Decluttering your wardrobe? Follow these five golden rules | Give up to give back











Ensuring your clothes get a second life is a good way to help balance any guilt or sadness about giving them up.

Photograph: Carey Shaw/Stocksy United

Nobody likes to be wrong. So admitting that your wardrobe is full of clothes you don’t actually wear (too tight, too long, too many sequins … what was I thinking?) can make decluttering a scary business. Or perhaps you’re afraid of throwing out a beloved biker jacket in an over-enthusiastic Marie Kondo-inspired clear-out.

But the benefits will far outweigh the negatives: opening your wardrobe doors to find only clothes you actually want to wear – lashings of sequins or not – makes getting dressed a joy. Whether you’re contemplating a return to the office and need help getting back to business casual or simply want to permanently defeat your floordrobe, now is the time to kick out the clutter for good.

Not sure where to start? Follow these five simple rules and you’ll find that your wardrobe works with you rather than against you.




868068 vert crop - Leather goods are usually a splurge item, so culling them from your wardrobe can feel like throwing money away, literally. But simply hoarding them isn’t getting you any more bang for your buck. Donate those shoes that pinch and that handbag you stopped using years ago.



Well-loved leather goods can be restored by specialists. Photograph: Stocksy

1. Give your preloved clothes a second life
Clearing out your wardrobe can be emotionally and physically draining: rifling through party dresses might cause you to mourn the halcyon days of your youth; a certain suit could be loaded with the anxieties of awkward job interviews. Ditching these items can feel like a betrayal of the old you – or maybe you’re not ready to admit those days are gone. Ensuring your clothes get a second life is a good way to help balance any guilt or sadness about giving them up. It also means they don’t end up in landfill, where textile waste can take hundreds of years to decompose.

What’s more, it’s never been easier to donate preloved clothes, accessories and homeware thanks to a partnership between TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People. Just drop off your quality items at any TK Maxx store, following all the safety guidance in place, and your preloved pieces will be passed on to Cancer Research UK to be sold in its shops. All the money raised from items sold will go to Cancer Research UK for Children & Young people, and if they can’t be sold, they could well be repurposed or recycled. Just make sure your donations are clean, dry and in a good condition so the charity can get the highest possible value from them.

2. Go hell for leather
Leather goods are usually a splurge item, so culling them from your wardrobe can feel like throwing money away, literally. But simply hoarding them isn’t getting you any more bang for your buck. Donate those shoes that pinch and that handbag you stopped using years ago. For well-loved pieces that you can’t bear to part with, look into specialist cleaning services that can buff away serious scuffs, scratches and stains, restoring items to almost new. There are also kits and YouTube videos to help you clean and condition everything from trainers to leather bags at home.

3. Make do and mend
Cashmere aficionados will know that constant vigilance, an intense regimen of gentle cleaning and an arsenal of cedarwood and lavender is the only way to stop moths feasting on your knits. If holes do appear in your favourite jumper, act fast and you can stop it unravelling entirely.

Invisible mending will take fibres from elsewhere on the garment in order to patch up the hole with tiny stitches that – you guessed it – are nigh on invisible.




Woman on knees searching through shoes in wardrobe



A full clearout might feel overwhelming, so ease into it. Photograph: Daly and Newton/Getty Images

Alternatively, opt for visible mending and wear your patch with pride. Something of a trend right now as sustainability rises to the fore, visible mending could be a simple darning stitch in a contrasting colour. Or you could make use of one of the growing numbers of professional services that can turn a repair into a mini embroidery project, leaving you with something truly creative and unique.

4. Adopt a door policy
A one in, one out door policy on a night out is a total buzz kill, but it’s a good way to stay in control of your clothes – and your budget. By asking yourself to make a sacrifice every time you want to buy something new, you’ll start to break the cycle of impulse buying and the lure of fast fashion, which can lead to a wardrobe of unworn clothes in the first place.

It’s also a great way to gently ease into a wardrobe clearout if the idea of a full on purge is too overwhelming. Keep a bag or box that you can add each item to as you go along, and before long you’ll find that you have plenty to give away.

5. To thine ownself be true
Forget the trends, ignore the catwalks and unfollow fashion influencers. Instead, think honestly about what you truly love to wear. Any colour so long as it’s black? Great. Sequins and sparkles? Have it. All linen all the time? You do you. Ask yourself not just if you love an item but why you do, and you’ll build an emotional understanding of your wardrobe that shows you’re confident in your own style.

You can support Give Up Clothes For Good by donating your preloved quality clothes, accessories and homeware at any TK Maxx store, all year round. Find out more at tkmaxx.com/uk/en/give-up-clothes-for-good

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