...It was at about this point that the whole idea started feeling utterly ludicrous, however, as it appeared that I had already reached a definite point of no-return, I soldiered on. The first job was to give the wardrobe itself a thorough clean out. We do sometimes have a problem with damp and mildew, and my hope is that by giving the whole thing a good swab out with a strong detergent/white vinegar solution, this might keep the nasties at bay for a while. While I waited for it to dry I started sorting through things...found several pairs of pretty shoes/matching bags which have been to various people's weddings over the years, and a pair of pretty shoes and a tiara which went to our wedding, on the bride! I've kept my wedding dress, veil and all the other bits - those are sentimental items that I figure it IS OK to hang on to. The veil was also the "Something borrowed" for a friend a few years later, so lots of memories there. Those bits were all moved up to the storage at the top of the wardrobe, alongside the box that contains odd photos, the notes from various people's speeches, and all manner of other keepsakes from the day. As I found things that I felt I genuinely wouldn't wear, or use, again, they were put into bags for the Charity Shop, and where things were so well worn as to be no good even for that, piled into a black rubbish sack.
Years ago I bought the clear plastic shoe storage boxes you see above from Lakeland Limited, and they have been so useful! Aside from shoes I use them for all sorts of other oddments - smaller bags, evening bags, and hats, even. This time around I have also piled a load of scarves into one of them - handy to stop them falling all over the wardrobe and getting in a tangle.
Because of the issues with the damp one aim was to try to make sure that things didn't get pushed right to the back of the shelves - and by using the extra space created in the top to hang things like jeans, and walking trousers (which have always previously been folded) this meant that the nightwear above is now just taking up space at the very front of those shelving sections. Some thermal "base layer" tops - for walking in cold weather - have also gone into another of the spare plastic boxes - I can see at a glance where they are and they should stay dry and fresh.
The bottom section of shelving is now completely empty, although my plan is that this will give me extra space for shoes as and when required. there is also spare space available on the hanging rail should I need it - and the clothes that are hanging there currently are hanging freely, not squashed and getting crushed together. My one and only "posh frock" is also now hanging completely straight, rather than with the bottom folded over as it was before.
Everything remaining in the wardrobe gets worn - the things that were too small, not comfortable, not flattering etc were tried on to reassure myself the fact that this was the case, and have gone either straight to the Charity bags, or have been put out for washing ready to head that way later. Things are where I can find them, which was one of the main aims - far simpler to be able to go straight to my chosen shoes/bag/scarf than having to scrabble through the wardrobe for ten minutes first!
The next task will be - one by one - my drawers. Then it's on to replacements for items, some of which I have already noted as needed today:
Black work trousers
Boots - low heeled but smart, suitable to wear with jeans OR workwear
Shirts for Spring/Autumn workwear (will probably look at Charity Shops for these)
More items will be added to that list as I go along.