Thursday, October 13, 2011

Going Into The Closet: A Series In Closet Organization

It's time to get real about closet organization.  No one's closet looks like a California Closets ad. It's not possible.  Even if you have a top of the line closet, you have more than four dress shirts, four pairs of shoes, and four pairs of pants (I guess I should say ESPECIALLY if you have a California Closet you have more than 4 of those things).

I, however, do not have a custom closet, I live in an apartment and my husband and I share 1, that's right 1, closet for 4 seasons of clothes.  It is a walk-in and for that I am thankful.  (This is where I attempted to post a picture of my closet, but there was no way for me to take a picture at an angle where you could view the entire'll see some pictures throughout the post though.)

I must pause a moment and say, I am not knocking California Closets or custom closets in general.  One of my dreams in life is to have a custom closet.  My parents just got one this year and I'm pretty sure I could just lay out a pallet and live in there when I go visit.

I believe that one of my gifts in life is good closet organization skills.  I can't say I'm organized in every aspect of my life because anything to do with paper organization is a lost cause for me.  I can never get everything filed (or even piled) in an organized fashion...but that's a different post.

To me, closet organization is kind of like therapy.  I really enjoy it.  I actually changed out the seasons in our closet this weekend and it was so satisfying.

**Disclaimer: I do not claim that I have all of the answers for closet organizing or that my closet is perfectly organized.  I know so many more people who are more organized than me so take this as a beginner course in closet organization.

After writing this post I realized that it was a bit lengthy so I decided to break it up into more manageable chunks!  I'll be posting one step at a time.

Here we go...

Step 1: Purge
I am a believer that it takes awhile to get your closet organization under control.  If you have never had an organized closet or you find yourself with a full closet of "nothing to wear" you should probably start with doing a purge.  Don't get discouraged here.  A complete closet purge can take several months.  You'll probably want to take a whole Saturday for the first go 'round if you're starting from scratch.

Start by separating your clothes by type (pants, shirts, dresses, shirts, shorts, sweaters, shoes etc). From there, separate each pile into things you wear regularly and things you wear on occasion or have not worn recently. Give the pile you wear frequently a quick once over to see if there's anything you hate in that pile and does not fit well (there probably won't be much since you wear this stuff regularly).  Now you'll spend a significant amount of time with this next step: begin going through the clothes that you do not wear frequently.

My tip here is look decent (you don't have to look like you're going out on the town but semi-fix your hair and maybe put some mascara on).  I say this because you'll probably hate everything you try on if you don't feel good about your hair and face...silly but true.  You may also want to have a patient and honest friend nearby.  My mom always needs a patient and honest friend (usually me or my sister) during this process.  I think it's just human nature to get attached to clothing (for Mom, it's shoes, sweaters and really ugly button down corduroy shirts...sorry for ratting you out Mom).

You'll probably want to have a floor length mirror for this.  I have no better method but to dig in to each pile by clothing type and start trying things on.  If you don't like it- put it in the give away pile.  If it doesn't fit anymore- put it in the give away pile.  If it still has the tags on it and you bought it more than 2 seasons ago- put it in the give away pile.  If your friend looks at you and says "that shirt is disgusting"- put it in the give away pile.  "I might wear this again someday" is not a good reason to keep something that doesn't fit or is out of style.  If you can't name an exact time you will wear it or put an outfit together on the spot with that clothing item, it's time for the clothes to go.

What to do with all of these clothing items you are getting rid of?  Start by taking clothes that are in good condition to a resale shop.  This may seem like a pain, but I think it's worth it...don't get embarrassed when they don't want all of your stuff.  Remember, you haven't cleaned your closet out in a long time!  Use the money you make from resale to restock your closet.  Take everything else to Goodwill or Salvation Army.  They will put your items to good use and it's a tax deductible donation.

Check out Dirty Secrets E-Boutique.  This is a painless way to advertise your clothing items you no longer need.  Contact Timie for more information!

In North Carolina I use Fifi's and My Secret Closet for consignment as well.

Once you've got your closet cleaned out, you're ready for Step 2.  Watch for the next post!


  1. The problem with purging is that I do it but I can't get my husband to do it. We share a closet too and he has way more clothes than I do. Granted, he needs clothes for work every day and I just throw on a pair of jeans, but he never gets rid of anything and it clogs up our closet.

  2. My husband has more clothes than me too! I have a little trick that I was going to share in a later post but I'll tell it to you now (I learned this from my grandmother who is an amazing organizer) I use hanging tags that I buy in bulk at Office Depot and hang them on the hangers all of my husband's clothes. When he wears that item (in theory) he removes the tag and puts it in a spare shoe bag that's on the over-the-door shoe rack. The true story is, I take the tags off the empty hangers before I hang up clean laundry. At the end of the season, I pull the clothes that still have the hang tags on them and either make an executive decision to get rid of the clothing item or request 10 minute spurts of time to go through his clothes that I'm not sure about.

    Luckily I caught his clothes hoarding habit when we were still dating and started then. At that time he was trying to impress me so he took a whole Saturday to go through his closet with me...I'm sure the same would not be true today :)

  3. Thanks so much! I'm glad you found it useful!