Style at a Certain Age is a lifestyle blog by Beth Djalali dedicated to aging with grace, strength, and beauty.
on any given day, my closet is where you will find me planning my next outfit for my next blogpost. in the spirit of the new year, i’m going to walk you through my custom closet transformation and give you tips on how to perform a closet cleanse. last year, i renovated my closet and i want to take you through the journey step-by-step. i hope today’s post inspires you to start the year off right by going through your own closet and reorganizing and retooling it.
many of you have seen shots and glimpses of my closet over the years, but i thought you all would be interested in the transformation it underwent.
originally, my closet was just a room that opened to the adjoining bedroom. when we first moved into our house, we hired a contractor to enclose the room with drywall. we slapped a few coats of Dove Gray paint by Benjamin Moore. i lived with this closet for several years with IKEA shelving before I decided it was time to upgrade. i chose Inspired Closets Athens to lead the renovation, and boy oh boy am I ever glad I made the plunge. the storage space i gained with a customized closet is dramatic. here’s what the room looked like before Inspired Closets Athens made the transformation.
the first step towards a custom closet is the consultation with the designer who takes you through the design process step by step, asking key questions: how do i use my closet? what works and what doesn’t?
i was shown designs that connected back to my needs and wants, plus material and hardware samples. after that, a 3D rendering of my closet was sent for final approval. Inspired Closets Athens handled every detail of my closet installation from consultation to design to preparation to installation. they even provided storage racks and boxes to house my items while the custom cabinetry was installed. then the walls came tumbling down.
after teardown, we repainted the walls. i chose to give the closet a pop of color with Razzle Dazzle Pink on two walls.
after that, we installed customized cabinetry from Inspired Closets Athens.
i chose a Possini Flower Chandelier to replace the original light fixture. it gives the room a modern look.
this is what my custom closet looks like today. i love the antelope pattern we chose for the carpet installation. and an upholstered ottoman adds a touch of boutique style.
but the custom cabinetry and special amenities are what help me most on a day-to-day basis considering I’m a lifestyle blogger.
but guess who loves the closet more than me? Oscar and Ollie hang out here quite a bit.
since we’re on the subject of closets, i want to share my closet cleanse tips. twice a year, i ruthlessly purge my closet to keep my wardrobe streamlined and in tip-top condition for the upcoming season.
the first step for a clean sweep? dedicate an afternoon to your busy schedule to assess your closet and go through every item in your wardrobe. i know, i know: a million other priorities compete for space on your ever-expanding to-do list. who wants to sort through pencil skirts, cardigans, and that swoon-worthy dress found on the final sale rack. but I promise, devoting an afternoon to sort through your clothes is time well spent.
if you are like me, you’ll uncover old fashion mistakes made throughout the season, weight lost or gained (let’s face it ladies, weight fluctuates), or maybe, just maybe, it’s finally time to retire that beloved go-to blazer. (you know the one, it has a shiny sheen on the elbows due to years of love, but you’re reluctant to part ways.)
it isn’t easy to rid your closet of items that no longer fit or have sentimental value, especially when you’ve shelled out major cashola for the purchase in the first place. but keep calm and carry on.
since I am a bit of an organization addict—i’m a Virgo by birth and have a strong penchant towards planning and systematizing—i wanted to share my method for a wardrobe detox. whenever i sort through my closet i put on a great playlist— still loving the Doobie Brothers or Steely Dan—I pour a glass of wine and ask these three questions:
1. does this fit?
2. have i followed the ‘one year rule’? i.e., if i haven’t worn it in a year, it’s time to let it go. (ruthless, i know.)
3. is this item damaged, e.g., moth holes, broken zippers, pilling or missing buttons? or can it be repaired? having a great seamstress and shoe cobbler is a must.
If the answer is ‘no’ to any of the above questions, then it’s time to part ways. divide your clothes into three piles. sell, donate, and trash.
the items that make it to your sell pile are the ones that are either currently in style or gently used. it could even be a pair of brand new to-die-for jeans that were bought with the goal of losing five pounds. sigh. but take heart. these clothing items have the potential to make you a profit with little effort thanks to an emerging online marketplace for buying and selling clothes.
there are several marketplaces to choose from, all of which have a streamlined experience that makes it possible to list items, ship them out, and earn money or credit toward on-site purchases while sipping in your pajamas. how’s that for convenience? check out thredUP.
if by chance some of your unwanted items are still in good condition, consider donating them to a good cause. of course, Goodwill Industries and Salvation Army are always good reputable choices for your orphaned clothes. but there are other organizations that deserve and appreciate your contributions as well. personally, i love and support Dress for Success—a non-profit organization that addresses and fulfills the needs of low-income women who have left welfare and are interfacing with the challenges of the workforce.
but also consider local homeless shelters, specifically ones that cater to battered women. blogger The Midlife Fashionista opened a non-profit in the greater Boston area called Uncommon Threads. it’s mission is to empower women. trust me on this: it’s easier to let go of clothing when you know it is going to someone in need.
now onto the hard part. those items that can’t be repaired or have significant wear-and-tear must be tossed into the rubbish bin. i know it’s hard to say goodbye to your beloved LBD or your favorite graphic tee, but don’t let your emotions get the better of you. it must be thrown away. i repeat, the item must be thrown away.
it might take more than one try to get into the swing of downsizing your wardrobe, but the reward is a streamlined closet that makes getting dressed in the morning just that much easier, and maybe even fun. but you have to know what you own is working for you. after the closet purge is completed, it’s time to organize what’s left.
once you’ve purged your closet, it’s time to organize the remainder.
organize clothes by category—skirts, pants, sweaters, blouses, jeans—and arrange pieces by item and color so you can see exactly what you own. the same holds true for shoes. hang sleeveless dresses or shirts first, short sleeves second, and then long sleeves.
jeans, sweaters, scarves, lingerie are all items that I fold then stack on the shelf. arrange cedar strips or mothballs on your shelves to prevent moths from snacking on your cashmere or wool sweaters. jeans can be folded lengthwise and layered one on top of the other. same for chinos and leather leggings too.
upgrade your hangers.
who else remembers the movie line, “no wire hangers!” well, we don’t have to be quite as obsessed as Joan Crawford, but I would advise upgrading your closet hangers. it’s a simple style trick that will extend the life of your clothes. And it gives uniformity. whether you prefer thin velvet hangers, Joy Mangano huggable hangers, or wood hangers, there is a hanger for you. don’t forget space-saving stackable skirt or pant hangers.
shoes, scarves, hats, and handbags.
store your shoes and handbags where you can see them. use clear shoe boxes or better yet store them on closet shelves or a bookcase. right toe out left toe-in is a space-saving technique. i like my handbags out of their dust bags and visible. “out of sight, out of mind happens” if I don’t! hatboxes are perfect for storing hats with the larger ones resting on top. scarves are color-coded, folded, and stacked.
alright, gang! happy organizing. and here are four more posts to help organize your wardrobe: