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7 Steps to a Closet Detox

Follow these 7 steps to a closet detox.
With autumn officially here, most of us are going full steam ahead into fall feels. Even if crisp winds have yet to arrive, we’re ready to start the annual cool-weather wardrobe transition. Of course, the process begins with saying goodbye to our summer threads and hello to our favorite fall items.

Whether you dread or eagerly anticipate the seasonal wardrobe switch, some effort is necessary for a closet that will suit your lifestyle in the coming months. While it may sound like extra work, a closet detox is a great way to make your wardrobe transition easier. A detox purges the items you never wear, allowing you to only focus on the items you actually do wear.

If the idea of a closet detox is overwhelming, we have seven simple steps to get you on your way to a wardrobe that is both versatile and season appropriate.

  1. But first, clean your room
  2. Not to sound like your mom or anything, but…clean your room. As you unpack last year’s clothes and remove summer items from your current closet, you will need plenty of free space for clothing piles — whether it be on your bed or floor. Not to mention, a messy room makes it harder to think clearly, which is necessary for thinking critically about the items you want to keep or give up.

  3. Acquire plastic bags and bins
  4. Plastic bags are an absolute must when it comes to detoxing your closet. You will need large trash bags for separating the items you’re throwing out from the items you’re donating. Be sure to mark them clearly so you don’t mix up the bags!

    For the items you’re putting in storage until the summer months, use plastic bins instead of plastic bags so your clothing doesn’t get wrinkled or become misshapen over the winter.

  5. Play some tunes
  6. A detox can be tedious, but a fun soundtrack will inspire you to keep going! Music that you love can be a great distraction from the task at hand, so try choosing something that’s upbeat and that you can sing along to. Time flies when you’re jamming out!

    (P.S., we recommend checking out Grotto’s Spotify playlists!)

  7. Pack away your summer clothes and identify transitional items
  8. Before you bring out your cold weather clothes from storage, deal with the clothes already hanging in your closet.

    Begin by packing away the super summer-y items like lightweight skirts and dresses, tank tops, thin t-shirts, shorts, etc. After you put all of those pieces away into your storage bin, you’ll be left with the in-between items that can be worn into fall. These are items like jean jackets, blazers, trousers, pencil skirts, and button down shirts. As you’re going through your wardrobe determining what items can be worn into fall, ask yourself these questions:

    • Can it be worn with tights or layered over a long-sleeve shirt?
    • Is it a fall color like maroon, olive, navy, black, or red?
    • Is the fabric heavier and will it retain heat like denim, leather, wool, sturdy knit?
    • Can you layer jackets or coats over it?

    By keeping transitional items in your wardrobe for another month or two, you will be able to stretch your outfit options and you won’t be stuck with only heavy-duty winter items in October when it’s not quite dead-of-winter weather.

  9. Decide which items you’re donating, selling, or throwing away
  10. This is where piles come in handy! Start making separate piles on your floor or bed for the items you’re donating, selling, or throwing away.

    Here’s a quick guide on how to figure out which clothes belong in which pile.

    • Are there minor damages? Take it to a seamstress or donate it.
    • Are there major damages? Throw it away.
    • Has it been sitting in your wardrobe for months, unworn? Sell or donate.
    • Does it not suit your style anymore? Sell or donate.

    At this point, you’ll also want to bring out your fall items from storage so you can get rid of anything not worth keeping. It’s common for our tastes to change over the course of a season, and you might find that you don’t even want or need some of the items you put in storage. If you’re not entirely sure if you want to give something up yet, give yourself the challenge to wear those items within the next week. If you still can’t find a way to make that item work, it’s a clear sign that you’re never going to wear it. Time to give it up!

    A note on selling: While donating is the simplest way to get rid of used clothes, selling them online can be a great source of income! Websites like Poshmark, Etsy, and Ebay are easy to use and only require you to take a few simple smartphone snapshots of the items you’re selling before listing. No glamorous photo shoot necessary!

  11. Identify which items you wear all the time
  12. Now that you’ve purged your closet of the items that have been holding you back, start focusing on your wardrobe superstars. You know the items you wear repeatedly throughout the week and make you feel super confident? Those items need to be front and center. When you only focus on the items you actually wear and love, you’ll know exactly what’s in your closet, which will make getting dressed every day much easier. You’ll also be able to plan your outfits ahead of time, create your own go-to outfit formulas, and even define your personal style.

  13. Organize
  14. Your closet detox will also help you achieve some order! You’ll probably be naturally organizing your closet throughout the detox process, but try creating specific sections according to each garment type.

    To make sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be, organize your items into categories like jackets, dresses, skirts, trousers, tops, sweaters, etc. Not only will you know where everything is, but it will become easier for you to mentally create outfits as you scan through each section of your clothes.

While there are many bonuses to accomplishing a closet detox, the biggest benefit is the amount of time you save each morning. If just one afternoon of deep wardrobe cleaning can save up to 20 minutes of time getting ready every day, we think it’s worth it!

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