How to Detox your Wardrobe in 5 Easy Steps

Last week saw me do a long overdue Wardrobe Detox on my own wardrobe....and it reminded me to re-write and publish my 5 step approach to tackling your own. It's really easy - all you need is to set aside about 3 hours (ha, I hear you say...but you can also break it up into chunks as I did...2 hours in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon). Like everything that takes time, it's well worth every minute and I can't overestimate how amazing it makes you feel.
Incidentally, if you're local and would like me to come and do your closet clear out for you, let me know. I've recently started detoxing wardrobes for other people as a service. Email me at for more information!  But before you message me, have a read of how to do it yourself...

Starting with what you should have to hand before you start:
  • Camera/tripod - it's really good to record the process on time-lapse as I can see my video below. But also have your camera to hand to take pictures of before and afters and also of any outfits you make up as you go.
  • Cleaning products & microfibre cloth - a big part of the process is to actually clean the inside of your wardrobe. You'll be amazed at how much dust accumulates. Use a damp microfibre cloth to clean your mirrors!
  • Boxes/bags - have these ready for all the items you're going to either sell, give to friends or give to charity.
  • Notebook - have a notebook or use your phone to note the things that need replaced or that you think are missing from your wardrobe. 
  • Hanging rail - have a simple rail to hand for hanging bits that you're not sure about, especially items you're not wearing because you can't really make outfits with them. I picked mine up really inexpensively in Argos.
Take everything out of your wardrobe and pile it on your bed. Add anything that is in other wardrobes in other rooms. Pile shoes on one part of the floor. Handbags in another. This is the scary part and it can be quite time consuming but don't worry about making a mess. You'll have it cleared up in no time.
It's really important for you to see what you have in one big pile - it's powerful and it's sobering. It's also the only way you'll find that item you've forgotten about and you're less likely to put it back in if it's not working for you.

Hoover out your wardrobe, wipe it down, add fresheners or drawer liners. Make it a happy place! It will help your clothes to look and smell nicer for longer and will help you love your wardrobe once again.

Working in categories (i.e. coats/jackets/jumpers), pick up every single item you've taken out of your wardrobe and ask yourself...
a) have I worn it in the past 12 months?
b) do I love it?
c) does it fit me? 
d) does it make 3 outfits?
e) have I multiples of it?

You need to be answering at least 3 of these questions positively to keep an item. If you've a massive wardrobe and you really want to be ruthless, look for 4/5 or 5/5 positive answers. Do consider going to a seamstress for items that don’t fit but which tick all the other boxes BUT only if you really love them. Add the items to one of 3 piles  - KEEP, SELL, CHARITY (including recycling) and FRIEND

Remove all but the keep pile from your room. It's important to create distance from these items. Put the bags for charity and your friends into your car. Move the selling items to another room and refer to my selling preloved post to decide the best approach for offloading these.

Hang up all your items again - this is a good time to chuck out old and broken hangers. Ideally, apart from knitwear, you should hang up as much as possible as it's easier to see them when they're on hangers. Personally, I don't have room to do this so I fold jeans, t-shirts/jersey tops and knitwear and hang everything else. Don't double hang!

If you've been as ruthless as you need to be, you should have some room in your wardrobe now and you should make a list of what you’re missing in your wardrobe, e.g. a black blazer, denim jacket, neutral wool coat, biker jacket, some scarves. Lots of wardrobes that don’t make good outfits are lacking well fitting basics.

And there you go - I am aware that this is VERY short and sweet but I wanted to get across that the process is essentially quite simple. It is a definite bonus if you have a friend or someone who can come along and help you be more ruthless, make up outfits and identify the gaps and this is a service I can offer if you're local. Just drop me an email to and I'll message you the options - I've done it for a few friends already and the feedback has been really encouraging. I've absolutely loved doing it and I'm keen to build my portfolio so I'm offering a competitive rate until the end of November only. And as promised, here's the video of my own detox. 3 hours in 26 seconds!!
Back soon with some long overdue outfits...




  1. Very useful tips thank you and a great idea to help others detox their wardrobes. I don't live locally sadly but otherwise would love to have your help with decluttering.

  2. Anonymous11:53

    really Avril, I would love to detox my wardrobe, as it is around 20 plus years out of date. Unfortunately the few items I have in my wardrobe I.e. One coat, one pair of jeans, yes I have been wearing these items for 16 yrs, and when they go threadbare, they need to be mended or shoes and boots stuck with superglue to get more wear, or out of fashion too bad I just have to keep wearing them. You don't realise how lucky you are to be able to detox on a regular basis.

    1. And that's real life isn't it - we all have different situations going on. Some people will need to clear out 3 or 4 times a year and others will never need to. I do keep my blog content varied and appropriate to different situations and this post was heavily requested on my social channels. You'll see on the post that I also share a message of donating to charity and friends...both good ways to add to your wardrobe without spending much money (or any money, in the case of a friend).

  3. Hello. While people all have different personal & financial circumstances, I am not sure it’s really fair to presume publicly that you know whether someone knows/recognises that their life is more charmed than someone else’s. Take care. ��

    1. I had been trying to formulate a response to the above comment too, as I felt it was quite unfair to Avril. I couldn't find the right words as I didn't want to be rude or critical towards a fellow commenter. But I think your response was really helpful and nicely phrased. For what it's worth, I actually think Avril is really thoughtful, considerate, gracious and appreciative. Thank you for this blog Avril.

    2. Ladies, thank you so much for eloquently and gracefully replying to the earlier comment. I know my blog posts won't be for everyone and that's's nice to know you both found it worthwhile reading and hopefully useful! x

  4. Avril, you inspired me to cease procrastinating & commence the great wardrobe detox. I am donating eveything to my local charity shop or selling on eBay to generate a few pennies. To date, I have conquered the scarf basket, which was quite a feat in itself! Thank you for giving me the much-needed nudge in the right direction, Ingrid xx

  5. Anonymous17:14

    Hello Avril,
    I´m becoming a regular reader (coming over from midlifechic) and this blog post is really useful. Thanks a lot!! I like your style, that you don´t wear heels a lot and that you do feature lots of preloved and budget options. Please go on in the same way!
    All the best


I love reading your comments and will reply as soon as I can if you have a specific question. If for any reason, you are unable to leave a comment, just drop me an email at or leave a comment on the A Life to Style Facebook Page! Thank you xx

© A Life To Style | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig