BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 18 June '16

Survey finds 3.6 billion items of clothing are left unworn in the nation’s wardrobes

Every morning up and down the country, British homes play host to their own closet dramas causing 49% of the nation to suffer from ‘wardrobe rage’ – irrational tantrums directed at closets when choosing an outfit.

The study by Marks & Spencer (M&S) revealed that it takes us 15 minutes each morning to decide what to wear, with the average closet containing 152 items. 46% of people admitted to owning more items of clothing than they did five years ago – yet we only wear 44% of these items regularly.

Deciding what to wear

Women spend on average 17 minutes choosing their daily style, a total of four days in a year. Men are speedier, clocking in at 13 minutes, but a staggering one in 50 takes more than two hours deciding what to wear getting ready each morning.

The reason for this may be that almost a third (29%) of Brits feel that their wardrobe is a mess and 48% confess that they need to declutter.

One in eight (12%) owns over 300 items of clothing, despite one in five (20%) regularly stating that they ‘have nothing to wear’.

Not only does this cause us undue stress, but it has also seen one in 10 regularly arriving late to work because of the time spent choosing their outfit for the day. One in five (21%) women even admitted that it has caused them to row with their partner and 14% have refused to go out as a result of struggling to choose an outfit.

Edit your wardrobe!

There are 3.6 billion clothes left unworn in the nation’s wardrobes – a whopping 57 items per person – with an average of 16 items only worn once and 11 still with the tags on. One in 20 of us even has over 50 items in our closets with the tags still on.

Marks & Spencer and Oxfam are calling on the nation to edit their wardrobes and donate – or ‘Shwop’ – and release the power of good in these once-loved items of clothing.

If just a fraction of these clothes were donated, Oxfam could help hundreds of thousands of people around the world out of poverty.

Just £5 raised from the sale of a shwopped cardigan could provide safe water for five people.

‘I have seen first-hand how a humble old pair of trousers can help to build a community for women, or provide clean, running water to those without it. We are a nation that holds onto everything, because we feel it may be of use to us again, but it won’t. By tidying your wardrobe regularly, you will not only get a tidy mind, but also a clear conscience by Shwopping.’

JOANNA LUMLEY
M&S’s Shwopping ambassador

Leading fashion stylist Bay Garnett says it should take us no longer than two minutes to pick an outfit and has a simple answer to reduce time spent angrily throwing clothes around the bedroom and prevent clothing waste. The solution? A carefully curated wardrobe. Garnett states that a few staple items that work season after season, together and alone, is all that is required to provide us with relief in times of sartorial need.

‘We all need a regular closet detox: it helps us to not only easily choose what to wear, but also clear our mind. Opening our wardrobes in the morning can bring a startling range of emotions. Why do we put ourselves through it?

‘We need to start thinking about dressing for the present – for the size we are now, for the job we’re in now. It’s a process of streamlining and getting rid of some past negativity before we add anything new. Shwopping these items will not only make your wardrobe more manageable for the first time in years, but also make your mind instantly clearer.’

BAY GARNETT
Fashion stylist

The Oxfam Shwop Shop

Joanna Lumley has joined the decluttering trend and her shwopped items will join a host of celebrity supporters’ items and clothes from the public at an online sale this summer. The Oxfam Shwop Shop will see all proceeds going to the charity’s work to alleviate global poverty.

Since its launch, Oxfam has received 24 million items of clothing thanks to Shwopping, worth an estimated £16.4 million. All money raised by the campaign is used to support Oxfam’s projects around the world.

Click here to find out more about Marks & Spencer and Oxfam’s Shwopping initiative.