De-cluttering clothes

The grey sweater – towards a more sustainable home

The Seasonal Switch

At the weekend I undertook my twice annual clothes switch, or review and de-clutter. Somewhere in late spring and early autumn each year I remove all the most seasonal items from my wardrobe for the season just gone and do some de-cluttering. I am trying to buy fewer clothes to be more sustainable and reminding myself what I already have plays an important role. In spring it’s the thickest sweaters, heaviest trousers and skirts, in autumn it’s the shorts, vest tops and lightweight linens that are removed. And I do a switch. The stuff that comes out of the wardrobe gets laundered if needed and then stored away in simple storage boxes in a cupboard in the guest bedroom for later that year.  Their opposites come out of the boxes to play for a new season and I take the opportunity (learning from a de-cluttering course years ago) to review and try on clothes I haven’t worn for a while. I always find de-cluttering refreshing and this time was no exception.

Forgotten Treasures and TLC

I found a beautiful bright green wool jacket hanging in the guest bedroom wardrobe that I haven’t warn for several years and decided the time had come to wear it or let it go. To my delight I put it on, loved the fit (having lost a little weight since I last wore it) and the bright colour instantly felt cheerful. Oh and it goes perfectly with a scarf I bought a few months ago - result! I realised it was easily forgotten in the guest bedroom, so it’s now on the coat rack in the hall to remind me to wear it.

I came across a pair of trousers that fit me but I don’t seem to wear. Comparing them with a much loved summer pair in a similar colour I realised the summer pair simply have a slightly narrower leg. So the sewing machine came out. I fixed them and another pair that simply needed taking up a little. That’s two extra pairs of trousers to choose from. Some well-worn favourites needed a bit of TLC or downgrading to ‘wear at home’ or in the case of one really worn pair of jeans to ‘wear for gardening’!

Sewing machine sustainable home

Love it or let it go

Several items went into the ‘give away’ pile - including a couple of ‘special occasion’ items, each of which I bought under a time constraint because I needed something for an event. I tried both on and didn’t really like what I saw looking back in the mirror. Now is a good time to donate or sell them when someone else might be looking for a bargain for the festive season.

So what’s the relevance of all this to our home decoration and design? Well there are a lot of similarities between de-cluttering our homes and our clothes. Some colours cheer us just by being around them. Some items have sad memories - but wouldn’t for someone else if we can part with them. There are well-worn items of furniture that we love and are just so ‘us’ - that sometimes just need a refresh to give them new life. There are the forgotten treasures that might benefit from a change of location. And there are the things that no matter how much we think they should work, just don’t…. and we should let them go, whether that’s to raise money for something that suits us better or to donate to those who need them more.

Shopping more sustainably

The grey sweater of the title? Well whilst trying on a couple of much loved brightly coloured skirts and trousers I was thinking what I’d wear with them. I came to the conclusion that a fairly plain grey sweater would actually create several outfits, even more when paired with different accessories. A quick online search found one in a favourite local store (and with 20% off ending over the weekend). A grey sweater isn’t the most exciting purchase for a colour lover like me but it proved immensely satisfying to see how the addition of just one plain item opened other possibilities.

Sometimes our homes also need the equivalent of my grey sweater. The purchase that doesn’t excite us - but ties together some well loved favourite items. Fresh tea towels for a lovely kitchen, new plain bedlinen on a good bed, a throw that smartens a favourite sofa and adds extra warmth for winter.

For our homes to be more sustainable we need to take the thrill we used to get from a big shopping spree and rework that into longer lasting satisfaction. The pleasure in a small find that completes a room. The joy in seeing an old favourite full of memories, lovingly restored.
If you would like to help or inspiration to look at your existing possessions with fresh eyes, why not consider our Design Coach service?

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