Wardrobe detox: Simplifying your wardrobe can really improve your health

Wardrobe detox: Simplifying your wardrobe can really improve your health

There are many reasons people book me to have a good wardrobe detox; my clients could be returning to work after maternity leave, they may have moved home and need to rethink the space their enormous amount of clothes are taking up or they could, like many, accept the time has come to stop the stress and anxiety their clothes cause every single day.

Sounds dramatic right?  Well believe it or not I personally know this to be true.  My wardrobe wasn’t always streamlined and simplistic.  Once, it contained a range of tops in every colour you could think of, a collection of blouses I had bought for the person I envisaged myself to be and a stack of jumpers so high I think the ones at the bottom were last seen in the 80’s!

We should feel a sense of empowerment from what we wear - and I’m not referring to a power suit, I mean in every day life.

Our clothes and what we choose to wear have a massive impact on our whole day and how we feel.  Putting outfits together in order for us to feel good about what we’re wearing should be simple and take us very little time. Anything we pull from our wardrobe should be something we love, feel good in and fits well.  We should feel a sense of empowerment from what we wear - and I’m not referring to a power suit, I mean in every day life.

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Having experienced both types of wardrobes, when it comes to clothes, less is more.  I now own roughly a tenth of what I did.  I still have a healthy wardrobe full of choice but not too much choice.  I don’t have so much that it overwhelms me or that each morning the hassle of thinking of what to wear is overridden by practicality, ending up choosing from a tiny safe section of the wardrobe.  

I know where everything is and where to find it. If I decide to exercise there is no block or excuse stopping me in my tracks.

If you’re mindful, meditate, exercise or practice any anxiety or stress reducing strategies, you need your surroundings to match these.

Take away some of your choices and give yourself more options!

Helpful thoughts

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Photograph by Hannah Morgan. 

There are some powerful questions you can ask yourself when going through your clothes that will help you think more realistically.  I’m not the kind of person who implements rules involving time scales, you know the kind… ‘If you haven’t worn it in a year get rid of it’.  I’d argue, but what if you haven’t seen it in a year? This kind of rule just doesn’t work.

  • Remind yourself why you’re doing this.

You want easier decisions, less choice and more physical and headspace.  You want your mornings to be easier, you want to know everything in your wardrobe is something you can put on easily and feel good in. 

  • Go with your gut feeling.

Only you know if there’s a chance you’ll ever wear an item again. There is no point in lying to yourself. If your gut feeling says no then it can leave.

  • Would you buy it now?

If you were out shopping would you choose this item and actually buy it? Worth thinking about…

  • Would someone else enjoy this more than you?

Surely it’s an injustice to have a beautiful piece hanging in your wardrobe that doesn’t suit you, fit you or make you feel good? And surely it would be nicer for this item to get a chance to be enjoyed by someone else rather than you dwelling on what you shouldn’t have spent or what a waste of money it was? Concentrate on how much someone else would enjoy it.

  • Let the guilt go.

Yes we make bad purchases, yes we have wasted money. Is this solved by having a rail of clothes that make us feel bad every time we look at them? Embrace the guilt on the day of a clear out and then let it go. The space and clarity you’ll gain from only having things you’ll actually wear far outweigh the feeling of guilt which I guarantee will be gone the next day anyway.  You’re much more likely to shop mindfully when your wardrobe is in great shape.

  • Any items you only wear occasionally (ball dresses or fancy outfits) ideally shouldn’t take up your daily wardrobe space. If there is anywhere else you can store these, you’ll gain space and be able to spread out what you have a bit. 

How to organise your wardrobe

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Photograph by Hannah Morgan.

You’d be surprised how long a full wardrobe organisation takes.  It takes me and my assistants around a day to properly complete a medium sized wardrobe.  So before you hurl yourself into your bedroom and pull the whole lot out, you may want to think about how much time you have. Often people feel defeated or get distracted after a few hours and end up doing a half hearted job that’s incomplete, and the result is not much better than when it started.

Work on your wardrobe section by section, and start small. This is exactly why I named my book ‘Start With Your Sock Drawer’. Even doing this tiny area will give you a buzz when you see it the following morning and will inspire you to keep up the work.  Continue with your underwear drawer then stop.  A section of your hanging items, then stop. Then your folded items and so on. This truly is the route to success.

Doing the #betterin30 challenge? Use the hashtag to tell us how you’re getting on, and you could win a personal session with one of our experts!

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Vicky Silverthorn is your Better in 30 Professional Organiser.  Vicky will declutter your home and your mind so you can stick to your New Year’s resolutions.  Vicky is the author of ‘Start with your Sock Drawer’ and Founder of You Need a Vicky, a professional organisation company.  She’s helped to streamline the homes of A-list clients from Suki Waterhouse, Ayda and Robbie Williams to Jamie Dornan and Jonathan Ross.  Now she’s here to help you.

Main photograph by Clarke Street Mercantile. 
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