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Top tips on how to set up closet detox goals

Learn how to set intentions for your closet detox and use an activity wheel to navigate you through this sustainable journey.

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?

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:

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.

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.

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