Well, I’ve returned from holiday, refreshed and full of the joys. A lovely break with extended family in south-west Scotland, waking up to glorious blue skies every morning. It got me thinking how much easier it is to practice what I preach, skint-wise, when the sun shines. When the weather’s nice, picnics and the beach are all I need: I didn’t want to be stuck inside stuffy restaurants or expensive ‘attractions’ during the last beautiful fortnight – it was parks and paddles every day. Now back in the city I’m going to try to keep a bit of that simple living – beginning with cycling to work. Cheaper, healthier and better for the soul – though I’m not sure Glasgow’s bus drivers will agree when they’re stuck behind me of a morning!
The gorgeous weather has got me thinking about giving my wardrobe a good spring clean. Suddenly my winter woolies seem like relics from a past life – and though it could snow again tomorrow I’m staying optimistic and bagging up my boots and coats for the loft.
I was on STV’s The Hour recently, helping one clothes lover, the lovely Susan Campbell, to give her wardrobe a spring clean. Research has shown that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time, so it makes sense for every skint girl to have a wardrobe crackdown a couple of times a year. You know how it is: you like a few key items and they’re always at the front of your wardrobe. They’re your fashion no-brainers: then one day you wake up and find you’re sick of the sight of them. Danger danger! That fed-up feeling is the trigger that catapults you towards the shops.
In these hard-up times, overhauling your wardrobe could help you avoid an overdraft at the end of the month – and with spring in the air, now is the perfect time to pack away those winter woollies and give your wardrobe a good clearout. Doing a wardrobe audit reduces the total number of clothes you own but lets you create more looks by combining what you’ve got in new ways. Less cash, more outfits – what’s not to love?
Here’s how I did the wardrobe audit for The Hour with Susan:
It should be fun: get some music on, make sure the bedroom’s warm enough if you’re trying things on and do it in daylight you can so you can see everything properly.
Get everythingout of the wardrobe. Everything! Clothes, shoes, accessories, the lot. Sort into three piles:
The keepers should be items you love or that you wear a lot. On The Hour we packed away some of Susan’s winter woollies, making space for her new spring clothes.
The fixers – this is all the stuff you don’t wear because the zip is broken or a button is missing or a hem has come down. Put this all in a Fix bag and resolve not to buy any more clothes till these are mended. Tough, I know, but making this resolution is the only way these duds will ever get fixed! Later you’ll need to sort this into repairs that you can do at home and stuff that has to be taken to a tailor or drycleaner.
The ditch pile is for things you no longer wear and can’t imagine doing so again – or for duplicates. Susan, for example, has a passion for little black dresses and glamorous high heeled boots – dozens of them! By pruning her collections we gained space in her wardrobe and identified items that Susan could sell. Money made through selling old stuff on eBay can be put straight back into your wardrobe – buying things you really need.
The next step is to examine the keep and fix piles. Can the clothes be combined into new outfits? Try them on. Identify the gaps: making a list of the items you really need to pull your wardrobe together and focusing on staples in hardworking colours like black, white, navy and cream. We found that Susan had tons of trousers, skirts and dresses but could do with some more blouses and casual tops for spring. Going shopping with a list focuses the mind and dissuades you from making random purchases.
Now, organising the stuff that goes back into the wardrobe: there are oodles of websites that give advice on organising your wardrobe. For a fee you can even pay a professional to come to your home and help you make sense of the muddle, but what skint girl’s got the cash for that? The good news is that organising your stuff is only as complicated as you want it to be – my approach has always been fairly lo-fi.
I group clothes types together eg all dresses together, then all skirts, ditto trousers, and shirts, then sort them into colour within these groups to make them easy to find. That’s it. Jumpers and T-shirts get folded and put on a shelf. Coats and jackets stay together too, in my case on hooks on the back of a door. Grouping like this makes it easy to put outfits together in the morning.
Big clothes are no real hassle though: they just hang in the wardrobe till you fetch them, don’t they? The tricky stuff is the small fry: earrings, necklaces, gloves and scarves, you know, all those things that slip down the back of the dressing table or under the bed. Tomorrow I’ll look at how to tame them.
Hasta manana then. May the sun be blazing where you are!