Wardrobe clear-outs: necessary yearly ritual or losing valuable vintage?

We’ve all tried rummaging through a closet that's full to bursting and yet doesn’t seem to hold anything we actually want to wear. When you consider that the average British woman reportedly spends £80,000 on clothes in a lifetime, it’s not surprising that many of us have wardrobes that are a little out of control. With this in mind, are regular clear outs just a pain or the answer to the problem? A recent study showed that the average household owns £4,000 worth of clothes but only wears about 70% of these each year, meaning we're losing out on a significant amount of wardrobe space! Clothes are often left unworn because they don’t fit correctly or they’ve gone out of fashion, although it might also be because, if we're truly honest, leather leggings just don't suit us.

Whatever the reason, there’s no point holding on to vast amounts of clothing you don’t wear, especially when you could be using that precious space for fabulous new looks. It can also take longer to get dressed in the morning if you have to hunt through your clothes for something you actually like. It might take up an afternoon, but clearing out your closet could turn out to be a timesaver in the long run.

Something as mundane as wardrobe clearance can also help others. Binning clothes is a waste in more ways than one - not only is throwing things out bad for the environment, but any wearable clothing could potentially raise money for charity if they were donated instead.

Despite these obvious benefits, could there be a hazardous side to getting rid of clothes? What first seems like just an old dress that you never wear could turn out to have a value you weren’t aware of. Vintage clothing can be big business, and unless you’re an expert it can be difficult to sort the junk from the treasure. In a recent story it was reported that a Lanvin crepe dress bought at a market for £60 later went on to sell for £7,000, while one lady spent £150 on a twenties lace dress and sold it at £25,000 after a tiny Chanel label was discovered inside.

This kind of story might make for good headlines but is probably an unlikely dream for most of us - even our favourite jumper can’t possibly compete with twenties Chanel couture, after all. However, with a little imagination unworn clothes can be customised or 'upcycled' into something wearable once again.

Given the facts, a combined approach is the most likely solution to the age-old dilemma of the bursting wardrobe. Go through all your clothes and decide whether there could be any life left in them yet. Give the unloved but wearable stuff to charity (remembering to check for tiny Chanel labels first), recycle the holey horrors and then find a wardrobe at Littlewoods to fill up with the clothes that you really love.