5 Tips & Tricks to Detox Your Wardrobe – Living by the Tools not the Rules Approach

Living by the tools not the rules motto =

A wardrobe finely tuned to you


As we head towards a new season, transitional dressing begins to come back into play, offering time to experiment with the new season’s trends and allowing new life to existing pieces.  A chance to play and reimagine.

Here I have created a short 5 step approach to your wardrobe detox so you can enter the new season feeling revived and refreshed, and not out of pocket.

Most of all, have fun and see it as an opportunity to play and rediscover your style….. Madeleine xXx


1: ‘Know Thyself’ 

Knowing what colours, shapes and styles suit you is the first step.  This vital knowledge of yourself will help with decision making and is great for those days when you’re in ‘retail therapy’ shopping mode and not on your game!

Do you really need that piece in the sale?  Will it really add value to your life?


I’ve had this post-it note on my bedroom closet in preparation for the detox

2:  The 6 pile process…

You can use this as a daily practice, or when you’re ready for a full clear out set aside a weekend and take everything out of your wardrobe, including shoes and accessories, right down to your underwear and hosiery /sock drawers, and organise into these piles: 


Again, post-it notes are ideal for this

 Image: Jakob-Owens
Image: Jakob-Owens
Do you really need all of those?

This 6 pile process will help you to deal with those items you’re still not sure about and allow time to launder items, putting back only those which are a definite keeper.  The EDIT section includes worn-out items and mistake buys that can be passed on or recycled. ARCHIVE special investment pieces and those which hold sentimental value which can be passed on eventually. Seasonal changeover pieces help to distinguish your selection by season.

3: Trust Yourself

This will help for the MAYBE pile.  Trust yourself to know what to let go of.  How does it make you feel?  If it’s not good straight away then it serves you little purpose.  We change and our wardrobes should reflect that and it should move forward with us. This is why a wardrobe detox is important. Personally I find myself keeping hold of comfort clothes as I spend a lot of time working at home and when I’m poorly there are certain clothes I don’t want to ruin, so I keep a few of these pieces for those times which is ok by me! 

I have learnt to be more ruthless as I am a bit of a hoarder and can hold on to pieces via emotional reasoning, which is not always healthy.  Consider this an emotional clear out too, and allow those feelings to come and deal with them.  If you're not ready to make a decision, be kind to yourself and wait a week or two then reassess.

 Image: Artem Bali
Image: Artem Bali
This can be an overwhelming process so take your time.

4: Storing

Store last season’s clothes away and out of sight and have current season and transitional pieces at your disposal.  This way as the seasons change, it feels more exciting to see the clothes again and you are more likely to be able to make a decision around whether to keep them for another Summer. 

I had a bit of a Summer sort out this year which was difficult as I’ve put on weight and have had to let go of some wonderful pieces I loved and which held fond memories; but I’m learning that I can make just as brilliant new ones with a more finely tuned selection of clothes to suit me, now.

Image: Lauren Fleischm
Image: Lauren Fleischm

Hang pieces according to colour to assist quick selection for those off days!

And get rid of those wire hangers! Good quality wooden or structured moulded plastic ones will suffice.


A wardrobe detox should be thorough, so before you put your finely tuned selection back into the drawers and wardrobe, give the area a thorough clean.  This will help to deter moths and keep your clothes feeling and looking fresh.

During mid-season, if there is a dusty smell put bowls of steaming water with a few drops of aromatherapy scent in to refresh, or tie lemon pieces, cut in half, gently squeezed and tied in muslin at the bottom of your wardrobe (and remember  they’re there)!  Make sure to launder any other pieces too before storing and give your winter coats a dry clean to refresh them for the new season…

…And remember to recycle your unwanted clothes!  Or customise them!  Or why not have a clothes swapping party.  Charity shops do very well from this so I always take mine to Oxfam as a first port of call and I also gain nectar points by doing this.  There are many re-sale sites out there too.

If you have designer pieces in great condition, get in touch as we may be interested.

For Vogue’s full Wardrobe Detox guide click here

Know Your Style: Mix it Match it, Love it by Alyson Walsh is another book I’ve found really helpful and simply great to dip in and out of for styling tips...


Know Your Style by Alyson Walsh
Know Your Style by Alyson Walsh

So, have fun, play dress up and re-invent yourself!

You deserve to look your very best.

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