New Year Wardrobe Detox


Many readers of my book Wardrobe Wisdom have commented on how the second section – Wardrobe Organisation – has really motivated them to have a proper wardrobe detox and declutter their clothing collection. This is a process that seems daunting initially but once completed is really transformative – to your wardrobe and to your mind. I’m not a neat freak and am not keen on rooms that are overly minimal – but I know which image below makes me feel calm and which gives me anxiety!

If your wardrobe is chaotic then it will make the process of dressing much more difficult each day – sometimes the feeling of not having anything to wear is because you can’t easily locate what you have. Clearing out clothing clutter will also help you to identify what gaps you may have in your wardrobe – garments that you may need to purchase to get the full potential out of the clothes you currently have, enabling you to create outfits with ease and take the stress out of dressing.

A survey in 2017 by Weight Watchers estimated that the figure of wasted expenditure on clothing was £10 billion, with only 55% of the clothes women own actually being worn. Whilst some people may be hanging on to things for posterity, or “just in case” they may need it/fit in to it one day, there is undoubtedly a hoarding of unworn or unnecessary clothing going on. And if you don’t have the luxury of wall-to-wall walk-in wardrobes to store mountains of clothing, then a periodic clothing cull is a necessity for most people.

So, if you have had a post-Christmas sales splurge and need to free up space for your new winter additions, why not release your inner “Marie Kondo”, ditch the New Year diet and detox your wardrobe instead!

Cleanse your Closet

When you go through your wardrobe, be realistic about the clothes that you wear day to day; hanging on to garments that you no longer wear takes up space unnecessarily, so try to adopt a ruthless sorting process. Divide into the following groups:

  1. Keep, wear regularly
  2. Keep, but need to supplement with new purchases in order to wear
  3. eBay/re-sell
  4. Charity
  5. Storage (out of season)
  6. Discard/recycle

If garments no longer fit or you haven’t worn them in a while, try selling them on eBay first or donate to a charity shop. Popular designer and high-street labels and occasion outfits/dresses tend to sell better than casual clothes on eBay, so consider sending casual clothes straight to the charity shop, if they are in good condition, or to a clothing recycling bank. I had a clothing clear-out just before Christmas and donated to The British Heart Foundation – they will collect the bags of clothing from your door (see the BHF website for details). You could also support charities like Smart Works, who accept quality second-hand workwear donations, which they then offer to women seeking employment.

High-end designer labels will also sell well on designer second-hand clothing websites, such as Vestiare Collective. Head over to my Recycle blog post where I have listed some other places where you can recycle your clothing.

Keeping Organised

To keep your clothing collection at a manageable level with a wardrobe that is accessible and wearable, try to resist purchasing any unnecessary items; focus instead on filling the gaps in your wardrobe that were revealed after the clear-out. Group 2 (things that you are keeping but need to supplement with new purchases in order to wear) is likely to be full of separates which only work if they have something to work with. Make a list of things you think your existing wardrobe would benefit from and focus on acquiring these items the next time you go clothes shopping. Your goal is for a versatile and manageable wardrobe to fit in with your space and lifestyle. Resist the temptation to purchase new one-off garments unless you think they will complement what you already own.

Once the detox is complete, your remaining wardrobe needs to be efficiently organised so that you can easily locate specific garments. It will be much easier to avoid clutter creeping back in if everything is suitable stored. Check out Wardrobe Wisdom for more tips on effective wardrobe organisation.

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