Anuschka Rees (the author) takes a pragmatic approach to the clear-out. There’s no caressing your items lovingly and deciding whether or not they ‘spark joy’. You just go through your wardrobe – and drawers, boxes under the bed, and anywhere else you might be keeping clothes (!) – and try things on one at a time.
She provides a flow chart to help you, and asks you to categorise everything into either:
- Store (out of season clothes, keepsakes)
- Trial separation – for things you’re not 100% sure about getting rid of; or
- Donate/sell/textile recycling
I also went through my fabric stash at the same time.
It was useful. I didn’t have a huge wardrobe, but I was hoarding worn-out, ill-fitting and meh clothes – partly because I’ve not been sure what to buy instead and partly because of the sunk cost mentality.
There were some panic purchases in there like a shapeless top I’d bought for a last-minute work meeting in 33 degree heat; a jacket I wore to a wedding in 2004 that’s never fitted me; and a bridesmaid’s dress I wore back in 2008 that’s been waiting to be refashioned ever since.
Looking at my me-made items, I’m more considered in what I sew than in what I buy. I decided to let the following things go:
- The pink dress I made for the #sewtallandcreative challenge in 2017. I like it, but there are other dresses I like better that I reach for in the summer, so this one hasn’t been worn much.
- The first coat I ever made (pre-blog). The fabric is a gorgeous shocking pink boiled wool, but I knew nothing about interfacing or tailoring then, and very little about fitting, and IT SHOWS. My Rumana coat has finally made this one redundant, so I won’t keep it.
- This short-sleeved Astoria top in sweatshirting. It doesn’t get worn, because when it’s warm enough for short sleeves it’s too hot to wear a sweatshirt!
- My black halterneck 50s-style sundress, which I made in 2012 (pre-blog) but then altered to improve the fit. I think it’s had one outing since then, and the top needs boning to help it stay in place. I still love broderie anglaise (eyelet) in dark colours, so a similar fabric might crop up again.
My fabric stash was in better shape, following my stash diet the other year. I just got rid of one piece, an unidentified length of some kind of fluffy-backed fabric that I couldn’t work out what to do with.
Then I also have four things to alter – the pre-blog dress and unloved shirt I talked about before, and then two skirts that I’d like to change to a narrower A-line. I still love a fit-and-flare shape, but I’m noticing I prefer a narrower flare these days.
All that leaves me with some space in my wardrobe, and I can already see some huge gaps I’ll need to fill soon (any last-minute work meetings are going to require a trip to the shops to prevent me turning up naked!).
So I’m looking forward to the next part where I work out what I need to buy – and especially sew – to fill those gaps.