Spring Organizing Series: Closets
A few months ago I hosted a workshop event called Cleanse Your Closet with the consignment gurus from The RealReal. The workshop was held at the inspiring BUREAU coworking + event space, and we spent the evening chatting all things closets, including how to create the best closet layout for your space, how to organize your clothing, and how to handle situations like knowing when to consign an item, how to handle sentimental items, and how to store out of season clothing.
As an organizer, what I’ve found more often than not that people are less than impressed with their closet space. Whether your closet is too small, too difficult to navigate, or full of too many pieces that you no longer use or wear, closets are a common area that cause people headaches. For the next topic in the Spring Organizing Series, I'm sharing the tips that I touched on during the Cleanse Your Closet workshop so that you can finally tackle your closet once and for all!
CREATING A CLOSET LAYOUT THAT WORKS FOR YOUR SPACE
The thing that can be difficult to realize is that the space that is available needs to be your limits. When it comes to storing your clothing it’s most important to make sure that everything is visible and easily accessible, and a great way to do that is through categorization.
Creating categories based on how you live will not only make it easier to access the outfit of the day, but makes keeping up with the overall system easy to manage it's created based on how and what they wear. For example, if daily attire includes suits, blouses, and pumps those items get priority placement in the closet, which means on a level that is easy to reach and see. Then, within each category break down the category and divide by color, style, etc. Categorizing is a budget-friendly way to streamline a closet and enhance the overall look of the space, regardless of its size or design.
HOW TO MAXIMIZE STORAGE SPACE
The most important thing to remember is that if you use it often it needs to be accessible. I love under-the-bed storage because it has a good amount of space to store items, but you should not be putting items that you grab for every day in this area because it’s going to be a pain to access. Instead, reserve the under-the-bed space for your off-season clothing or less frequently used items. Remember that you are not only confined to your clothes hanging bar and can think high, low, and to the back of doors.
If you are limited on space there are products out there that can help you make the most out of your usable space. For example, hanging sweater bags and shelf dividers are a great way to get the most out of your closet and help to organize sweaters, handbags, or even to separate your wardrobe for the week by putting outfits for each day in each of the slots.
HOW TO TRANSITION YOUR WARDROBE BETWEEN SEASONS
Before you transfer your out of season clothing into storage bags or bins, make sure to make any repairs and clean the items before packing them away. That way, when it’s time to pull them back out they are clean and ready to wear. Add a label to the side of your bin to note exactly what is inside (ex. “Spring/Summer Dresses”) to make it easy on yourself when it comes time to locate and unload the box.
Take care of your clothing but covering it while it is being stored. That means putting items in boxes with a lid or in bags that can be fully closed to avoid being damaged. Make sure to add a label to the outside of the box that describes what is inside to make it easy for you to find what you need when you need it. This is especially important for kids clothing if you want to store for future use, so make sure to write the type of clothing or season and the sizing on a label.
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE "WHAT IF" CLOTHING
It’s common to talk yourself out of getting rid of something, especially if it cost a lot or you got it on a great discount or it was a gift. If you aren’t using it though and it is adding clutter to your life, it is not benefiting you and is not being used for the purpose that you purchased it or were gifted it. And maybe there are clothes that you are holding on to “just in case”. You know, just in case you lose weight or just in case you go to a specific event or vacation. Well, if and when those situations come up you will probably be so excited that you will go out and buy something new instead of turning to something that you’ve been hanging on to. Think about the now and focus on the future “what ifs” as they happen.
TIPS ON WHAT TO DONATE/CONSIGN
When you are ready to go through your closet and see what to keep/consign/donate, the number one thing is to touch EVERYTHING. Pull everything out and hold it in your hands. Do you love it? Do you wear it? If you answered “no” then consider donating or consigning it.
Make sure that whatever you donate is in good condition, and if it’s damaged then throw it in the trash. There are donation sites all around the area and many of them offer pick-up services where they just come by your home to pick up the items. It makes it very easy.
Consignment comes with a few more rules. In general, consignment shops take on-trend items that are either unused with tags or in very good sellable condition with no signs of wear or damage. Consignment shops take clothing based on season, so if you bring in summer clothing next week you will likely be asked to come back in a couple of months. Consigning definitely takes more time to do, so that’s also something to consider if you choose to go that route (make sure that the return is worth your effort).
I’d love to know: what are you go-to products in your closet? I love velvet hangers and stackable shoe shelves, but I’d love to hear about what you use in your own closets! Let me know in the comments section.