5 Easy Steps for Cleaning Out Your Wardrobe

By Timothy Parent, March 17, 2017

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Timothy Parent Fashion Column

Timothy Parent is the founder of China Fashion Bloggers and has followed Shanghai Fashion Week for 15 seasons and Fashion Now in Beijing for six seasons. In his latest Fashion Column for That’s, he talks about the ways you the consumer will influence the fashion industry in 2017.

Is it possible to have too many clothes? 

While there’s no correct answer, I’d argue that having more clothes doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be happier or better dressed. In fact, it may make it harder to find what you’re looking for.

And I don’t just mean asking your ayi where that one t-shirt is. Sometimes having too many choices makes it difficult to maintain a cohesive sense of self; we evolve and adapt, and so should our wardrobes. 

So even though shops, brands, and the media alike will all be telling you that you need to add this or must have that for spring, I’d like to propose cleaning out your closet in order to improve it. Here are five simple steps...

Step 1: Prepare Yourself Mentally

Mentally prepare

The first step is simply agreeing with yourself that you need to do some spring cleaning and that it will be better for you in the end. Clutter has been proven to affect people mentally, emotionally, and even physically, so having a clean environment should have positive effects on your general well being. You should also come up with an approximation of what percentage you want to get rid of, such as 10 percent or 30 percent. If you’re really ambitious, try and get rid of 50 percent.

Step 2: Take Everything Out

Empty closet

Take literally everything out of your closet. This way you can visualize just how many clothes you have and how much space you have to keep them. Seeing an empty closet will definitely help you breathe better, and it’s easier to put things back than pull things out.

Step 3: Put Back the Pieces You LOVE

How to Clean Out Your Wardrobe in 5 Easy Steps

Put back your absolute favorites, the pieces you can’t live without. You’ll see your closet slowly fill up with your most-used, mostloved pieces and feel like all that extra stuff only distracts you from the core of your wardrobe. 

Make sure to stick with your original targets, and stop putting clothes back if you have to squeeze them into your closet, because there will always be new clothes! There’s no absolute right or wrong amount so there’s no need to stress, but as de-clutter guru Marie Kondo points out you should only keep things that bring you joy.

Step 4: Donate or Swap Your Previously Loved Items

How to Clean Out Your Wardrobe in 5 Easy Steps

Try to distinguish between clothes you used to love and clothes you currently love… If something is still in good condition, you can make sure it still goes to good use! 

There are plenty of places to drop off clothes you no longer want or need: any H&M store, select Element Freshrestaurants through Fiber Projects, and soon REFORM will partner with locations such as offices and schools to not only offer donation boxes but also workshops and educational activities. 

If you want to exchange your clothes, first make sure you have enough empty space in your closet and then check out DaliahXinlelu Closet Swap, SwapShops, or Pewa’s Closet Exchange.

And during Shanghai Fashion Week there will be a special project called ‘The Greatest You Charity Popup Shop’ with shipping containers around the city where you can donate clothes, which will then travel around China for more swapping until finally arriving back in Shanghai to close the loop.

Step 5: Save Up and Invest in Pieces You’ll Always Love


Once you’ve re-arranged your closet with only pieces you love, you’ll know better what you’re looking for! And instead of buying cheaper items that you’re bound to throw out, buy fewer, higher-quality items to create a wardrobe full of clothes you’re obsessed with and that will last a lifetime. If you calculate costper-wear, a coat for RMB3,000 worn 100 times is much cheaper than a dress for RMB100 that you wear once.

To put the ‘quality over quantity’ theory to test, I encourage you to try the ‘Project 333’ challenge. Wear only 33 items – including clothing, accessories, jewelry and shoes – for the next three months. After that, cleaning out your wardrobe should be a much easier task.

Timothy Parent can also be found at www.chinafashionbloggers.com. See more of his Fashion Columns.

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