Wardrobe clear-out and the box method: how to start 

Wardrobe clear-out and the box method: how to start 

I started off this website by writing about the box method and how you can do it to simplify the way you dress and shop. In my first post, I write firmly about how in order to successfully clean your wardrobe, you must firstly remove everything you own from your wardrobe, place it on your bed and then either add your clothes back in or allocate them into the various boxes depending on what they represent. 

June marks the anniversary of when I first took on the capsule experiment. Having toyed with the idea for a while but never fully committing, I decided it was now or never. 

The thing is, I always enjoyed the occasional wardrobe assessment and giving my clothes away never really scared me. I was under the impression that over the years I had already been setting myself up for success and my wardrobe was already quite organized, I did not have a lot of work ahead of me and capsuling my style would be quick and easy.  

Oh how wrong I was, my clothes were not tidy or streamlined as I had previously thought. I had the weirdest seasonal clashes, mixtures of summer dresses and woolly trousers, way too many casual jumpers and absolutely nothing to wear. Looking back, I cannot imagine what it would have been like if I hadn't been doing those sort of wardrobe clear-outs over the years. And still, I had bags and bags of donations and the full process took me over a week. 

When speaking to friends about this recently, I realised that for some wardrobes it may be unrealistic to expect a full cleanse in a day. One of my friends, for example, says she has not cleared her wardrobe since her last day in University when she packed to come back home. Almost ten years onwards, it is very difficult to expect her to even be able to lay all her processions in her bed in one day, let alone assess them all one by one. The single thought of a wardrobe clear-out fills her with dread so she keeps postponing the much needed action. 

It can in fact feel pretty daunting to tackle everything you own in one go, so I have come up with a few strategies to break it up so that you can achieve the same results in a more relaxed and not so scary way. The idea is that you can tackle your clothes over a few days, weeks or even months as it suits you and your life.  

Tackle a particular style 

This is when, for example, you decide to tackle your smart bottoms. So you remove all the trousers, skirts etc. that you would wear on a work day and place them on your bed. You then go about the box method as you would, but only for these items. 

This way of cleansing your wardrobe is perfect for someone who, like me, requires a different wardrobe for the week (quite smart) and the weekend (casual).  

I would separate as:  

  • Smart tops
  • Smart bottoms
  • Weekend tops
  • Weekend bottoms
  • Smart shoes
  • Casual shoes
  • Smart coats
  • Casual coats 

Tackle a type of clothing 

This one is more for those who don't really have a separation between work and weekend clothing. In this case you can, for example, start by tacking your shirts. 

I would separate as:  

  • Jeans 
  • Other trousers 
  • Skirts 
  • Shirts and blouses 
  • T-shirts and vests 
  • Jumpers and cardigans 
  • Trainers 
  • Boots 
  • Other shoes 
  • Coats 

Box it as you wear it 

This is one for those with busy lives who don't want to allocate any time at all to the box method. Box it as you wear it means that you assess your current outfit and make a decision at the end of the day when you are changing to your PJs.  

  • Love your top? Back in the closet.  
  • Too warm/ cold for your skirt? Season box.  
  • Not sure about your cardigan? Maybe Box.  
  • Your trousers no longer fit? Sell/ Donate. 

The only catch to box it as you wear it is that after a few weeks (ideally three, no longer than four) you will need to tackle what you haven't worn, this should prove quite easy though. Be honest with yourself and place everything you haven't worn during the past weeks on your bed.  

The idea is that if you haven't worn something its either because it's the wrong season (season box), you are not sure about it (maybe box) or it doesn't serve you any more (sell/donate). 


I hope you find this helpful and I would love to hear about how you get on.  

It is important to find what works for you personally as the idea behind the box method is to help make life a little easier, without making you feel like you have to effort your way into a tidy wardrobe. In my experience, you can still achieve great results by adopting any of these strategies or your own clear-out strategy that works for you!



Discovering my work wardrobe

Discovering my work wardrobe