Ideas For Detoxing Your Closet


When I decided to remove a lot of stress from my life, I had no idea that the clothes in my closet were stressors. I knew stress was present in my diet, my money management (poor), and my schedule and job, but what about my clothes? Clothing shopping, in particular, was a stress reliever for me.

I rarely went shopping for new clothes; instead, I went shopping to make myself feel better, to relieve the pain of boredom and working a job I didn't enjoy, and because I truly believed that buying new shoes would make me happier.

I realised that all of my shopping was causing me more stress by wasting time, money, and energy that I didn't have by choosing a minimalist fashion challenge for myself. Even more surprising, I noticed that my clothes were encased in various forms of stress and emotion. That'll come later, but first, let's talk about closet detoxing.

If you want to relieve stress, feel lighter, and free up more space, time, and money in a few hours or days, try this closet detox.

10-Step Wardrobe Detox:

1. Take a photo of your closet or multiple.

This is your "before" photo, a warning that you should "never go back here."

2. Go through your closet and empty it completely.

Take everything out of the room. Toss all of your clothes and other belongings on your bed to aid in the completion of the project.

3. Look for any other items that are related to your wardrobe.

If you have clothes, accessories, or shoes stashed in other closets, drawers, boxes, or hidden places, you're not alone. Drag all of that stuff out of your closet as well.

4. Take a new photograph.

"OMG, I had no idea I had so much stuff," you say in this photo.

Examine your belongings carefully and feel the weight and shock. This is an extremely important step to take. I was able to let go of the time, money, and energy I'd spent on a pile of things I'd barely used.

5. Put everything in its proper place.

Turn up the music and take breaks for snacks as needed during this step.

  • Love Pile 1: I adore these items. They are comfortable to wear and I do so frequently.
  • Pile 2: Perhaps: I'd like to keep this, but I'm not sure why. This could include items that aren't in season.
  • Donate pile: These items do not fit my body or my lifestyle.
  • Trash (Pile 4): These items are in bad shape. (If at all possible, repurpose)

6. Get rid of everything.

Before putting anything back in your closet, remove the items from the piles you aren't keeping. Remove them from your closet, your room, and your entire home. Don't be tempted to resurrect these items by delaying their demise.

7. Put everything away.

Put any items in a box about which you are unsure. Don't toss them out or put them away in your closet. To create some separation, hide these items for at least three months. Return and examine them after a few months of dressing with less. By that time, you'll have cut your emotional ties with those items and have a better idea of what you really want or need in your closet.

8. You get to pick your own adventure.

You now have clothes that you can wear, that fit your body and lifestyle, and that you enjoy wearing. Here's where you get to choose your own adventure.

  • Adventure #1: Put everything away and admire how much lighter your closet is.
  • Project 333 is the second adventure. Take it a step further and limit yourself to 33 items for the next three months, including clothing, jewelry, accessories, and shoes. More detailed challenge rules can be found here. Put the rest in a box and hide it.

9. Take a picture of the light.

Take a few photos of your newly cleansed closet. 

10. Let go of the guilt as well.

Get rid of the guilt when you get rid of something in your closet. Replacing guilt with joy is the most effective way to let go of guilt. Allow love to fill the void left by guilt. Remind yourself that there is no room in your life for guilt.

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