Clothes - wardrobe planning to avoid clothes clutter

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 The good news is that after you’ve done this exercise once it will get easier and easier in future.

 This is a good exercise to do every 6 months –at the beginning of autumn and spring.


Colour themes

First let’s think about colour themes – buying to a theme increases mix-and-match potential, and reduces the number of shoes and jackets required to make a match. 

Pick 1 light (e.g. white), 1 dark (e.g. black or navy or khaki), and 2 bright accent colours (hot pink, red). 

Colour theme examples:

  • white, navy, fuchsia and purple.
  • Cream, khaki, lime, orange.

Glance at what you already have – does a theme stand out, or do you have a mish-mash?

Write down your theme here

  Dark Colour Light Colour Bright 1 Bright 2





Get rid of the easy stuff

Do NOT trash the house while doing this. Work one drawer at a time, and put everything that you haven’t discarded BACK into the drawer before going on to the next drawer. Don’t try to de-clutter and re-arrange at the same time. Just de-clutter, and the re-arrangement will take care of itself.



Go through your clothes drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard and get rid of everything:

  • Too small
  • More than 1 size too big or too small (you won’t gain or lose that much weight in a season)
  • Grotty, dirty, ripped
  • That you hate
  • That is way outside your colour scheme


Bag those and donate/hand them on before you try to tackle the rest of the clutter.

Now take those bags right out of the house before you go any further. DON’T try to work with piles around you – clear the decks ready for the next step.




What do you NEED?

Next make a list of what you actually do and wear day by day through the week.

There are blank forms at the end of this document to fill in.

Example: SUMMER clothes

  Early Late Activities
Saturday Casual   Swimming, beach picnic
Sunday Gym Casual Dinner: Nice outfit
Monday Suit No, go from uniform straight to pyjamas  
Tuesday Suit No, from suit to Aerobics to pyjamas Aerobics
Wednesday Suit   Painting class –

messy - casual

Thursday Suit Casual Karate gear
Friday Business casual Casual Dinner out– nice outfit


So from this chart you’d see that your child only needs:

4 casual outfits (even if you only wash weekly) and 1 messy casual outfit (for painting class)

4 Suits

1 Business casual outfit

2 nice outfits

2 sets of PJS (possibly 3)

1-2 sets of Swimmers (the 2nd set is useful for holidays)

1 set of karate gear

1 aerobics outfit and 1 set of other gym gear




Now fill the chart in again for WINTER.

You may find there is a lot of overlap, but some complete differences due to sports or hobbies that are seasonal.


Now that you’ve made the two lists, it is time to assemble outfits. 

If you need 5 summer and 5 winter casual outfits, assemble 5 sets of what you would wear for a casual outfit. What constitutes an ‘outfit’ is totally dependent on your tastes and the weather you are dressing for.


Sydney summer outfit:                                 underwear, shorts, t-shirt.    
Seattle winter:                                  underwear, jeans, tights, long-sleeved shirt, sweater.

TRY to stay in colour themes – this increases their mix-and-match potential, and reduces the number of shoes, hats, gloves or jackets required to make a match. 

Laying outfits out on the bed or floor works well. Try to pick tops that will work with at least 3 bottoms, and vice versa. 

Once you’ve assembled outfits, add the ‘extras’ that are worn more often, like shoes, hats, gloves, coats.  Three to five pairs of shoes, and 2-3 jackets should be more than enough, so try to choose ones that cover all outfits.


Sentimental items: You will find that there are items that you don’t want to part with.  Try to keep  it to 2 sentimental items maximum. Try to choose small items (a slip dress, not a huge bath robe).


Avoiding clutter in future

Have a ‘to donate’ hamper beside where you fold laundry. That way you can throw clean items in there for donation if you know they are getting past it.   Avoid letting them get back into the cupboard, as they will just sink to the bottom of the drawer and not be seen until you have another big de-clutter.

Avoid impulse purchase of clothes. 

Shop twice a year for clothes – once for summer and once for winter.  Using the planner BEFORE you go shopping is a great way to avoid clutter in the first place. Often we THINK we need an item, only to buy it then discover we had one in the back of the drawer that we’d forgotten about.


If you travel a lot, or can wash clothes regularly

Note that we’ve got a full week’s worth of clothes on the planner. This means you can go a way for a week’s holiday without needing to do laundry, or spend time between two places and have enough clothes if you do laundry more than once a week.


Novice de-clutterers very seldom get down to ‘just what is on the planner’ anyway, so you will probably have MORE than enough clothes for any situation.







Name ________________________________________


  Dark Light Bright 1 Bright 2
Colour scheme    


Example Navy blue White


Red Yellow




Season:               __________________________ (summer / winter)

  Main clothes Other clothes Activities





























Name ________________________________________


Colour scheme

  Dark Light Bright 1 Bright 2




Example Navy blue White


Red Yellow


Season:               __________________________ (summer / winter)

  Main clothes Other