Closet organization can be daunting, but it really does make our lives easier to have an organized closet or wardrobe. Be your own closet organizer and learn some simple habits which will let you find the perfect outfit quickly and easily.
Unless you have a particular career or hobby related to fashion which means it really does matter to you and give you pleasure to keep a great deal of clothes you are very unlikely to wear, you’re probably better off limiting the total amount of clothes you keep for yourself, and regularly editing your wardrobe.
In order to not run out of space, be able to find the clothes you’re after, make it easier to choose outfits, keep clothes in good condition and feel positive about your clothes, you need to regularly edit. This means clearing out as many clothes as you add, so that you keep to a reasonable amount.
That reasonable amount may depend on the available space or what kind of clothes you wear. I know people who live with more extreme seasonal temperature variations often put away out of season clothes each year and get them out again, rather than keep them in regular storage.
If you are in a position now where you know you have a lot to get rid of, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the task and need to break it down into smaller tasks and a series of sessions. Don’t worry, it can be done, can be much easier than you thought once you get going, and will well worth the effort.
Ideally, we want our wardrobes and drawers and shelves to be neatly filled, but not too full – room for movement and to easily find things – with good quality, comfortable, stylish clothes, appropriate for various kinds of weather and situations, which we feel good in.
In reality, we might just have to choose the best items from what we have at the moment.
This might mean facing uncomfortable mistakes, but we’re brave, we can do that. What were we thinking buying those hideous pants, that dress that looks cheap no matter how it’s accessorized, that skirt that, lets face it, makes our bum look huge.
For some of us, we may first need some advice from a well dressed friend, some time spent going through things to give examples of what cuts and styles look good on us and which don’t. Perhaps we might gather several opinions. In the end, we do need to be true to our own individual tastes and preferences, but it’s good to get an idea of what is a well cut jacket which makes us look good, and what is a rubbish quality one, or simply a style which does not suit us.
There will be trying on involved.
There will be tough decisions to be made.
We need to know how long we’ve got to spend, how we’ll know where we are up to, and when we are going to spend time on it again, if not finished in one session.
We will need good light and a full length mirror.
We need to be showered and well groomed before we start (or we won’t see how the clothes really look).
We need large strong plastic bags so the unwanted clothes can be given to charity.
We need to know where to take these unwanted clothes. I usually just use the large charity bins at the back of the petrol station.
If you’re planning to sell the clothes or give them to friends, put a time limit on it. Don’t keep them hanging around for ever, and don’t expect your friends or family to be particularly interested in your unwanted clothes.
It’s ok to just let the unwanted clothes go. Even if they are good quality, expensive or unworn, if they’re no good to you, let them go and be useful to someone else, even if it’s to cut them up for the fabric. Once you let go of them, it really doesn’t matter what the recipient does with them. Release them!
If it’s going to be quite a big project requiring a number of sessions, then we need to stick to one category per session, for example shoes, dresses, suits, casual, formal etc. We can write down which sections we’ve already done to refer to next time.
If they are not already, the clothes need to be at least roughly sorted before beginning, for example all the pants together, all the dresses together, all the shirts together. This is how your hanging clothes are best kept all the time. When you replace a coat in the wardrobe, you put it with the other coats. When you replace a shirt, you put it with the other shirts.
You can then sub-categorize, formal and casual, then by sleeve length, hem length, colour. It can’t be perfect, but it will make choosing an outfit so much easier.
When you remove an item from the wardrobe to wear, don’t put the hanger back in between the clothes. Keep the hanger out, so you can find the empty hangers easily to put things away again.
Beware the temptation to keep things that are not quite right, but perhaps if you just got them repaired. It’s not always worth the trouble and expense of doing this. It might be that the item was just a mistake or is just ruined now, and needs to be let go of. They are only clothes.
If you’ve been having a weight struggle for quite a while, consider whether some items you’re keeping for when you lose weight will still really be useful to you when you’ve lost the weight. After all, when you get there, you deserve some new stuff.
As you go through the process, make mental notes to yourself about trends you observe. Are you tending to buy too much of one kind of item when there are other gaps to be filled? What do you always seem to be lacking? Do you have lots of good pants but could really do with a couple more good jackets? Are you repeatedly drawn to a style or cut which is un-flattering to you? Do you need to watch more of Trinny and Susannah?
Having spent time going through your clothes and making some tough decisions, your next clothes shopping trip should be more successful and well planned. Instead of coming home with $200 worth of cheap t-shirts and tops which will likely be worn once or twice, you’ll spend $200 on a decent pair of black pants to replace the hideously badly cut ones you’ve faced up to (for example).
Having had your clear out, listed items you need to buy, and got your clothes organized into sections and categories – all the undies in one place, all the socks in one place and in pairs – you now need to keep up the habit of regularly editing as you add new pieces so that your wardrobe doesn’t become clogged up with junk again.
A bag hung permanently on the inside of your wardrobe can be your place to put things you come across from day to day that you decide you no longer want. There may be a few items you know are on “death row” until they are replaced, and there may be items you don’t realize are no good until you go to wear them one day and realize you’re not going to. Don’t put items you’re not going to wear back in the wardrobe. Put them in the chuck out bag.
Encourage your partner to do the same (gently), and teach your children as you edit their outgrown clothes seasonally. As we tend to do our clothes shopping seasonally (if we’re well organized and don’t just randomly shop for clothes for comfort and amusement – oops) it makes sense to have a pre shopping check through our clothes for items to chuck out. This is the time to list items we actually need. We don’t want to head out the door without a list. You do it for your kids – you know you have to buy them socks, undies, jeans etc, or they’ll have nothing to wear because they’re growing. Well, do the same for yourself. What are you missing for the season ahead. What do you actually need?
Don’t overlook your underwear, as that will affect how your clothes look and how comfortable you are. Ladies, make sure you have bras which fit properly, and if your fluctuating weight means you have a few different sizes, sort them so you know which ones are suitable to wear right now.
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