Okay, so I may not totally agree with Ms. Bradshaw, but I do love her thinking…and her closet!
Some of you may already be enjoying nice Fall weather, but I am still anxiously waiting to say “Hello fall and hello sweaters and jackets!” But, just where are those sweaters, jeans, and wraps? Maybe finding your fall and winter clothes amidst all your spring and summer outfits is a daunting task. No worries!
Every year I joyfully anticipate the arrival of fall. I have been wearing spring and summer clothing since at least March and I’m tired of it all. Just last week I went through a “closet cleansing” and it was quite cathartic! I actually look forward to switching out my warm weather clothes and shoes for cooler weather attire. I’m fortunate in that my home office is actually a bedroom, so the closet in it serves as my “out-of-season” closet for many items. I love the process of hauling clothes up and down the stairs and switching short sleeves out for long sleeves, golf skirt s out for pants, and sun dresses out for cozy wraps.
I also use this time to organize my closet and take stock of what I can save and what I should pitch or donate. Here are some of my tried and true tips.
If it’s something you’re hoping to someday fit in but haven’t been able to for at least two seasons (as in spring and summer, not 2011 and 2012!), pitch or donate.
If it was a trend you purchased a year or so ago and the trend has come and gone, chances are the next time the trend comes back you’ll have different taste or be a different age and size so it’s probably safe to pitch it.
I like organizing my closet first by style (pants, short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops, etc.,) then by function (casual, dressy, exercise, etc.) and if feasible then by color.
Built in shelves and drawers are the way to go in a closet, but they are not always do-able. If you have a very small room but a decent size closet (it doesn’t even have to be a walk-in closet) think about placing a dresser inside the closet. This serves two purposes: it keeps your close in one handy place and it frees up space in your bedroom. Luckily my master bedroom closet has both built in drawers and shelves, but, being the clothes and shoe horse that I am, I also use many other organizing methods and storage items.
I like using boxes and baskets for everything from purses to clothes pins to anti-static spray, and I also like hanging organizers for flat shoes like flip-flops and leggings. My daughter uses one for all her folded jeans.
Shoe-wise, here’s how this Cinderella makes sure all her shoes fit…in her closet!
My every day and “go to” shoes like sneakers, flip-flops, and slippers, I simply stow on the floor. Other often used shoes like ballet flats and driving mocassins are stacked on shelves and not in boxes. All my heels, dress shoes, or any shoes I spent too much money on are in the boxes they came in in, stacked and labeled. (I don’t use any fancy labeling tool, I simply write what shoes are inside with a Sharpie.) I also have some tried and true cardboard shoe organizers that I’ve had for years and I use them to store out-of-season shoes up high and out of reach. Often times two pairs can fit in one cubbie.
Hooks are also very useful in a closet. On them you can hang purses, jewelry, scarves, belts, or whatever else you want. I hang my folded scarves , wraps, and pashminas on pant hangars, which I also use for my husband’s ties. They work perfectly!
Once you have your clothing, shoes, and everything else organized inside your closet, it’s time to think “outside the closet.” By this I mean asking yourself “what else should I have in my closet or at least nearby?” I recommend a full-length mirror, an ironing board and iron, and your hamper.
Those are some of my ideas, but don’t just take my word for it. Consider these additional tips from some real experts in their field.
Celebrity stylist Rachel Wirkus told Stylecaster readers to ask themselves “How long have you owned the item?” “When was the last time you wore the item?” and “Can you find new ways to wear the item?” She suggests that if you’ve had the item for more than six months and haven’t worn it, get rid of it. At the same time, if the item is old and you haven’t worn it in a while and you can only pair it with one other item in your closet, pitch it. She’s quick to remind us though, that a worn out pair of boots, jeans or sweatshirt are sometimes great to keep in your closet if you wear them and they can work in multiple ways.
Fashion Designer and Stylist Rachel Zoe
Elizabeth Kott of “Closet Rich” told the Zoe Report she suggests you conduct a “whatever cleanse.” Go through your closet and pull any items you are “whatever” about then stow them away for a month or so. When you feel like doing so, pull them out and find a new home for any of the items you don’t feel super excited about seeing again. Kott also recommends putting together new ensembles of existing clothes, which will give you a “new outfit” feel and she also suggests keeping a few of your “go to” pieces and outfits in one easily accessible spot. I love this idea! I also love Kott’s idea of keeping all empty hangars in one place, which I have always done.
All of this inspires me and gives me something to work on as I wait for the temperatures to dip. What about you? Do you have any tips or ideas to share?