NYNC: The Clear Out


After a month of looking into personal styling ideas I now have a good idea about what should and shouldn’t be in my closest. Now for the big clean up!

Like I mentioned at the start of the month, goals need to be of an achievable size. If you have a large closet full of clutter a goal of ¬†‘I want an orderly well curated closet by this afternoon’ is only going to result in a whole lot of confusion and tears. Start small and work bit by bit. Perhaps you could tackle shoes today, then start on bags tomorrow.

For a clean up you will need.

*containers or bags
*your lists of how many items you need
*an appropriate sized storage space for the items you want to keep
*cleaning tools

Now you are ready to go. For each item you pull from the closet look at it with fresh and educated eyes and ask yourself.

When did I last wear it?

If you can’t remember or the answer is more than a year ago then ask yourself:

Why haven’t I worn it?

If the item hasn’t been worn because it’s too small you will have to re home it either by donating or giving to a friend. If it’s too big or needs an adjustment of some kind and it fits one of the categories you looked at through your closet analysis then you could take it to a tailor, or tackle it yourself. If it’s neither of these issues ask yourself:

Is it the wrong colour?

If you have taken the time to look at what ‘season’ you fall into perhaps this colour isn’t part of your pallet. In my wardrobe workout challenge I realised early on that many thing I owned weren’t ¬†being worn because the colour didn’t suit me. Dyeing is a fun way to open up a whole new wardrobe of stuff you love. I still dye at least one item every couple of weeks.

So the colour is ok and you love the item, but you still can’t work out why it’s not being worn?

Do a style workshop with the item. For this I start by Googling. Let’s say ‘green jeans style’. It is surprising how many ideas you can get from this. Websites like lookbook.nu are great tools for seeing how others have styled items. If you already have a clear idea of a theme you want in your closet google brands that have the same aesthetics and look for a similar item. For example, my closet is a little bohemian due to my beach location so I would look for green jeans on Free People and see how they have styled them. Either Pin or print the ideas and give yourself a time frame to try them out. If you still don’t get around to wearing the item, or wear the item and feel unhappy while doing so then they should be re homed.

Once you have removed all the items from your storage space give the area a clean then start putting items back in.

Now you should be left with a container of items to mend or alter and a container of items to re home. If anything in your re home box looks like it’s seen it’s last days have a look at the fabric content. If it is a natural and absorbent fibre like cotton you could reuse it for rags, cut it into smaller pieces and compost it (as long as it’s not coated) or reuse as scraps for quilting or craft projects. Synthetic fibres are around forever so no composting! You can reuse synthetic fibres as ties (cut them into long strips), for stuffing footstools and cushions, have a Google for your specific fabric and find out if there is a facility in your local area that can make use of them. In my locality Endeavour Foundation not only takes clothing for resale at their chair stores, they also employ people with disabilities to turn damaged items into cleaning rags for industry purchase.

Before putting your clothing back in your closet be sure to give it a good clean and dust so that your precious goodies don’t go getting dirty. Once you are sure it’s clean you can start organising your ‘dream’ closet. Working with what you have try to identify if any areas aren’t functional. For me, my lingerie has been a bit pesky for a long time. I am currently collecting a enough toilet roll holders for all my underpants for my Up-Cycled storage solution DIY and am yet to work out a good solution for bras but will share when I find one.

It may take a while to really personalise and streamline your space but small steps and continual evolution is the best way to get there without too much stress or time commitment.

Do you have any great ideas on how you have gone about streamlining and re-organising your space? Would love to hear them.



Author: Katie

Katie Roberts is a self confessed 'write-a-holic' Environmental Scientist with a passion for Sustainable Fashion.

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  1. this clean-out is long overdue for me. Unfortunately.
    But I would also love to se some behind the scenes from you; what got the cut, what will never get it, and what is your number now :)

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  2. Hey! Loving the new series by the way, lots of really good tips and I have been liking the reviews of the books although I don’t think I will ever be able to work out my season – I am always getting distracted by colours :)
    I have a clear out of my wardrobe far too regularly for someone who is into sustainable and ethical fashion, I am pretty ruthless and live in hope that one day when I go to a clothes swap I won’t actually have any clothes to swap! Admittedly a lot recently has been my unerring ability to manage to get things that don’t suit me simply because they are 2nd hand!
    Organising space – I am a big fan of storing tshirts and tops folded but on their side so you can immediately see what’s there. I have also now hung all my bags up on a door to see what I have at a glance. I would like to get a better method for storing my fitness gear, somehow the stuff I want is always at the bottom of the drawer and in the dark mornings I have been known to take two tops rather than the top and running tights I had been after – chose not to go running rather than fashion trousers out of a top!
    I am also thinking the next step for my organising might be to pack away out of season stuff, I reckon that would give me loads more space but we will see.

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    • Hi Steph!

      Sorry for the delayed reply.Spam bots attacked me while I was away and I’ve been wading through hundreds of comments to work out which ones were from real people. Better up my security level again.

      Thank you for the feedback on the NYNC series, it was lots of fun reading though all the old style books. Having looked through many new releases these old ones seem to be where the real ‘meaty’ info is at!

      Totally with you on the ‘too many closet clear outs’ issue. Mine is 100% thrifting related. They look good instore. They look good in your closet. Sometimes the also look good on. But realistically how many items can one person wear in a lifetime. My quest is for a closet full of 10 out of 10 items. The ones that fit like a dream, get compliments with every wear, and mix and match with ease. Having covered most bases (jeans, jackets etc) now my personal mission is to slowly ‘let go’ of those items I love but don’t wear and only accumulate things that fill gaps in my closet.

      Love that you have your closet organised for easy access! Hanging bags is a brilliant plan because so often we get lazy and use the closest one. My fitness gear is stored in baskets in the hall closet with our sports equipment. Each basket has different items, leggings, tanks, sports bras and socks. This way I just grab one from each basket, shove them in my gym bag, and head out the door. Have found this system works for me and saves on looking items in my regular closet.

      Make sure that you pack some bug repellent in with your winter gear. I usually pack mine away every summer. This year I opted for natural bug repellent sachets between them in the closet and moths ate all my superfine merino wool. There were many tears! Unfortunately the stinky camphor works a treat. Shoulda stuck with the original plan and saved my hundreds of dollars and years of collecting worth of wool.

      Thank you so much for sharing your tips. I’m looking forward to catching up with your posts in my reader soon, they are all bookmarked back to Christmas waiting for some reading time.

      Lots of love.


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