How to sort out your wardrobe

Having a wardrobe stuffed full of clothes but having nothing to wear is something most women suffer from. By getting rid of the clothes you donít wear you can see clearly what you do have and make much better use of your wardrobe. Youíll be more likely to mix and match clothes together and be able to see what gaps you have that need filling Ė the perfect excuse to go shopping!

Set aside an afternoon for sorting through your wardrobe Ė as the last thing you want is to have to stop half way through Ė leaving piles of clothes strewn around your bedroom! If you find it hard to throw things away you might want to involve a friend/other half who will be firm with you and question whether you really should keep certain items.

Start by deciding whether youíre tackling your whole wardrobe, or are leaving the summer/winter clothes that you may have boxed up in the spare room/loft until itís time to get them out. You should aim to sort through every item at least once every year, so you can either do them all together or in two lots. Work out what youíre going to do with the clothes youíre getting rid of Ė if you struggle to throw things away youíll find it easier if you know theyíre going to your sister to rummage through, or a charity shop. Get out plenty of bin bags.

In case you need to try items on make sure youíre wearing sensible underwear that will look good under most of your clothes Ė eg smooth and flesh coloured . Now start pulling clothes out. If youíve ever had your colours/style analysed, get out your colour swatch and style notes to help you remove what doesnít suit you.

Assess every item:

- Have you worn it in the last couple of months? If so, then ask yourself if you feel good about yourself when you are wearing it Ė if yes, then it goes in the Yes pile, if not, then itís for the Nos.

- If you havenít worn it recently hereís where you need to get brutal. Is the item a seasonal one? Eg skiwear, evening wear that you only wear every year? If so then, did you wear it last year? Does it still fit? Do you still like it? If yes, then it goes in the Yes pile!

- If itís not a seasonal item then look more carefully at it to work out if you are likely to wear it. Ask yourself: Do you like it? Does it fit? Does it go with anything in your wardrobe? Had you just forgotten about it because it was hiding under other clothes?

If the answer to all these is yes, then you might wear it. If you had any Ďnoís then you really need to be brutal and get rid of it. One exception to this is if you havenít worn it because it needs mending/cleaning, then get that sorted. Give yourself a week to take it to the dry cleaner/sew on that button/get the hem taken up. If you have nothing to wear with it, then that suggests itís probably the wrong colour for you anyway. Unless itís a very expensive item that could be made wearable with an easy purchase, Iíd be inclined to let it go.

Overall, if youíre looking at a piece of clothing and saying ĎI might wear ití, Ďitís a perfectly good suit/dressí then you have to be really firm with yourself and ask why you havenít worn it recently. Sometimes itís hard to accept weíve made a mistake, but if youíre not going to wear something then it may as well be in a charity shop where it has a chance of giving someone else pleasure.

If you really struggle to see whether clothes suit you or not you might want to get some help, either with colour and style analysis to work out what suits you, or with the actual wardrobe sorting process. Image consultants will help you in your own home, with an unbiased expert eye.

When youíve finished make sure you put everything back tidily, and think about a system that works for you. If you have very clearly defined work/home clothes you could separate these into different areas, or you might find it works better to split tops, skirts and trousers. Think about what youíre hanging and what youíre folding and make sure you can get to everything easily. If your shelves are a towering mess then you might want to insert extra shelves so there are fewer items on each one. Now youíve got less clothes you should be able to hang just one item on each hanger. Throw out metal hangers as they arenít kind to clothes and if necessary buy a few cheap packs of plastic ones.

Once youíve sorted through your wardrobe apply the same principles to your shoes/handbags/jewellery. Donít forget your coats and jackets and also make sure you go through your underwear and swimwear.