I confess that I love to shop. A lot. Ok, a lot, a lot. As a stylist and interior decorator, it’s part of my job to source and shop for clients, so it seemed inevitable that it would eventually cross over into my personal life. I’ve tried to keep a general rule of thumb: one item in, one item out. But lately it’s been one, two, four, six items in and zero out. I was beginning to feel bogged down with stuff and I decided it was time to get down to business.
My closet was literally bursting at the seams. I was running out of space and every time I went to pull an outfit, I couldn’t find what I was looking for, and ended up thinking the inevitable….I have nothing to wear. Not only was I feeling frustrated, I was also overwhelmed and anxious. It was like my closet was a metaphor for my life…too much going on! And there’s scientific proof that clutter not only takes up space in the real world, but also in our minds. I was feeling off-centered and something needed to be done.
I did some research and came across a few articles on capsule wardrobes. If you haven’t heard of this trend, it’s basically about drastically reducing your wardrobe by whittling it down to approximately 37 pieces. Kudos to you if you can pull it off! As a busy mother of two, and wearing many different hats, I found it near impossible to be that bold. I have however, successfully reduced my closet by about a third.
So, if you find that you and your closet are suffering, I put together some tips that are sure to help get you on the right track. It goes without saying that you’ll need to dedicate a few of hours to get it done. So grab your cup of jo, or your glass of wine and let’s go!
1. Divide and Conquer
Remove everything from your closet. That means every single piece of clothing, footwear, hand bag, storage bins, whatever you crammed in your closet must come out to see the light of day. Yes, it’s terrifying, but it’s a crucial first step. Dedicate a specific area for the job, a bed works well, but a table or floor works too. Grab a few plastic bags or storage bins for the items you’ll be getting rid of and grab your camera because you’ll want to photograph your outfits, but we’ll touch on that later.
Once you’ve removed everything from your closet, give the closet a good dusting for good measure and create 3 categories:
- Feeling it (currently in rotation / worn within last 12 months)
- Going going gone: (Haven’t worn in the last 12 months -donate/sell)
- Tailor (needs tailoring)
Feeling it: The pieces that you’re wearing are obviously the ones you’re keeping which is easy-peasy.
Going, going gone: As for the things you haven’t worn over the last 12 months or more, sort them into 2 sub-categories: 1) sell through consignment, or 2) donate. I found this to be the most challenging part. I tend to create emotional bond with things and find ways to make excuses to keep them in my life. But, I’m done with waiting for the “what if” situations. It might be a brutal approach, but if I’m not wearing or using the pieces, I’m doing a disservice to myself, and my closet by taking up that extra space in my life.
Tailor Sometimes it’s the way it fits. Working with a good tailor is essential to rocking it in the wardrobe department, kind of like hiring a decorator who can help bring out the best in any room. A good tailor can help extend the life of some of some of your most treasured pieces
3. Organize & Discard
Now that you’ve got a new blank canvass to work with, it’s about how to keep everything organized. I love to display things. My husband calls it the “Magpie syndrome” because like the bird, I love to collect and display my treasures throughout the home.
Here’s how to keep closets organized!
*hanger dividers – They help a smaller closet maintain a sense of flow, and create specific areas for all your clothing I personally like to divide my clothing by category and then by color. For instance, blazers go together from light to dark colors, dresses arranged by color, from sleeveless to long sleeve – and anything seasonal gets stored in a seasonal bin and goes into rotation the next season.
* space savers – So many companies now offer affordable closet organization systems and can help transform your chaotic closet into an organized space.
* store seasonal clothing in clear plastic bins, I like the clear bins so that at a quick glance the clothing is easily identifiable.
*matching hangers Those wire hangers you get back from the dry cleaners? Toss them. Not only are they hard on your delicate blouses, they’re also unsightly. Invest in decent matching hangers.
* display hooks A well placed hook is a great way to showcase tomorrow’s outfit . Retail stores are all about merchandising and having an area to display an outfit helps elevate anyone’s closet
A clever way to remember outfit combinations is to take a quick snapshot with your camera. I keep copies of outfits on a folder on my phone, and refer to it as often as needed. It’s been quite a lifesaver when I’m crunched for time in the morning!
Since my closet edit, I definitely feel more relaxed and in control. Letting go of things that no longer served a purpose in my life was an invigorating experience. It helped me clear the cobwebs from my mind and free up precious space for new inspiration. I think everyone can benefit from a bit of closet therapy. In our busy lives, it’s important to take stock and realize that perhaps what we’re looking for might just be within arm’s reach.