Wardrobe Detox

Given my annual January tradition to organise areas of my life that have become rather cluttered during the previous year, countless hours the past few weekends have been spent ankle deep in piles of clothes, shoes and accessories as I sort through my whole wardrobe. My current wardrobe is so tiny that I had quite literally run out of space, and with thoughts now turning to all the fun clothes I want for Spring/Summer, I knew something had to give. And so, the great wardrobe overhaul is underway. Here are my tips for getting your own in order (do these seasonally or annually for best results):

1. Take everything out. Literally take everything out of your wardrobe, drawers and wherever else you store clothes/accessories. Give the whole space a clean with a damp cloth (so it’s free of dirt and dust) and throw in some scented sachets, bars of gorgeous-scented soap (my mother’s tip for keeping moths away and making everything smell lovely: I love orange blossom soap I bought in Morocco) and some drawer liners to protect your clothes and keep everything fresh.

2. Categorise. Start sorting through all the piles of stuff you’ve taken out (do this in sections to avoid getting overwhelmed). Sort into three categories for now: ‘definitely keep’, ‘questionable’, ‘definitely get rid of’ (anything worn out beyond repaid, too big/small, and anything unflattering that makes you miserable to wear).

3. Organise. With the things you’re ‘definitely keeping’, check that everything is clean and in good repair, then start putting them back in your wardrobe in the most organised way you can manage; that means grouping like with like, and storing things where you can find them. I stack all my shoe boxes at the bottom, sort hanging clothes by type and then colour, fold jeans, sweaters on shelves and everything else in drawers. Buy good hangers to protect your clothes (padded hangers for silk or wool items, wooden or slim plastic – never wire – for everything else).

4. Declutter. Start sorting the two remaining piles (‘questionable’ and ‘get rid of’). Go through the ‘questionable’ pile piece by piece and ask: Do you actually love it? Do you wear it (if you love it but don’t wear it, start now)? Does it honestly still fit your style/lifestyle/body? Do you feel great when you put it on? If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these, move it to the ‘get rid of’ pile. Sometimes it feels great to be ruthless (call in an honest friend for help if you have trouble letting go). If anything needs to be repaired or cleaned, do it that week. Add whatever makes the cut back into your (now) organised wardrobe.

5. Purge. With the last pile, either sell or donate anything that is still in good condition to a charity or a friend you know will appreciate it. Toss or recycle anything that is worn out (no one wants your holey tshirt, no matter how much you loved it). Again, do this the same week so the piles don’t lurk in your house.

6. Maintain. You’ve got everything in order, so try your best to keep it that way (it takes the stress out of getting dressed each day). Only put things back in your wardrobe that are clean, in good condition, and that make you feel great. If you’re short on space, store clean out of season clothes in airtight tubs or suitcases until you need them again.

What are your tips for detoxing your wardrobe and keeping everything organised?

33 thoughts on “Wardrobe Detox

  1. This was inspirational. Have been trying for weeks to get a good clean-out done but it’s been impossible. Even took all my clothes out just to put them all back a few days later just by the stress of looking at them.

    But will now try again. Thanks!! Putting nice soaps and scents is a great idea and also thought of making new nice-looking hangers to make it more fun.. I’ve been desperate…

    With love from

    • Don’t give up! As I said in my previous comment, tackling the task in small batches helps enormously (I’ve been doing this myself). And don’t forget you can always tweet me for more tips/encouragement!

      B xx

  2. I emigrated recently, and it’s a GREAT way of clearing out your clothes and realising what really matters…if it’s back in the homeland and not missed, you really don’t need it!

    I’ve just completed a NY resolution today: take my festering and neglected “to be fixed” pile to actually be mended at the tailor. I have no excises because I walk past my tailor on the way to work every morning, but i STILL leave buttonless holey clothes piling up on my sofa. Feels great to finally get it done…

    • Couldn’t agree more! Moving from Australia to England with only two suitcases to fill with my favourite belongings forced me to be very ruthless! I’ll admit to missing a few pieces I cast off, but generally it’s thoroughly satisfying to whittle it down to the favourites and start afresh!

      B xx

  3. thanks for the great tips. I will use them when I do my spring cleaning. I specially liked the idea of the scented soaps in the drawer or closer.

  4. Thank you! It is a cold, wintery Sunday. The perfect time to do this and I have needed the inspiration.

    I have a vast handbag collection and a lot of my “Questionable” items end up folded and rolled, stuffing the bags. I then find them several months later having forgotten they were there and I love them all over again!

  5. Gosh you really do have some beautiful things! I love wardrobe reorganising, its so cathartic. I’m still very bad at throwing things though, as so often I find a new way of wearing clothes and fall in love with them all over again! Must. work. on. the. hoarding!

    • Oh thank you so much. And if it helps, I used to be a compulsive hoarder myself! In the end I just got sick of having so much stuff I didn’t actually love, and gradually reformed my ways (I now make sure I do a cleanout twice a year).

      B xx

  6. Ahh I LOVE the pic of all your glittery shoes, so so pretty! Love your tips on organising wardrobes, I just find it so hard to throw things out even if I no longer wear them, or worse never have worn them! Definitely going to try the scented stuff for my wardrobe, must be nice opening a wardrobe door to something lovely! XXX

    • I used to have trouble with the same thing, but have become more ruthless. I always find it helps to part with things if you know they’re either going to a good cause (a charity shop/organisation or a friend who will appreciate them) or sell them (I use ebay); makes you feel less guilty about getting rid of things you spent good money on.

      Good luck!

      B xx

  7. I recently decluttered my cupboard after coming back to London after four years away… I had to be ruthless but I cut from four wardrobes to three which are in impeccable condition! It was a BIG struggle but SO worth it! I’m now working on the rest of my bedroom and throwing out all those little things you keep for no reason at all.

  8. Hi, sorry to bother you (as I am unsure if this is appropriate to ask) but I read that you are selling some items on ebay (namely a chanel scarf – or did you decide to keep it in the end, I can’t blame you if you did). Anyway I was wondering if you have listed your items yet? Good blog by the way : )

    • Hello! Ah yes, I’m actually behind my own schedule (I was planning to list everything at the end of January). Still definitely planning to ebay everything, but it will be more towards the end of February/early March now. Not to worry, I’ll mention it on here when I do 🙂

      B xx

  9. Ah I do love a good wardrobe detox post and this one is better than good – it’s practically delicious! Not to mention that photo of your glittery shoe collection…I shall sleep happy now I’ve seen that! xxx

  10. I love reading how other people organize their closets! I have been living between two closets because I am in college so having a set organization is hard especially when I have been moving from place to place. But a big tip I have is having all the same hangers either all wood or plastic NO WIRE because then they don’t get as tangled. This is something new for me.

  11. the biggest problem i have with keeping my room organized, is that there isn’t enough “organizational tools” to be had where i live! ): i find it impossible to find boxes, trays, and the like to keep my little knick knacks tidied up, so i always have random stuff all over my room. it’s positively infuriating, ugh.

  12. I SOOOOOO need to do this!! I have way to many clothes that I actually don’t wear, yet I am always the first to complain how I have no where to store my clothes!!

    This weekend I must go through and empty my drawers and wardrobe!!

  13. Pingback: A Girl, A Style | Springtime Pursuits

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