The Top 5 Steps to Conquer Closet Chaos

How many times have we heard that we wear only 15% of what is in our closet? Okay then, let’s tackle the other 85% once and for all!

Follow along with me for a moment. I want you to close your eyes and visual your closet. Visualize the space, or the lack thereof, the assorted Target hangers, the shoe boxes, the piles of workout clothes, dog walking clothes, laundry and dry cleaning.

Imagine entering your favorite boutique only to find that it was set up like your closet! Filled with random plastic junky hangers, completely disorganized, with cramped clothing and plastic dry cleaning bags fighting for space. Pretty sure you would leave!

I am certain you understand the visual difference between how a retailer displays their inventory and how your clothing is displayed in your closet. It should be one in the same: organized, shop-able, and pleasing to your eye so you are enthused and inspired when you swing open the doors. It is completely possible for your closet to be an intuitive, inspirational source of joy. You should look forward to throwing open those doors and selecting all things that fit, flatter, and speak to your authentic style.

If this is not the case in your space, then let’s get started.

Step 1 – Schedule Closet Time

Grab your calendar. You need to schedule closet time on your personal calendar. If this is something you have never done and just the thought of it overwhelms you, then do not plan to get it done in one day.

Mind you, I can whip through your closet in several hours, but alas, I am the expert and have been doing this for decades. I can spot an outdated, out of style, ill-fitting piece of clothing in an overcrowded, chaotic closet a mile away. You, however are the student now, so let’s do this in stages! Schedule 3 two-hour blocks of time over the next week or so. Knowing what you’re doing is half the battle, learning as you go is the fun part. Once you have gone through a few categories, the balance of the work flows smoother and quicker.

Step 2 – The Ground Rules

You should be able to close your eyes, reach in and select anything (yes anything) and be happy with the choice because it fits, it’s flattering, it’s in season and it’s in style! If there are items in your closet that don’t fill those requirements, they are a waste of real estate and they need to move out!

Use the 3F rule to decide which items get the boot!

Fit – Does the clothing fit the body that you have now, or the body that you used to have? Are the items looming in the hope section of your closet for the body that you hope you will have? If you have fluctuating weight, keep only one size above your current size and one size below and donate the rest. You need to look and feel pretty today, and stop waiting to feel that way tomorrow or six months from now. You may need to hone your shopping skills and take practical steps towards buying the right type of clothing for your body and your current weight so you always look fabulous.

Flatters – Flattering means does it fit, does it need tailoring, is it age appropriate, does it even match who you are right now or who you want to be?

Function – If it has not seen the light of day in 10 years then I certainly don’t think it is going to be the first thing you pull out for your next important event. If it is not functioning, it is just a waste of space.

Step 3 –  Sort It Out

It’s hard to see what you’re keeping when there is a lot of clutter so grab some shopping bags and label them – donate, consign, tailoring, and have a collapsible rack for out of season clothing so you can move it to another closet. Warning – If you don’t sort out the unwanted’s right away by putting them in another area you may just find they have migrated back into your closet! 

Step 4 –  Conquer By Category

No doubt your closet is filled with fabulous things, as well as a few not so fabulous. By breaking your wardrobe down into the following categories, it will become very manageable for you. I recommend to work in this order – pants, skirts, dresses, tops, sweaters, jackets, shoes and then accessories. You could process one category per session and it will become faster and easier because you will be familiar with the fit, flatter, and function parameters. For a detailed description by category refer to my book, Confidence Is Always In Style, where you will find an entire chapter dedicated to closet editing.

Step 5 – Reintroduce In An Intuitive Manner

It’s time to reintroduce your garments to your closet in an intuitive fashion, left to right. Let’s assume you have the basic closet set up with 2 split rods, top and bottom. Set your clothing up like your body is set up – tops on the top and bottoms on the bottom. Work from left to right starting with sleeveless, short sleeve, long sleeve silkies, long sleeve wovens, light weight sweaters, and then jackets. All clothing should run white to black within each type, within each category. Be sure to use the velvet soft-grip-hangers which are seemingly available in every store in America because they are kind to the clothing and are amazing space savers.

The bottom bar will house pants running left to right – dress pants, casual pants, jeans –  again white to black within those parameters. Then your skirts, same theory. Use the 4-tier skirt hangers to save even more space!

Dresses, as well as some of our cardigans and toppers, are often a challenge because they require long hanging spaces. Within that space line up those items in a similar fashion, separating work dresses and special occasion dresses but trying to keep them lined up by sleeve length within.

Now add some lavender sachets and a florescent light if you do not have one as you need to be able to see what you are shopping for.

Your new system should make sense and make getting dressed every day stress-free. Remember – you are pretty so make damn sure there is a full-length mirror in your bedroom.

Need more help? Start here and I’ll meet you in your closet!

 

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