3 Easy Steps to Stress-Free Closet Space

Photo: houzz.com.au 
For a year, every time my daughter and I went shopping, I would find the bag of brand new clothes hanging on her doorknob because she could not find room for it.

When I would suggest that she had too many clothes and should lighten the load a bit, she would laugh hysterically, "as if there was such a thing as having too many clothes".

What I found was that in reality, she was in fact overwhelmed with, yes, too many clothes. I suggested that she get rid of/donate one piece of clothing for each one she bought. She tried that approach for a little while, but needed much more help, as her closet is on the smaller side. She told me she just didn't know how to begin.

I hear this a lot from clients, who just don't know how to begin organizing their clothes, or that they feel guilty getting rid of perfectly good clothing, with tags still on them, after they have bought pieces on impulse or "on sale" and then don't ever wear it.

In order to make room for what we really want/love/need, we work on our closets twice a year: Once in September and then again in March. We set aside several hours for this task and try to make it as fun as possible: playing music, making popcorn and trying on and "modeling" items as necessary.

I have helped my daughter get her closet and drawers back together in the same way I help my clients, by using these 3 easy steps:

1- Be willing to be ruthlessly truthful:

You know that you will NEVER wear the chartreuse angora sweater, with the satin bows and the floppy lace collar that your Aunt Helen gave you for Christmas last year, and that you will most likely never fit back into the dress you wore to the High School homecoming dance. Don't feel guilty about giving them away-either donating to the needy, (or a local theater company) or hosting a clothing swap and trading with friends. Be honest: if you don't like it or don't need it or have not worn it in over a year, then its taking up space in your closet, and keeping you from having things you really need or want. So just give it away!

The worst part about closet organizing is the decisions that need to be made about what to keep and what NOT to keep. My method is to set up 3 boxes: one for "Give-Away" (Doesn't fit, don't like, somewhat outdated.) One for "Throw Away" (torn, stained or grossly outdated) and "Undecided" (for those items you will most likely keep or are just not sure yet.) Look at each piece, one at a time, and then it goes in one of the boxes. When finished looking at all the pieces, go through the "Undecided" box once more and narrow down only the practical useful items that will be the ones you keep. Throw away the items you don't want, and pack up the "Give Away" items to donate or set aside for a clothing swap. (Sentimental Items can be packed away as keepsakes, but be very selective about what you hang on to or you will just be hoarding junk in boxes rather than your closet.)

2-Make a List-Check it Twice:

Don't overbuy! Remember, we want your closet to hold only those things you need or love. It is important to make an inventory of what you have, what you need and what you have way too much of. This will help you be less impulsive, and deliberately plan what to buy so you don't have items hanging in your closet next year with tags still on them.

Its absolutely okay to shop sales, but don't buy an item just because its on sale. Purchase it if it goes with something in your closet already. Be specific on your list as far as what items are needed, in what colors/sizes, etc. Build on what you have, and see what you need to build your professional and casual outfits. Buy pieces that can be paired with several others you already have. Don't forget to include underwear, socks, hosiery, shoes, belts and pajamas on your list.

3-Update your Closet Equipment for efficient organizing:

While you are making your clothing list, be sure to see what you might need in the way of closet equipment: Plastic or wood hangers? Over the door hooks? Clear or decorative storage boxes? Shoe racks? Look at your closet, how its layed out, take measurements and decide how you want to organize all of your stuff when you put it back in. Buy only what you need to keep your items organized and visible "at a glance". When you place the items back in your closet, organize and group them in the way that makes sense to you: business attire on one side, casual clothes on the other; tops together and shirts and pants together, etc. I had one client who grouped according to color-her closet looked like a beautiful rainbow!

The final result: guilt-free, clutter-free, lighter closets, filled with the clothes and accessories that you ABSOLUTELY love wearing!

Now that you have cleaned your closet, What is the one piece of clothing you cannot do without? Tell us in the comments below!

*Need help with your fall closet organizing? Contact Barbara to schedule a complimentary consultation: bg.bgini@gmail.com