Top tips on how to set closet detox goals

In order to let anything new into your lives, we have to let things go. Closet detox is the very first step to developing your unique style and building a sustainable fashion capsule. We’ve already talked a bit about mentally preparing for the closet cleaning in this post. Now it’s time to set intentions and goals for this mini-project.

Step 1. Analyze your current wardrobe

Your style journey starts with analyzing your current closet. How much stuff do you have and how much do you actually use? What are your favorite outfits? What colors are prevailing? Those are just some of the questions you will answer for yourself.

In the book The Curated Closet, Anuschka Reeves suggests documenting your everyday looks for two weeks by taking pictures and writing down what you wore and how you styled it. It’s a great idea as it will help you fill out your personal “activity wheel” which we’ll talk about below. However, if you can’t wait to clean your closet, then at least allocate an hour or two for looking at your wardrobe and answering these questions.

1. What was your most favorite outfit in the last couple weeks/months?

2. How would you describe your current style in 3 adjectives?

3. What’s the percentage of eco-friendly clothing in your current wardrobe?

4. What message does your closet send about your personal values?

5. What percentage of your wardrobe do you think you wear?

6. How easy can you create a look every morning?

7. What is your typical shopping strategy?

After you answer all these questions, whether you write it by hand, type it or think aloud, proceed to the next part, setting up your style goals and the intentions behind your future closet cleaning.

Step 2. Set your style and closet detox intentions

Now let’s set up intentions for your creating your fashion style in general and for the upcoming closet detox. They will most likely be very similar.

What is the true reason behind your desire to create a new wardrobe? For example, it can be the fact that despite the abundance of clothing, you still have nothing to wear. It can also be that you’ve recently gained weight and can no longer fit in some clothes. And of course, it can be that you want to learn more about creating a sustainable capsule wardrobe. Answer the following questions and record it somewhere, in case you would want to come back to this stage in your life for sentimental purposes. 

1. What do I like most about my current wardrobe?

2. What do I like least about my current wardrobe?

3. What is the reason for cleaning my closet?

4. What is my style goal/closet detox goal?

Click here to see an example of Monica's closet analysis

What do I like most about my current wardrobe?

I have many beautiful designer outfits that I’ve accumulated over the years. Most of them are suitable for special occasions like parties, date nights, and informal business meetings. I also like my personal style with lots of interesting and fun accessories, florals and stripe patterns, pinks and purples. I think my accent wardrobe is unique and I’m proud of it.

What do I like least about my current wardrobe?

I can see at least five problems with my current wardrobe:

Now that I have small children, I don’t go out as often (sad!), and therefore, most of my wardrobe is unworn and unappreciated.

Because my wardrobe is focused on accent clothing, I don’t have many basic, neutral things like black and beige tops, dresses or plain shoes. 

I don’t know much about sustainable fashion. The whole world has been buzzing about it for a while but I’ve never taken time to learn about it and incorporate it into my wardrobe.

Each morning is a marathon race for me with getting the kids ready for daycares. I don’t have enough time to come up with nice looks and often end up looking like a bum. 

No color variety; the dominant color is black.

What is the reason for cleaning my closet?

I want to clean my closet because:

I have too many unworn special occasion outfits that clutter the space.

I have 300+ clothing items but every day I have nothing to wear, it’s hard to create looks.

I have no idea how many plain neutral clothing items I currently have.

What is my style goal/closet detox goal?

My style/closet detox goals are:

Leave only the clothing that I love, often wear, and that sparks joy and confidence.

Create a capsule wardrobe which consists of basic and more neutral clothing and accent clothing. 

Learn how to style items in my closet.

Refresh personal fashion color palette.

Replace beaten up pieces with similar but eco-friendly items.

When you are clear on your intentions, you can move to the last section where we’ll talk about that magic “lifestyle wheel” of yours.

Step 3. Draw your “lifestyle wheel”

As you’ve seen from Monica’s example, one of the problems with her current closet is that most of it doesn’t suit her lifestyle anymore. In the past, she used to go out much more often, but now she spends most of her time working or taking care of the kids. Her current closet, however, hasn’t been updated to reflect these lifestyle changes. A “lifestyle wheel” is to the rescue!

Your wardrobe should match your lifestyle activities in equal distributions. An “activity wheel” is a pie chart which represents all your activities with their corresponding percentages.

Create a list of all your activities:

To draw this diagram, first write down all activities your life consists of with the number of days this activity takes up on average every week. Say, you spend most time working from the office and chilling outside or at home, with the rare exciting moments that you go out. Couple times a year you also have some black-tie events and themed parties like Halloween or Burning man.

Your activities in this case will look like this:

Work: 5 days a week

Home: 7 days a week

Hiking: 2 days a week

Gym: 2 days a week

Going out: 0.2 times a week 

Other: 0.1 times a week

Describe your activities in terms of clothing categories

Now go through this list and see what type of clothing each activity requires.

For example, in Monica’s case, it will be something like that:

Work (semi-casual dress code): 5 days a week 

Home (casual, lounge, comfortable): 7 days a week

Active (sport, yoga, hiking clothing): 2 days a week

Going out (street style, party, black tie): 0.2 times a week 

Other (costumes, fun accessories): 0.05 times a week

Draw your “lifestyle wheel”

Next, based on this information, draw a pie chart with these activities and their percentages. Don’t worry about your math skills or exact calculations, and remember to make enough space for your Home looks. Just because no one sees you, it doesn’t mean you should neglect your look!

Lifestyle wheel: draw a diagram of your current activities

Draw your “current wardrobe wheel”

Now it’s a moment of truth! Let’s find out how functional and reflective of your lifestyle your current wardrobe is. Using the same logic, draw another pie chart, this time for your current closet composition. It might look like this:

Sparkpick Style Guide Lesson 3, Set up your closet detox and style goals Current wardrobe wheel
Current wardrobe wheel: draw a diagram of your current wardrobe to see how much it fits your current activities

Let’s put the two wheels next to each other and compare them.

Sparkpick Style Guide Lesson 3, Set up your closet detox and style goals - sustainable fashion and capsule wardrobe.
Lifestyle wheel and Current wardrobe wheel can be very different

We can spot a couple of clothing gaps here. Active clothing and Home looks are underrepresented, while Party clothing takes up extra 20%. Keep this in mind these differences when cleaning your closet and focus on letting go of things that are overrepresented. Also, later on, when restocking your wardrobe, you will get a chance to replenish your underrepresented pie slices.