As we age, our needs and preferences change, and our wardrobe is no exception. You don’t have to be moving to a smaller home to start downsizing your stuff.
Downsizing anything can be an emotional and overwhelming experience, but it can also be liberating and rejuvenating to get rid of things you haven’t been using. Focus on the items that you love and that make you feel good, and remember that downsizing your wardrobe is a step towards a more organized, clutter-free life. Decluttering your closet can be an interesting trip down memory lane, depending on how much you’ve kept over the years – this can bring some much-needed fun to the process.
We’ve worked with a number of clients who struggle to effectively purge their closets – Ottawa seniors and young professionals alike! Here are some tips for downsizing your wardrobe, and making the most of your closet space when downsizing:
Start with a plan of action
Set realistic goals about how long you’ll spend sorting and decluttering, and your overall timeline. Will you sort for five minutes a day, or an hour a week? Does this area need to be done by the end of the month, or do you have a year (or more) before your move?
There’s no right or wrong answer to the questions above, by the way. You know what works best for you; if you start to feel overwhelmed, consider taking more frequent breaks, or asking someone to sit with you while you sort. Having a companion can help a lot, even if they aren’t participating!
Should I stay or should I go?
It’s not just a song by The Clash – you’ll also need to decide on your criteria for keeping and letting go of items. This will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the process.
Struggling to decide on sentimental items? Consider taking a picture and making a memory book.
Consider donating gently used clothing, shoes and accessories that you no longer use or that don’t match your current style to a charity, or selling them online or at a consignment store (always call to ask if they’ll accept the items for sale before you make the trip).
Sort your clothing
The first step is to go through your closet clothing and sort them into piles: Keep, Donate, Sell, and Dispose (for the most well-used clothing).
Then go through the Keep pile. Be honest – ask yourself if you have worn the item in the last year, if it still fits you, and if it suits your current lifestyle. If not, it’s time to let it go.
Pro tip: Arrange all closet clothing on hangers facing backwards in your closet. When you wear the item, turn the hanger the right way around when you hang the freshly-laundered clothing. At the end of a set time period (6 months to 1 year is common), you can clearly see what you aren’t wearing and set it aside for donation.
Choose shoes and outerwear
Shoes can take up a lot of space, so it’s important to organize them efficiently. Sort them by season, style, and occasion; only keep shoes that you regularly wear or that hold sentimental value. Consider using shoe racks or organizers to save space and keep them visible.
For outerwear, it’s important to consider the climate as well as the activities you plan to enjoy. If you live in Ottawa, you’ll probably need to make sure to keep clothing and outerwear options for both the winter and summer months!
Accessories are A-OK – in moderation
Accessories are the finishing touches that can complete an outfit, but they can also clutter your space. Go through your jewelry, scarves, belts, and hats and decide which ones you want to keep and which ones you can let go.
Maximize your storage space
Once you’ve sorted through your wardrobe, it’s time to maximize your storage space. Consider using space-saving hangers, such as slim velvet hangers or cascading hangers, to maximize your closet space.
You might also consider purchasing a dresser, shelving units, or other organizational tools for your closet to maximize your storage. Use drawer dividers or organizers to keep your clothing neat and tidy.
If closet and storage space is going to be an issue in your new home, is there a storage area you can use? Often apartments and residences will assign a storage locker space to residents, so it’s worth inquiring!
Rotate your clothing seasonally
If you have space for it, consider purchasing a wardrobe box – they are tall boxes with a bar to hang clothing from, with space on the bottom for shoes.
We suggest putting your Winter gear in the wardrobe box and storing it away until Fall, when you can swap the contents for your Spring/ Summer wardrobe. We’ve found this to be an effective way to rotate clothing seasonally, while avoiding overstuffed closets!
Downsizing your wardrobe can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a plan in place, a positive attitude, and tips to help you stay organized, you can streamline your closet without getting rid of things that matter. Remember to be kind to yourself throughout the downsizing process, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.
Want more personalized help downsizing your closet? We thought you’d never ask – our Ottawa-based team can help you with as much or as little as you need! Click here to contact us today to arrange a free consultation.
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I highly recommend Darling Solutions to anyone.
Again, we could not have done it without them! From decluttering and packing our condo to moving and setting us up in our new home, every member of the team was hardworking, helpful, warm and extremely competent. Their attention to detail in setting up our new place was remarkable. Honourable mention to the whole team: Kelly, Shawn, Ian, Phyllis, Barb M., Barb Y. Jack, Susan, Glen and Paul. Barb M., our team leader, and Ruth, in the office, were particularly good at calming a nervous client.
We recommend Darling Solutions without reservation. We can’t thank them enough.
Marj and Weldon
Adding COVID into the mix it was almost paralysing to think about. After a recommendation to Contact Darling most of that fear went away.
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They made this move so smooth for my wife and her parents.
On moving day they left their old home and at the end of the day arrived in a new home with all their belongings unpacked and arranged. Completely stress and back pain free. The next day Darling took care of removing items targeted for donation and all remaining items for waste.
I cannot recommend this service enough.
Thank you so much.
Frankly thank-you does not even cover it. Your team, led by Julie, was absolutely incredible from the first moment we met down to the beautiful new plant for my mom and our goodbyes at the door.
They were so organized, thoughtful, friendly and polite. It was a sincere pleasure to work with all of them. I enjoyed the experience so much I am almost sad that the move is finished but happy that we will meet again when my parents are ready to hang their many pictures.
Again, I am in awe and am telling anyone with ears about Darling Solutions so they will hopefully in turn tell their friends and family.
Very best regards and please send our thanks once again to your team.