Often, after living with fewer clothes it shows you how great a smaller, simplified wardrobe can be.

When the job’s done, reward yourself with something you enjoy, as a bonus to look forward to can help you stay focussed. Then take all your unwanted clothes to your local charity shop, in the certain knowledge that they will become someone else’s favourites.


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan