One frequently asked question here at styleatacertainage is ‘how do i keep my closet organized?’ And, many of you lovely readers are just plain curious as to what my closet looks like – nothing fancy but oh-so-practical. First off, I edit my wardrobe twice a year. Typically, in January and July. And with Fall fast approaching a closet edit is in order. I’m ruthless when it comes to tossing items that no longer fit, are damaged, or otherwise just hanging around taking up precious space, i.e. it hasn’t been worn recently. You see, my wardrobe has to work for me. And that means every single item. If it doesn’t – out it goes.
First step, you ask, for a clean sweep? Dedicate an afternoon in your busy schedule to assess your closet and go through every item in your wardrobe. I know, I know, there are a million other priorities competing for space on your ever-expanding to-do list rather than sorting through pencil skirts, cardigans, and that swoon-worthy dress found on the final sale rack. But, I promise, devoting an afternoon to properly sort through your clothes is time well spent. If you are like me, you’ll discover that fashion mistakes have been made over the course of a season, weight gained, (even better, lost – let’s face-it ladies weight fluctuates, it’s a fact of life) 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 still loath 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. Which is why, through the years, I have devised a tried-and-true method to purge my burgeoning closet and in the process make room for that drool-worthy new puffer vest.
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. First off, when sorting through my clothes I put on a great playlist – still loving the seventies, nothing sounds better to me than the Doobie Brothers or Steely Dan – then pour a glass of wine, and ask these 3 questions:
1.Does this fit?
2.Have I followed the ‘one year rule’? 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 promise of losing five pounds. Sigh. But take heart, these clothing items have the potential of making you a profit with little effort thanks to an emerging online marketplace for buying and selling clothes. There are several to choose from which have a streamlined experience that makes it possible to list my items, ship them out, and earn money or credit toward on-site purchases, all while sipping my coffee in my pin-striped pajamas. As a matter-of-fact, I don’t even have to leave the comfort of my apartment. Now how’s that for convenience? Check out thredUP.
If by chance some of your unwanted items are still in good condition please consider donating them to a good cause. Of course, Goodwill Industries and Salvation Army are always good choices for your orphaned clothes and are reputable if that is one of your concerns. 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 consider local homeless shelters or even better ones that specifically cater to battered women. In recent months, blogger The Midlife Fashionista opened a non-profit in the greater Boston area, Uncommon Threads, with a mission to empower women. Trust me on this, somehow 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 worn on countless occasions, 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.
Are you ready for a tour of my closet/office? Yes, this is where you will find me on any given day editing my daily post or planning my next outfit. Notice how my closet shelves don’t have doors. This one feature lets me utilize every square inch of space. Nothing hides from me behind closed doors. And I don’t have to squeeze in and fish something out from a dark corner. A nice design trick would be to install curtains in front of the shelves. But for now, I’m happy with an exposed closet. The shelving unit is ALGOT from IKEA.
When we moved to Georgia last year I knew the first re-do in our home would be my closet. Here’s what happened after we finally found a contractor. Which took several months… They kept disappearing on us. Who can relate? Originally, this room opened to an adjoining bedroom. To enclose the room the first step was drywall. Then paint in a soft shade of gray – Dove Gray by Benjamin Moore. I’ve been a big fan of neutrals for many years, especially in bedrooms – they’re sooooo soothing. But gray paint is currently on-trend in home decorating so it’s safe to say this room is ‘in.’
The light fixture was replaced with a Possini Flower Chandelier to give the room a modern look. After it arrived, Mr. Style thought it might be too big. But once it was installed he changed his mind. What do you think?
In keeping with a light and airy space, I chose a contemporary desk from World Market that sits on a chrome sawhorse base. The desk chair is chrome and white leather. It’s simple and practical. Tucked underneath is a turtle step stool (similar here) that I rest my feet on when working. Or if I need to reach something on a high shelf all I need to do is pull out. Form and function work hand-in-hand
A simple white dresser adds storage space for all of those sweaters I love. This is actually a media chest (similar here and here) that offers open storage shelves. I stash some of my jewelry here inside fabric trays. On top of the dresser is a Wolf Stackable Tray that offers 31 jewelry compartments and 8 ring rolls. There are several colors to choose from but I chose orange for a nice pop of color.
All of the artwork in the room is handcrafted by my children. It’s important to me to see a daily reminder of my three boys that decided to grow up into fine young men. Framed handprints serve as a reminder of how little they once were.
I still haven’t zeroed in on flooring. At first, I thought I would go with tile. It sounded like a practical solution. But I changed my mind at the last minute. However, I’m leaning heavily toward installing a jazzy wall-to-wall carpet. Behind the louvered doors is a small closet that at some point I will have transformed by California Closets for additional storage. So stay tuned!
Check out the YouTube version of this post. If you haven’t subscribed now’s your chance here. Mr. Style and I are still getting the hang of video, but you can watch us grow and learn. Who says you can’t teach old dogs new trick
Great post, and so timely… I was literally planning on tackling that (or at least beginning it) tonight. Thank you for the great filter questions to see if it stays or goes! Its been about 8 months and it really shows it. And I’m one of those that hangs on to things too long. I love the beautiful ceiling light… and the stackable tray unit… my jewelry is a bit out of hand at the moment. Thank you again!
i think jewelry is the hardest to tame. good luck! let me know how your edit goes. i always feel a sense of accomplishment when i weed things out and ship them off!
I love the way your wardrobe and shoes are displayed. The openness of the space lends itself, I think, to playing around with outfits and creating new looks. Although I have enough closet space in my studio apartment, I would really not be able to open up the closets like you do because it would not be possible to close this area off. I don’t keep a very large wardrobe so this makes getting dressed easier. However, on the other hand, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for experimentation. Some great advice here, Beth!
this space makes my job so much easier because i can actually see my clothes from my desk. studios do have the pros and cons but it sounds as if you have some nice closet space. i’m envisioning mary tyler moore’s studio apartment with an amazing walk-in closet. gosh, i loved that show! and her wardrobe.
Oh wow ruthless indeed with the closet edit process. Your closet space is sooo appealing, its like a boutique.
I edit every month. In the crazyness of it all I try to find at least one garment I have not worn in a while and incorporate it into my every day wear. I put an outfit together and evaluate the garment throughout the day. By the end of the day I know if it’s a keeper or not.
a monthly edit is a great idea! that way you stay on top of your closet with ease. thanks for the tips.
I’m so envious of your super organized closet! I’m desperate to revamp what my husband calls “the disaster room” in our house. I need to go to Ikea and get some shelves, go through the piles of clothes and sort out the mess!
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