How to Have a Successful Sort-Out

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successfulsortout1I’ll be honest, I’m a little obsessed with having sort-outs. I find it therapeutic, in a way, and it’s always so satisfying to see that bag (or five) of stuff ready to head off to the charity shop. So today I’m sharing my ‘Golden Rules’ for having a successful sort out.

I tend to divide everything into three categories; Wardrobe, Stuff & Products. Generally speaking this will cover pretty much everything bar the kitchen. I may do a specific kitchen ‘spring clean’ post another time, but for now I’m focussing on the rest, so first up:2015-08-13 19.47.47The Wardrobe

I always tend to start with clothes. I think mainly because there are a finite amount of clothes, whereas other ‘stuff’ tends to be in nooks and crannies all over the place and usually takes a lot longer to get through.

So, with clothes, shoes and accessories I go through everything dividing it into 4 piles: KEEP, BIN, CHARITY SHOP & SELL. If you’re not a particularly ruthless sorter like me, then you may want to add a 5th ‘MAYBE’ pile which you can revisit a few days later. The main thing you need to think about with clothes is:

  • When did I last wear it?

I would say if it’s over 6 months then you need to ask yourself why that is:

  • Does it still fit?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Is it the wrong season? (Are you looking at it in summer when it’s a winter item?)
  • Is it a fancy outfit? (i.e. something you wouldn’t wear very often but need to keep for special occasions – weddings etc)

Now this is where you need to be ruthless – If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it. If it doesn’t have sentimental value, get rid of it. You can see where I’m going with this..! I read somewhere that for all hanging items, once you’ve had a sort out, put them all back in the wardrobe with the hangers facing the other way, (twist the hooks on the coat hangers around so you have to hook the hanger on backwards) and when you take things out to wear them put them back in the right way, so that the next time you have a clear out, you’ll know which pieces you’ve worn since last time and which ones you haven’t touched – quite a clever idea really!

Start putting things into your four piles, and once you’ve been through absolutely everything start putting your piles into bags. I tend to go with the rubbish pile first, this is likely to be the smallest pile as most things you will be able to give to the charity shop, but there are always some things that are only worthy of the bin! So get rid of these first, put them in a bin bag, but keep the bin bag to hand because you will need it when you come to sorting everything else, so pop it to the side ready for the next stage. Next, move on to the charity shop stuff, put this all in another bin bag (or 2/3/4 depending on how ruthless you’ve been!) and make it a priority to take this along to your preferred shop as soon as you can. You’ll then be left with a pile to sell. This is a bit of a longer process, I never used to bother trying to sell stuff as it was always easier to just take it all to the charity shop, but if you do have things that are worth a bit more money, it’s always worth trying to sell them to make some of that money back, it can’t hurt to try anyway! It’s best to set yourself a timeline, and if your pieces haven’t sold by a certain time, then just accept that they will have to go to the charity shop and be glad that you tried.

Once all the clothes have been sorted through you should be feeling pretty happy with yourself! Now’s the time to consider the way you’re storing everything that’s left. If you’ve gotten rid of quite a lot, are there better ways of storing the remainder? Can you make use of the space you’ve created with something else? Streamline your storage to suit your new wardrobe, (or just keep the space for buying new pieces… 😉 ).

2015-08-13 19.51.05Stuff

Moving on from clothes, I like to tackle everything else one bit at a time. There’s always more stuff than you think… in bedside tables, under the bed, at the back/top/bottom of the wardrobe – chose one bit at a time, get everything out and go through it all. You’re going to have to ask yourself similar questions:

  • When did you last use it?
  • Does it add something to your everyday life?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Is it a decorative piece? And do you still like it?

It’s a little more difficult to sort through ‘stuff’ as there are so many things which are kept for so many reasons, but still, you have to be realistic. That random book you read 5 years ago but didn’t really like? That can go in your charity shop bag. The picture frame that was bought for you as a gift that you never, ever use – get rid! It’s easy to hoard things that you don’t really need with the thought that you will use them one day, but you’ve got to be ruthless with these things – if you genuinely haven’t used something in months, think realistically about whether you are likely to use it again any time soon, and once you’ve realised that you won’t (!), chuck it out/give it to charity! 😉

2015-08-13 19.53.12Products

This is something that needs to be sorted through every 6 months really, because products will go out of date. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people watching the clock to chuck out make-up as soon as it’s recommended to, personally I think a lot of stuff is fine to keep for longer, but you do need to be careful with certain things – liquid and cream formats more so – mascaras especially. Also don’t forget nail varnishes – check through them to see which ones have gone gloopy and which ones you don’t use any more and get rid! These are the questions to ask yourself:

  • Have you used it in the last 6 months?
  • Is it out of date?
  • Is it a luxury product which is used sporadically?
  • Can you see yourself using it in the next month?

Personally I think products are easier to get rid of, because quite simply, if you haven’t used it and don’t plan to use it any time soon, then just bin it! You can always put together a pile of bits to offer up to friends if you don’t want to see things go to waste, but have a good think about what you use on a daily basis, and what you use on occasions (face masks/hair treatments etc) and you’ll soon realise what you need to keep and what you can chuck. Simples!

If you’re a regular reader of OE, then you’ll know that I’ve just moved house. I like to think of this post as the sort of pre-prep for moving (or just general tidying and sorting if you’re an anti-hoarder like me!) and at some point over the next couple of weeks I will have a post coming up with my top moving tips (I’ve moved quite a few times now, with varying levels of stuff, so I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve 😉 ). But for now, if by chance you’re moving house soon, think of this post as the starting point – and remember, its always better to have a sort out before you move rather than after!

Do you have any other tips for having a sort-out?


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  • This post has really helped me out! I am moving back to my uni flat tomorrow and I am determined to have a proper clear out. I had a rough idea of how I was going go about it, but your post has made my plan much clearer for me. Thank you

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