I really enjoy working in master closets. I know, I say that about every room – but I do! Unlike some areas of the house the master closet is ultra-personal and needs to be used by you on a daily basis. When it is out of control, you feel out of control. I get a lot of calls from clients who think their biggest closet issue is that they are woefully short on space. They rarely are. The issue is usually too much stuff that they don’t need or want. When a closet gets jammed packed it ceases to be functional and just becomes a dumping ground. Slowly, the closet chaos starts to spill out in the rest of the room with clothes on chairs, the bed, the floor and ultimately a massive laundry pile on the dining room table or couch because it has nowhere to go – one big cluttered mess of clothes and shoes.
With this week’s tips, tricks and before & after pictures you should have a good amount of resources to get started on organizing your master closet. If not, I encourage you to comment below with some questions or frustrations. If you have success I want to hear about that too! This is week three of my series 8 Weeks to Home Organization Bliss!, previous week posts include: Week 1 – Kitchen & Pantry and Week 2 – Kid’s Rooms & Playrooms.
TIP #1: WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER & FALL
The best time to reorganize your closet is when the season changes. There is no reason to have access to a puffy down jacket when it is 90 degrees outside. The benefit to reorganizing your closet on this schedule is that you can also change the layout of the closet based on the items you will be using. Changing the layout will allow you to push the seasonal items to the back of the closet and give you a fresh perspective in regard to what is in your wardrobe for the current season.
TRANSITIONAL WARDROBE, HOW TO:
- Establish 3 piles – Trash, Giveaway & Sell (if applicable).
- Before you move your current seasonal fashions (either to a storage bin, an extra closet in the house or to the back of your master closet) sort them. Determine which items are looking dingy and toss them out. If there are items that you didn’t wear ask yourself if you really want to store them until next season.
- Sort through your shoes and really take a good look at each pair. Throw away any that look worn out – remember that people you meet always look at your shoes! For nicer, more expensive shoes that need a tune-up consider taking them to a local cobbler for repair. Place all of the shoes that are in good condition in a labeled bin and move it out of your closet. You need to make room for all of the new season shoes! If you have no storage space, plan to move them to the back of the closet.
- Take any items that require specialty cleaning to the dry cleaner so they are in great condition for storage until next season.
- Don’t forget about your pajama drawer!
- Keep a few transitional tops, pants, shoes, and dresses in your closet. Think about layering when you are choosing what to keep around.
- Get your new seasonal wardrobe from the back of the closet or storage.
- Have a notepad and pen handy so you can create a shopping list of items that you need to replace or ad to your wardrobe. This may sound strange but believe me, you will cut down on buying duplicate pieces.
- Our bodies change from year to year so try on your clothes to make sure they are still in style and fit comfortably. There is no reason to keep them if they no longer fit.
- Hang everything by style (long sleeve, short sleeve, jeans, corduroy, dress slacks, etc.) and then by color in your closet. Try to use matching hangers so your closet has a cohesive look. I love the velvet hangers.
- Enjoy your new closet!
TIP #2: CREATE A PHOTO INVENTORY OF YOUR SHOES
A good way to get your shoes off the floor or a shoe rack is to store them in clear plastic shoe boxes.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Take photos of your shoes. I like to position the shoes; one so you can see the front, one so you can see the side. Use the same position for each pair of shoes and the same background so the photos look uniform once they are placed in the clear plastic shoe boxes.
- Upload and print them into 3×5 prints. It is sometimes difficult to find a photo shop that prints 3×5 anymore, I uploaded them in 4×6 and then called the photo shop and asked them to adjust the prints to 3×5.
- Place the photo into the inside front of the box and adhere with 2-piece tape. I always recommend putting the photo on the inside so it stays protected and the corners won’t roll up. Then put all of the shoes in their boxes.
- Stack and admire your collection!
TIP #3: DIVIDING YOUR WARDROBE DOES NOT CONQUER
When clients are short on closet space their first instinct is to try to divide items into two closets. Try not to split your wardrobe between two closets – your secondary pieces will be out of sight and out of mind! First and foremost, really take a good, hard look at your wardrobe to see if you can donate or throw anything away. A good rule of thumb for every new item you buy plan to donate or throw one old piece away. If you are truly short on closet space consider storing your off-season wardrobe in closed, labeled bins. If you are already doing this and you are still struggling with space move one and only one category of items that you use the least often to an additional closet storage space. Categories to consider: suits, formal wear, winter coats.
TIP #4: ONLY KEEP WHAT FITS
Every closet I have ever worked in has one thing in common: skinny and fat clothes. Not only does every closet have it’s very own ever-expanding wardrobe of skinny and fat clothes collecting dust, they are generally the most difficult pieces for clients to place in the donation bag. Don’t keep skinny and fat clothes. Your closet should represent who you are now, not your weight five years ago or five years from now.
TIP #5: GRAB YOUR CAMERA PHONE
If you question a look, take a picture. If you don’t quite know if an outfit looks good or if it is time to donate a few pieces because they are not working with your existing wardrobe invite a friend over to play dress-up. Trust me, taking pictures of yourself in outfits to see if they are a flattering choice will make everything crystal clear. Since I started ordering clothes from Stitch Fix and posting my findings on the blog, it has given me the opportunity to mix-and-match the pieces with different looks from my existing wardrobe while my assistant Jennalynn shot the pictures. The whole process has really helped me to understand which clothes are most flattering for my body type, given me clarity about pieces in my wardrobe that were not working well, and they went straight to Goodwill. Give it a try!
TIP #6: INVEST IN A CUSTOM CLOSET
If you are staying put in your home for awhile consider investing in a custom closet – it doesn’t have to be expensive! I do a lot of work with Valet Custom Closets and Cabinets, a local company that creates and installs custom cabinets. They can do wonders with single-bar closet spaces. See the above picture of a couple who were sharing a single-bar for years. But, you don’t have to go custom! I really love The Container Store’s Elfa Storage Systems and the really good news is that they go on sale several times throughout the year. The Elfa Storage System is really easy to install, can be adjusted and customized based on what your personal closet needs entail and your budget.