The Art of A Closet Detox


As someone who used to have items dating all the way back to my high school days still in my closet (true story), I’ve come to really enjoy and appreciate the art of the detox.

Your wardrobe should be a reflection of your style and aesthetics.

Every item you don’t like all that much or doesn’t look good on you is tainting that reflection just a little bit.

Throwing out these items is like getting rid of toxins in your body, only your body is your closet and the toxins are clothes that don’t represent you.

A big fear that holds many people back from doing a full on detox is having a lot less clothes than they did before which could make getting dressed in the morning even more of a struggle.

I know – I was worried about this too.

But if you think about it, even if you end up with significantly less clothes than you had before at least they will all be things you truly love to wear.

You’ll also have a better picture of what you ACTUALLY own, pretty much eliminating that dreaded feeling of having a jam-packed closet but nothing to wear.

Getting rid of things even affects us psychologically – having things in excess, even seemingly trivial things like clothes, can be burdensome and stress us out.

A closet filled to the brim with clothes that aren’t aligned with your style is, quite literally, restraining your ability to express yourself.

On a side note – it’s also okay if your closet is close to bursting, as long as everything in it reflects your style and you love wearing them, go on wit cha bad self!

Wardrobe editing is an ongoing process. It’s something you’ll want to make a habit of doing every few months or at the very least during the change of seasons to ensure you don’t have any style-toxins lying about.

Today I’m going to share my method for cleaning out my closet.

As with the majority of methods and processes I share – don’t take this as the end all be all.

This is simply how I like to go about cleaning my closet, I would totally encourage you to tweak my process to make it work better for you.

4 Step Closet Detox

Step 1 – Clean the area around your closet

Things are going to get messy. No matter how organized I try to be, my room always looks like a freakin’ tornado whipped through it after a closet detox.

Step 2 – Gather your supplies

Here’s a simple supply list to follow:

  • Trash bags
  • 3 storage bins/boxes
  • Post-its (a true gift to mankind)

Label each bin as “Give away/sell”, “Maybe”, and “Alter/Repair”

Step 3 – Detox!

This is the meat and potatoes of the process. First, pick one clothing category, such as skirts or sweaters. Pull all these items from your closet and lay them on the bed.

Now comes the fun part! {well, at least the nerd in me loves this part….}

Time to examine each piece and then put it in one of five places.

To help you determine where each piece goes, here are a few questions to ask yourself as you examine each item:

** Is the item ripped, badly stained, or worn beyond repair?

** Have you worn this item in the past year?

** Does it fit your overall style?

** Does it have sentimental value to you?

** Can you think of at least 3 outfits you could create using this item and would be excited to wear?

** Does the cut fit your body and make you feel confident?

** Does it have any minor faults – broken zippers, loose buttons, or undone seams?

** Will you be able to wear it during the upcoming season?

closet detox

Depending on your answer to those questions determines where your items go:

Trash bags: put anything that is ripped, stained, or damaged in any way that’s beyond repair.

Giveaway/Sell: Anything you’ve never worn, that doesn’t fit, or you just don’t like anymore.

This is where you have to be honest – if you haven’t worn it in this past year, then you’re probably never going to wear it again. Also if you have multiples of very similar items say like 8 striped tees ( ::raises hand:: guilty.), consider if you really need all of them. Any extras you can do without can go in this box as well.

Maybe: If an item fits and is in good condition but you can’t decide if you like it or not, it goes in the maybe box.

You can put the box in storage and see if you really miss any items or not. I’ve done this many times and it never fails that I forget about items, and if that’s the case you can sell them or give them away after a few months.

Alter/Repair: Put all items you like but don’t fit you quite right or are in need of an simple repair (hemming, replacing a button, etc.) in this box.

Only do this if the cost of getting an item altered/repaired is less than buying a brand new one. Don’t spend your money trying to get a $10 F21 top tailored.

Back in your closet: anything you absolutely love to wear goes back into the closet.

This includes any clothing that are necessities to your wardrobe – a black blazer for work, simple blue jeans, a nude bra, etc. – but don’t fit right anymore or are a worn out from wear.

Note on your post-its items that need to be replaced asap, for now they’ll stay in your closet until you buy newer versions. Stick the post-it on your closet door, or transfer your notes into your phone.

Step 4 – Rinse & Repeat

Repeat step 3 for each category in your closet. To be really thorough, don’t forget your undergarments, lounge wear, and accessories (shoes, bags, jewelry etc.)

Taking action right after your detox

Once you’re finished here are a few steps to take right away:

  1. Throw away trash bags before you change your mind
  2. Put your maybe box in storage
  3. Go over all items that need to be replaced
  4. Organize the items you’re keeping in your closet and note any holes – i.e. other things you need to buy to complete your wardrobe

Taking action a few days later

And finally here are a few action steps to take a few days after your detox:

  1. Decide what to do with items in the giveaway sell box
  2. Deal with any alter/repair items
  3. Plan additions to your new purified wardrobe.

All in all this will probably take a day out of your weekend or week, but I promise it will feel oh so GOOD once you’ve finished and with spring right around the corner tis the time for a thorough clean out.

Let me know if this was helpful in the comments below.

Thanks so much for reading!

One Response to The Art of A Closet Detox

  1. Just stumbled across you & KATNP and have to say that you are my newest favorite person! Love your voice, your enthusiasm, and encouragement. I currently have an extremely toxic closet & am trying to get a handle on it using a clothes organization app. I mostly struggle with my size changing every few years (fat to thin to chubby)… I’m everywhere. My post clean out follow-up skills are also weak… (should I save that out of style cable sweater to cut up for boot cuffs?, etc.)
    Also mystified why there are so few comments… You Rock!