I've been having a clearout of my wardrobe and thought you might like to see the result of my efforts on my work clothes. Other areas are still a work in progress.
I have some thoughts about the process which I thought might be useful. So here are my tips
1. Have an end goal which you are working towards.
I decided I wanted to have easy access to suitable clothing for work. I work full time in office which has a slightly relaxed business dress code during the week and dress down on Fridays. These are my Mon-Thu clothes. I kept this in mind all the way through the sorting process.
2. Pre sort for seasonality
I went through clothing I had in various locations and first removed anything which was for a different season, and put it all together in another location. For me this is a rail and a storage bag in the loft. For someone else it might be a wardrobe in a guest room or similar. This gets it out of the way and gives mental and physical space to sort things.
3. Remove wrong colour items/worn out items/experiments/alterations
a. Last year I had another colour analysis with Imogen Lamport through her 7 steps to style. I had hung on to some 'maybe' things, but decided this time I was willing to donate them. I also removed some things which are in my palette so I tried but don't like (some purples for example). I overdyed some pieces and donated others.
b. At this point also get rid of anything tired and worn out. If not suitable for donation you may be able to reuse some parts (buttons etc).
c. This is also where I identified some things where I had been experimenting with a style which I realised was not flattering for my body shape or don't work with my personality.
d. Remove anything which needs an alteration/repair and commit to actually doing it. Fix those hems, sew that button on, take in the waist etc.
4. Clean the wardrobe
Once I had removed the wrong season and wrong colour things. I moved the remainder out onto a hanging rail in another room and wiped the wardrobe out and left it to air a little.
5. Try everything on.
This does take ages and is really boring (for me at least) but one of my frustrations is that I had gained some weight whilst I had been unwell with vertigo and would sometimes reach for clothes which did not fit. To make work mornings easy I wanted all the clothes hanging up to fit me! So to find that out I had to try them all on. I did this over several sessions because it got boring quickly.
Where something fit OK it got hung up in the wardrobe. Where it was only slightly tight and I could imagine wearing again it went on the loft rail. Where it was very tight/couldn't get it on I donated it.
(Some alterations are found here).
6 Organise what you are keeping
I put the items I had decided to keep back into the wardrobe using wooden hangers for jackets and velvet hangers for tops and trousers, and clip hangers for skirts. (I may change the trousers back to clip hangers if they seem badly creased, but my hanging space is not very tall).
I put the other types of hangers in a box for donation. I hung similar garments together and similar colours together to make it easier to find things. I folded cardigans and long sleeved tops in baskets at the top. I kept formal shoes even though I don't wear them much as they are hard to find again (e.g. classic black court shoes etc) and stored them in closed boxes in the wardrobe. I don't like shoes in open boxes in the wardrobe. Try to use things you already have for the moment and not buy loads of new storage boxes, hangers etc if you can avoid it. I do recommend the velvet hangers and they are inexpensive.
(The wire baskets came from two different old freezers and are great for clothes, the striped boxes are old Ikea storage boxes I had been using for sewing/craft cut down to fit better/remove the ragged tops).
7 Identify Wardrobe Holes
Once I only had the things which fit hanging up it became apparent I was short of jackets, and needed a bit more variety in tops. However I had bought quite a few pairs of trousers recently and they were a reasonable fit. When I later went shopping I was able to find several jackets in stretch fabrics or with wider sleeves. I had also sewed a cardigan jacket. I've since bought some new tops as well. I am happy to mix self-sewn with RTW.
8 Make some outfits
I decided to plan out some possible outfits to make mornings easier. Using the hanging rail I put together several options which I was able to choose from the following week.
I still need to work on my casual clothing and finish off my accessories station, but I'll share those late when they are done. But for now getting dressed for work has been easier, and I feel smarter and ready to face the day!