As a child my wardrobe was always a scary place where imaginary monsters hid and, as an adult, my fears have become a reality.
My wardrobe is an overstuffed nightmare, filled with things I don’t wear and super cheap clothes that should have been thrown out ages ago. I never throw anything away until it is literally falling off my back and frequently get out the needle and thread rather than accept that something is unwearable.
Last week I looked down at my legs and realised with dismay that my £3 Primark leggings were sagging at the knee and covered in strange white threads that turned out to be the elastic that once made them wearable.They were the same £3 pair that I had already sewn up a hole in at the seams but it still took extreme saggyness for me to accept they should be thrown away.
The lesson to learn from this is if you pay for rubbish then you get rubbish and it is not worth the effort to keep cheap, poorly made clothes alive.
It is hard to let go of clothing that we love and wear all the time but eventually everything must go to that great wardrobe in the sky or the local charity shop. Spring is a good season to be ruthless and clear out the lingering items in the wardrobe that are beyond repair or will never get worn.
Here are a few guidelines I have set myself to decide what stays and what goes:
- Twelve months is long enough – If it has not been worn in that time then chances are it never will be. Apart from the odd item that is vintage or unique, most t-shirts, vests, tops, jumpers, leggings and jeans are replaceable.
- Holes – Socks and the odd jumper can be darned but unless you love it it’s not worth it. No matter how small, even a tiny hole niggles when you wear it so say goodbye and move on.
- Stains – This is a tough one because some damaged fabrics can be retrieved from a very dark place. I say give it three goes with stain remover and if there is still a mark on the third attempt then it is all over.
- Elastic – Nobody wants to spend hours dragging up their saggy pants, tights or trousers. Elastic, lycra and other stretchy materials become less taut over time and will never get better so throw them away as soon as they start to slouch.
- Accessories – I have a stockpile of bags and trinkets I never use and I have decided that they are getting a clear out too this time. Beads, bangles, bags and anything else can all go if it’s not been worn or used in the last 12 months.
- Shoes – Heel tips can be replaced at a cobblers for a small fee so even cheap shoes have longevity. They take a major battering over time and fades and scruffs are not so easy to remove. It’s over if I can’t shine them up with a soft cloth and a bit of shoe polish.
I still have clothes that I wore at university nearly 20 years ago. The question is why? Some of them have sentimental value and others are expensive, long-lasting items that go in and out of fashion over the years and are worth keeping.
Clothes can carry memories of good times and when I felt confident, smart, sexy or comfortable. But, like me, they age and they need looking after and sometimes a trip to the clothes doctor (dry cleaner, or mother-in-law who is a sewing genius) is not enough. Sometimes I might reminisce over a bygone top or skirt but, like an old relationship, it was something that suited me at the time and I need to move on.