Friday, March 28

Efficient Organization: My Clothes Closet

After the overwhelming response to my "Efficient Organization: The Filing Cabinet" post (thanks so much to that person who commented!) today I am sharing with you how I keep my half of the walk-in closet organized and running efficiently. (Hubby is organized too, but I'll leave it to him to share his strategies someday if he wishes. He loves to joke about his plans for his own blog, "This Dad Hates".)

  • Since our home was custom-built, I was lucky enough to be able to determine how I wanted the closet divided. This is super-helpful, as people use space differently. For example, I have very few long dresses, so I only designated a small amount of space for hanging long items. I have one rack for hanging short items, split between tops and bottoms, and I use shelves to organize sweaters, t-shirts/tank tops, and gym/comfy clothes.





  • Just this year, I invested in matching hangers (the thin space-saving ones) for all of my hanging items. It really did open up some space, and there's something very visually pleasing about having them all the same. (I think I paid about $50 to do my whole closet.)



  • Here's my biggest tip when it comes to purging unused items: whenever I wear something, I return it to the end of the rack/pile. For example, at the end of the day, my pants get hung up on the far left of the closet, and the sweater I wore placed at the bottom of the far right pile, and items get shuffled along. At the end of each season, it's very easy to see what has been worn and what hasn't, and therefore what can be painlessly donated. This system also helps me to add some variety to my wardrobe because I can make an effort to choose items I clearly haven't worn in a long time. While putting together this post, I noticed exactly where my themed Halloween shirt from Old Navy is hanging, and it's pretty fair to assume that anything to the left of that hasn't been worn since October, and is ready to be culled from my winter wardrobe.

  • I also live by the rule that you've heard from every other organization junkie - one in, one out. While it doesn't always happen on the same day, I try to generally get rid of (by which I usually mean donate) an item for every new one that I bring into my closet. When I have a few new pieces coming in (perhaps Christmas gifts or the result of a back-to-school shopping spree) I force myself to take the time to weed out as many items, so that my closet never becomes overstuffed and unmanageable. (We do the same thing with the girls' toys, but I'll save that for another post.)

  • Speaking of seasons, I have my wardrobe streamlined enough that I keep everything (for all four seasons) in my closet. Shorts get moved up to the top shelf (on top of my wedding dress) after their disappointingly brief season of use is over, and trade places with heavy sweaters, which tend to get much more airtime. Other than that, most of my items can be worn year-round, and I'm actually making more of an effort to repurpose clothing as much as possible. A lot of cute short-sleeved tops look great with blazers in fall and spring, for example, when it would be far too cold (for me) to wear them alone. (Well, not alone, exactly. There would always be bottoms. Just to be clear.) My bedroom dresser holds socks, underwear, and swimsuits, but everything else is right here in the closet.

  • I wrote about my jewelry organization once before, but here is the photo of my "Little Black Dress" which hangs on the closet door (earrings are stored in compartments on the back):




  • I recently put up a small rack on the back of the door for belts (and by "I", of course I mean my father, who is still always willing to do odd jobs for me, even though I'm unable to bat my eyelashes through text. Or is there a way?) The rack will only hold about a dozen, which gives me incentive to keep my selection pared down. Until Christmas, the only belts I owned were black or brown, so my friend (and next-door-teacher) spiced things up with red, green and grey ones as gifts!



  • Because our walk-in closet is right beside our ensuite, we use wall space in the closet to hang our towels and bathrobes, 

  • All shoes are kept on the shoe racks at the bottom of the closet, although we have a large shoe storage unit on the landing in our garage where we keep the items we wear on a regular basis. (How I wish it could be the sandals and flip-flops instead of the boots.) There's no way I am showing you a photo of anything out there at this time of year, though. Things are always kept "organized", but in March, there's just no way to keep everything clean! (Same with my car. Living in the country is never good for the outside, but this winter is killing the inside too.)

  • The only laundry baskets in our home also reside in this closet, one clearly for darks and one for whites. I'm in there constantly, so I can see pretty quickly when one is full, and throw a load of laundry in the washing machine. Once the girls are old enough to do their own laundry (I'm giving Frannie a couple more years) I'll get them similar baskets for their own rooms.




  • I only keep things that belong in the clothes closet in the clothes closet. That might sound obvious to some, but those who have their wrapping paper, garden tools and soup cans stored in their master bedrooms should pay attention.

  • As a random note for those people who think that I get rid of things a little too ruthlessly and am completely devoid of sentiment, I would like to share with you two other items that have a special storage place in my closet, in a box of mementos: 




See? I'm not completely cold and heartless when it comes to meaningful material items!

I also have to say that when the members of our Student Government selected "80's Day" as one of our Spirit Week themes, I was actually glad that I had kept a pair of retro earrings that I wore for an 80's party years ago (my cousin hosted the party and included an accessory in every invitation - neat, right?) This is the sort of thing I would normally give away after the fact, but for some reason I held on. However, worst-case scenario would have been paying a couple of bucks at Ardene for a new pair, which wouldn't exactly have been the end of the world.

To wrap up with some exciting closet-related news: while in the process of writing up this post, I realized that my dress selection could probably use some attention, so I'm happy to announce that my personal stylist, Lisa McLatchie, is on the job! (She visited my house to do a Wardrobe Makeover and also helped with a Coat Intervention.) I'm sending her pics of me wearing all of my questionable dresses, and she'll be responding soon with her kind yet ruthless professional opinion, which of course I will share with you here! Looking forward to that!

How do you keep your clothes closet neat and organized? I'm always thrilled to get new tips! If you've done a closet-organizing post, feel free to leave your link below - I'd love to check it out!



2 comments:

Sarah Robinson said...

These are some really great tips! My side of closet is a dee.sas.ter.

But I do have the Umbra Little Black Dress so that's a start, yes? :)

Creative Dream said...

Great ideas! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams on Fridays :D Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party