Quick! In 5 words or less, how do you feel when you open your closet doors each day. Go!
So? What was it? Oh my gawd! Overwhelmed. What do I wear? If youʼre one of the lucky few who can stand in front of your glorious apparel each morning, organized and stress free, then I say bravo! Go get yourself a nice cup of tea and skip to the next post.
If youʼre like me however, this is a constant struggle and an important topic to address. De-cluttering and organizing can feel scary and impossible. But, cleaning out those hidden places in our lives can lead to LESS stress, MORE time and emotional fulfillment. Itʼs healthy. Itʼs important. And Iʼm going to walk you through some steps to get you there.
This whole process is about purging and simplifying. Keeping only the things in your closet that you love and feel great in is more important than having a bunch of things youʼre not happy with. Organizing and de-cluttering should happen about 4 times a year. The first one will be the hardest, but the ones to follow will be all about maintenance. You should fit your organizing into your own schedule, but here is a good guide to follow: February (gets you ready for Spring), May (gets you ready for Summer), August (gets you ready for Fall), and November (gets you ready for Winter). Weʼre kind of in between months now, so we should aim to prepare for Winter.
STEP 1: Preparation
1. Set aside time. Depending on how fast you are and how many closets you plan to organize, be good to yourself and set some time aside. Plan for several hours or a whole morning and afternoon for each closet. You can break the “tasks” or closets up into different days. It depends on whatʼs best for you.
2. Gather supplies… Two good sized boxes and a trash bag. I suggest gathering these items for EACH closet you plan to organize.
STEP 2: Tackling the mess
1. Pull everything out. Yep. I said pull everything out. I know, you feel a panic attack coming on, but it will be okay. You set aside time. If this makes you feel overwhelmed, you CAN tackle each section at a time. Everyone organizes differently, so you do whatʼs best for you. If you are doing it all at once, then dump everything into one pile. Clothes on the bed. Shoes on the floor. Bins and everything.
2. Sort into three piles. Do this quickly. This is where I want you to trust your gut. The point of this process is to purge, purge, purge! Remember, keep only what you look great in! Jill Martin (closet guru) suggests that, “you should always look like you are going to run into your ex-boyfriend!” Whether you agree with that or not, I do believe that you should keep only the things that make you feel beautiful and sexy.
3. Okay. Here are your piles: Keep, Donate, Maybe. The “keep” pile is for the things you know you love and look great in. The “donate” pile is for things you donʼt want. If you have not worn it in two years, chances are you will never wear it again and I suggest you throw it into the “donate” pile. If you are not sure, then toss it into the “maybe” pile. The “maybe” pile is also good for sentimental memorabilia. You can put it in a box and store it away if you donʼt wear it often, but these items should only be worn around the house and not out in public if they donʼt make you feel great. If something is torn or stained, it should go directly into the trash bag. If it does not belong in your closet, take it directly to the closet it should live in.
4. Clean and plan. Clean the floor of your closet. Sweep, mop or vacuum. Get rid of dust bunnies and stains. Clean shelves. Then, step back and look at your clean slate. Make some decisions about the best way to store things in your closet. How do you want to use those shelves? Do you need some new bins? Do you need some labeled boxes and new shoe holders?
5. Run an errand to the store. I know if I were sitting there, youʼd give me the stink eye. How can I expect you to leave the house when you are a sweaty, dirty mess? If you think you can figure out how to plan this before you start the process, then you can add this to the second part of Step 1. Iʼll leave the bins and boxes up to you, BUT there are two things I absolutely want you to purchase! Get some new, thin hangers. Stores and boutiques hang and merchandise their clothes on matching hangers, because itʼs easy on the eyes. Wood hangers are great too if you have the room. I also want you to get something to store your shoes in! If possible, they should be up off the floor and stored in an easy, manageable way. (Click here for some fun ideas.) If you keep them in boxes (great idea), make they’re clear or be sure to either attach a photo or a label to the outside, so you know whatʼs in it. I also recommend picking up a cedar pack while youʼre out. Cedar keeps the moths away and makes your closet smell yummy!
1) Bamboo Shoe and Sweater Shelves 2) Slimline Hangers 3) Cedar Pack 4) Clear Shoe Boxes 5) Modular Shoe Storage 6) Belt Hanger
STEP 3: Reorganizing
1. Sort. Sort. Sort. Now that you are back from the store, look through those piles again. Throw out all your cruddy, old hangers! Donate your wire hangers to your dry cleaner. Sort through your “maybe” pile again. Is there anything in there that you can definitely throw into the “donation” pile now that youʼre looking at it again? Be honest. When was the last time you wore it? Does it make you feel attractive? Will you really put it on and leave your house to see your friends? Ok! Throw those things into the “donation” pile. Be sure to do this with your shoes and hand bags as well!! Now, put all the donation items into the donation box. IMMEDIATELY close up that box and take it to your car. It is important to get it out of the house and into your car so you are forced to deal with it. Clothes, shoes and all in this box!!
2. The maybes. Put your “maybe” pile into one of your boxes. I want you to put all these items into a box and store it somewhere in your closet. We will come back to this box in 6 months.
3. Seasonal planning. We are between seasons seasons right now. If you have plenty of room in your closet to hang ALL of your clothes, then do so! You should hang your current seasonʼs clothing in the most prominent location and Spring and Summer off to the side. Otherwise, if you have room for Fall and Winter, we can hang them in your closet now and store all your Spring and Summer clothes in a bin for later.
STEP 4: Merchandising your closet!! … and drawers
1. Organize your shoes. Organize your shoes in a way that makes it easy to see them all, and even group them together if possible. Heels and work shoes together. Boots together. Group by color if you can. Try to place these things to one side of your closet if you have a smaller space. Youʼll want to leave room for dresses and longer hanging things. Your shorter things can hang above your shoes.
2. Re-hang and merchandise your clothes. Separate your closet by category. Blouses, shirts, sweaters, skirts, pants. Try to hang them by color in each category. Light to dark from left to right works best. Sometimes, itʼs best to fold sweaters, because they can grow when hanging on hangers. Fold and place them on a shelf in your closet so you can see them easily.
3. Your dresser drawers. Drawer items are usually easier. Throw out any foundation or lingerie items that are not in good shape. Mostly anything that you just donʼt wear and will not wear. No need for these to take up valuable space. If you can, designate a drawer to each category. Bras and panties, socks and tights, pajamas, active wear, etc. You will breathe easier when you know which drawer to go to when you need something.
4. The fringe items. Whatʼs left? What other items are sitting around that came out of your closet? Is it possible that some of these items have a permanent home somewhere else in the house? If so, go ahead and take those items to their appropriate place. Accessories, belts, hats and scarves should have a home as well. Designate a drawer for some items if you can, get a belt hanger or attach an accessory board to the wall of your closet so you can hang some belts and necklaces from it.
Whew!!! I think weʼre done organizing!! Be sure to drop off that Donations box as soon as possible and sit back and enjoy your organized closet! You can use these steps to do the same thing for your children. Encourage your spouse to follow this list and maybe make him a nice cup of tea. I wanted to keep this post nice and short, but if you have specific questions that I did not address here, then feel free to ask.
Next time, weʼre going to go shopping in your closet! Weʼll figure out what you have, what you need and just what you may want to pick up this season. Yay! Shopping! See you next time!!!