How I downshifted my wardrobe by 80 percent.

Today I downshifted my wardrobe by 80 percent and it feels great! It has simplified things, given me lots to redistribute and and helped me to unclutter the room leaving it feeling fresh, clean and airy.

I have big bags of clothes ready to give away and a good collection of old stuff to feed the worms.  I realised I actually wear only a handful of my clothes, so while I like the others or had sentimental attachment to them, there really was no need to keep them. Also some of them I liked so much, they were threadbare and holey. It was time to let go.

Some of the bags of clothes waiting to head up to the charity stores in Maleny.

Living like a backpacker

Back in the early 1990s, Evan and I were travelling around the world a lot with our backpacks and lived amply on a handful of simple clothes. However, since we’ve had kids and settled a bit more, things have accumulated. As much as I promised myself this would never happen, it did. It was definitely time for a big clear out. I’m pretty sure what I’ve kept would be able to fit into a backpack again.

I love wearing sarongs here in the subtropics – they are lightweight and easy to store and care for.

Special souvenirs of musty space-fillers?

Not only were my own clothes filling up the wardrobe space, but clothes I had kept from when our children were little – things I thought were special souvenirs of their baby days. What they had become really were musty, stained and old (storing things in humid subtropics is difficult). I have kept just a few really special items and packed them very well.

Getting up my nose

All these surplus clothes were collecting dust which I was really starting to find was getting up my nose – literally.  Today, everything got washed with soapnuts and eucalytus, and the entire wardrobe and room was wiped down with diluted vinegar. It feels so fresh again.

How did I sort through it all?

Basically I just made one big pile on the floor  in the middle of my bedroom and methodically went through each piece.  It took me half a day to sort, wash and clean out all the dust from the back of the wardrobe  – a big commitment of time, but one that is going to save me lots of washing, sorting, putting away etc. later.  

As I went through the clothes I placed them in nine different piles and bags: 



  • Keepers –  I went through this pile a couple of times to refine my choice to pick natural fibres, ethical items and ones that are biodegradable.
  • Storage box – a selection of a few things for different seasons and some favourite skirts which will be good when I lose a few kilos (!?)
  • Gift bag – almost new children’s clothes that are suitable for friends with young children.
  • Hand-me-down pile – some retro pieces of my clothing that now fit my daughter
  • Charity store bag – all the good quality clothes that were left
  • Upcycling box – a few pieces I liked that had fabulous fabric, but no longer a good style are awaiting redesign (when I get a new sewing machine pedal – Monty was experimenting with scissors recently).
  • Rag bag – too bad to fix but good for rags.
  • Worm pile – too bad to fix and fully biodegradable.
  • Rubbish – too bad to fix and not good for rags or worms. (thankfully this was the smallest pile)




My small selection of clothes for storage for another season.
Tomorrow I’ll give the worms a big feed and take the bags to the charity store in town to free up my hallway.  
Working out what to wear in the morning is going to be so easy!
This is all that is left in my wardrobe –  a couple of skirts, shirts, singlets and long sleeve tops – and my favourite jacket with all the pockets for collecting seeds while I’m out and about.
My next declutter project – my office!  Now that’s a real challenge.

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5 Responses

  1. gail
    gail at |

    Great inspiration Moran. Well done.
    Blessings Gail.

  2. Marigold Jam
    Marigold Jam at |

    Brilliant. I discovered when doing my Back-pack, boots and bus pass trips just how liberating it can be to have fewer clothes to choose from and came back full of ideas to do just what you have done.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous at |

    Yes, thank you for the motivation Morag. I should get some before and after shots. 🙂 Needing the dust cleared out before the house gets closed up for winter here too.

  4. Meg Hopeful
    Meg Hopeful at |

    My closet needs a good sort through too, Morag. I've been doing everyone's closets here in little dribs and drabs but I think taking a big chunk of time to do is probably better and the impact more pronounced. Good luck with your office! Meg:)

  5. Selina B
    Selina B at |

    old clothes are also good to stuff handmade toys or cushions, i tend to keep everything.