2 In Wardrobe Wellness

New and Improved Closet Organization

Closet dividers

Making my closet divider labels

A good weekend for me is one that allows for some putzing time in my closet. I’m forever thinking up ways to make getting dressed easy and effortless and to be wisely using the investments I’ve made in clothes and accessories. I can achieve both of these objectives if I have a well-edited closet (what’s in there is wearable, usable, and desirable by me) and I can easily grab for things and create new looks for myself on a regular basis.

I’ve been organizing my closet (and many of my clients’ closets) by color, forever! Every single item that is white – whether it’s a top, sweater, jacket, skirt, pant or dress – is grouped together. Next comes taupe: Everything in shades of  taupe are grouped together. It goes on like that from light to dark, left to right. I can give you a million reasons why this is a great system. Mostly, it’s just so pretty to open your closet and see those colors grouped together like crayons in a freshly opened box of Crayolas. It’s easy to keep a closet looking neat and tidy because all the red things go in the red department; all the blue things go in the blue department. Simple!

I don’t display the clothes in my closet like stores display their merchandise: by item. When you’re shopping you might view a whole rack of dresses at one time or a whole rack of pants. That’s often how people display the clothes in their closet. Maybe you do this too. All the pants are together, all the jackets are together, all the blouses are together and so on. That’s not me. It hasn’t been me for decades. I never saw a reason to change a thing…until this weekend.

Milano shoe compartment tool for jeans

I got to thinking about how I wear my clothes and have decided to try a hybrid system of closet organization. I am storing my jeans and leggings in a Milano hanging shoe container (see above). To the right of that hanging shelf, I’ve created a section for my pants which I have hanging individually over those non-slip hangers. To the right of the pants is a section for tunics which I wear with my leggings or  jeans. So those items that I tend to wear together are hanging closest together.

Closet dividers for color groups

Closet dividers for color groups

Next comes my tried-and-true division by color: white, taupe/gray, yellow/gold,  fuschia/berry, green/brown, blue, black. These are my main wardrobe colors so all the tops, sweaters, and cardigans get filed by color and hung together. Then over on the far end of my closet to the right of the black section is my section of skirts and dresses. Most wardrobes require at least three times more tops than bottoms so my bottoms take far less space. Having them separated (pants at one end, skirts and dresses at the other end) makes it easier for me to think about creating outfits. Do I feel like wearing pants or skirts today? Maybe a dress? I know just wear to look once I’ve made that decision.

Then I’ll look for the tops or jackets I want to wear and build the outfit from there. Having organized it this way, I’m noticing how few summer dresses I own. It’s a great time to look for a couple more as they’re already on sale in most stores.

So that’s my fun new experiment. And of course spending time moving things around allows me to discover a few things I haven’t worn recently. I want to wear one of those items tomorrow! A closet review is such a great investment of time.

I know everyone’s busy, but do you think you might have time this weekend to see what’s in your closet? And maybe even hang things a little differently so you get reacquainted with what you own?

How are you currently viewing your summer selections? Do you have a system that works? Please share!

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  • Reply
    Sally A.
    August 29, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Though you posted this in June, it’s great to see at the end of the summer, too!
    My closet system has always been like your revised one, separated by type of piece, then sorted by color. Also, I replaced all the hangers with identical ones (a tip from you or someone equally brilliant), so that my eye can focus on the clothes rather than being distracted by all the oddities of hangers–I chose beige non-slip ones, and the effect is marvelous–the colors of my clothes are now the focal point.
    Keep repeating your mantra of “wearable, usable, desirable by me,” as that has helped me tremendously, not only in closet organization, but also on shopping trips. I still make a few mistaken purchases, but I can recognize those faster and return them or find someone/where to take them away. I get the mistaken piece out of my closet the first time I try it on and don’t like it–it goes to the sewing machine for alteration, to the donations bag, or to my “things to give to friends” bag immediately. I just keep telling myself, “If I don’t absolutely love it this morning at 6:45 a.m., I’m not very likely to love it at any other time on any other day, either!” Those few mistakes aren’t very costly, as I shop frugally, but they can become huge weights of guilt and large clutter in an otherwise happy closet–it’s better to get them out of there quickly and love the keepers.
    Thank you for your continued tips and teasers!

    • Reply
      Brenda Kinsel
      August 29, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Sally, you have some real jewels here!Thanks so much for sharing your practices with us! I especially appreciate what you said about the costs of the clothes not being the worst thing when you shop frugally, but it is the weight of the guilt and clutter that you reference which I find true for so many of my clients. I love your image of the happy closet! Thanks so much!

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