Nancy Buckland Kirk on why she’s not the new Marie Kondo. However, she has been sorting through her fashion past, so today Nancy’s sharing what did and didn’t help her during her de-cluttering process…
Hands up if you have gone from planning to bake your own bread to growing your own vegetables, and now you are starting to look, and feel, close to something resembling full-on feral? Routines are really important right now, but if you are anything like me, you are probably approaching the stage where a reality show filmed in your house would be one where a team of experts are needed on some sort of rescue mission. Here’s the thing: they wouldn’t be allowed in right now. You are going to have to step up.
Now the weather has picked up, even though the sun is out, it’s not a heatwave situation just yet. Your winter staples are starting to feel a little heavy and tired. Buying lots of new pieces feels out of step with the world outside now, as well as your budget. I have already had the dreaded conversation at home about getting some of my summer ‘stuff’ out of the loft.
We have all had more time to think about what’s important. Just over a year ago, I made a commitment to finally sort out decades’ worth of my buying past. I let so much go, and in the end I decided against trying to sell most of it. It was such an emotional time, and it felt good that someone else might get joy from things that I loved so much. The really beautiful pieces found their way into my stepdaughters’ wardrobes, on the understanding that they sent reports of their new adventures. It has made my day to see altered dresses and jumpsuits and accessories visit fabulous locations, worn by gorgeous, youthful women.
We are all on a strange adventure right now, and so I thought it was high time I documented what really helped me, and what didn’t. I am not the new Marie Kondo. The upkeep stage of sorting through my life is tougher than I thought. And I still have a curious habit of keeping things for ‘best’ which on reflection is clearly unhelpful. Now I really am marooned, it seems such a waste to see things you adore staring back at you from a shelf, screaming to get out.
Here is my report from the frontline of de-cluttering my wardrobe. Please note, this is only one area of my life. No one needs to know that I’m not quite as enthusiastic about kitchen cupboards…
- It’s going to take time and effort. There is no getting around this. That old adage of starting slow and sorting out a drawer at a time did not work for me. I’d have been 104 by the time I had finished.
- When the time is right, buy new hangers. Colour-matched, uniform hangers, look really gorgeous when you open your newly tidied wardrobe spaces. Get rid of those ones the dry cleaners now encourage you to take back, as they do actually recycle them.
- I did not really go with the ‘create five piles’ where each one has a named destination. If you have anything beautiful and want to sell it on, you are going to have to be patient. I much prefer the personal touch and places like Jenny Kenny that sell on your items are a perfect compromise. After giving valued pieces to people I love, the rest went to charity. I figured that I had already bought and enjoyed it. I’m not much of a spiritual person, but it felt like good karma to me. I also made sure everything was clean and pressed and looking its best.
- I realised that the things I kept that could be worn were the things that were investment pieces. I am not on a Victoria Beckham budget by any means, but I made a conscious decision that anything I wanted to add in the future had to earn its place. And recently I have really been thinking about the importance of your own sense of style. It feels great to be released from the oppression of being in fashion. I absolutely adore clothes, and every season I can’t wait to window shop. But my favourite thing to do is buy out of season. I don’t mean pre-ordering (again, I’m not VB) but by accessing the tail end of sales from previous collections. There are so many great outlet stores and sites now, from McArthurGlen to the Outnet. For coats, suiting and crisps shirts Reiss is also a great place to find beautiful tailoring that lasts for seasons to come. It can feel odd purchasing a winter coat in the middle of summer, but it feels wonderful when autumn arrives.
- Invest in storage. One thing I have really enjoyed about having a sorted space is that it takes me less time to find what I am looking for. I am not one of those people with perfectly organised cupboards, but really simple storage solutions have been brilliant at saving time and space. Next has been my destination for this one. While they are closed right now, you can still browse their collections online and earmark some gems for when we are all able to return to normality.
At the moment, I’m still slouching about in looks which are decidedly un-slinky. Putting on ironed pyjamas with any type of structure to them feels like dressing for dinner. But on the other side of this new world order, I feel there is something really valuable on its way. I feel a sense of appreciation for what I already have, and it certainly will be time to get things out of the closet. Waiting for ‘best’ is a waste of precious time.
Until then, feel free to get a little ruthless and use this time, if you can, to really sort out what is worth keeping, and what you can let go of. You will surprise yourself. One of the great joys of opening your wardrobe and actually having choices, rather than problems, is that it gives you a real sense of value of what you have already brought into your world.
My only current worry is that I am making so many extra trips to the fridge that I do have a slight concern that when we finally are given some sense of freedom, none of it will fit me.
Does anyone have any spare tents? I’m thinking cotton, for summer…
About the author: Nancy Buckland Kirk is a writer with a keen interest in fashion and beauty and a career which has spanned modelling, teaching and spreading the word about leading beauty brands.