Doyou have “lemons” hiding or piling up in your closet? We’re talking about thoselonesome clothes out of sight, out of mind, and those that have so manyduplicates you could have your own boutique!
Well,in this detailed step-by-step guide, we will focus on how to organize and prepyour closet to best fit your lifestyle. We encourage you to try the following exercises and let us know how thewardrobe style guide worked for you!
Now,let’s make some “lemon-aide”!
Tobegin this organizing exercise, please have the following:
1.Roll of large garbage bags, reusable totes or boxes
2.A clean area in your bedroom (or other room) to pile and sort clothes
4.Full length mirror
5.An open heart and mind
Yourcloset is on FIRE!*
(What?!Now, now, calm down. We know it’s an awful thought, and we hope this NEVERhappens, but for the sake of your future stylized and organized self ANDwardrobe, we’re going to pretend.)
Yourbeloved clothing collection is ON FIRE and you only have 30 seconds tosave your clothes. What articles are you going to rescue?
Injust 30 seconds, grab all your clothes you just cannot live without andpile them on your bed (or an empty area somewhere out of the way). GO!… Howdid you do? Did you freak out and just start grabbing everything? It’s hard tochoose what clothes you love and just cannot live without, isn’t it?(Especially if you found yourself racing through your wardrobe andrediscovering items from months or years ago you forgot you had…some with pricetags still attached…oops!) Now,walkaway from the “rescued” pile of clothes (we’ll get back to those later),and head back to your closet full of clothes “ravaged by the fire”. Grabone section of clothes at a time and thoughtfully try on each article in frontof your full length mirror. (This may be a quick try-on session or a lengthyprocess depending on the size of your wardrobe.
(TIP:Give yourself about 15-20 articles to work with at a time, so you don’tget too overwhelmed. Heck, you made it this far in the exercise, so let’s notget “burnt” out yet!)
Besure to ask yourself the following questions while trying on EACH article ofclothing:
• Doesthis make me look and feel my best?
• DoI have other pieces I can wear with this to create multiple outfit combos?
• HaveI worn this in the last month? (Take into consideration seasonal clothes.)
▪ If you answered “YES” to allthree questions, it’s a keeper!
◦ Create a separate pile for theseclothing articles. (You should now have a total of two clothing piles.)
▪ If you answered “NO” to allthree questions, it’s time to purge!
◦ Create another pile for these clothingarticles, or better yet, box/bag them up and get ready to donate/consign them!
▪ If you answered with a combination of “YES”and “NO” to the questions, add these clothes to the “saved from thefire” pile. (We’ll go through all of these clothes again, once we go throughthe remaining clothes in your wardrobe.)Onceyou have thoughtfully emptied out your wardrobe and tried on all clothingarticles, give yourself a pat on the back! Whew! Great job! It can be adraining, mental journey, as well as, a physical journey, but I knew you coulddo it! Take a deep breath and bask in the beauty and glory of your new,blank-slate closet. You did it, my friend. Besure to document this moment by taking a photo of your empty closet.(You’ll always have proof of the progress you made in your wardrobe and the“fire” that took place!)
If you still have the energy and momentum, it is now time to revisit the mountainsof clothes formed from the fire escapade. (NOTE: If this seems too overwhelmingto start re-trying on clothes, I get it. Please take a mental and physicalbreak to regroup—but don’t wait to long! We still need you to maintain yourfocus and motivation to successfully complete the task at hand. You’ve gotthis!)
Asyou begin to try on the clothes (again) from the “saved from the fire”pile, really stop and ask yourself: “Will I actually wear this and does it addvalue to my new wardrobe?”
• If youcan’t imagine wearing each article with two or more outfits, PURGEit.
• If youare iffy on an item or the price tags are still attached after several monthsof purchasing it, PURGE it. (Try not to focus on the amount of money spent onclothes, as it can deter you from making a clear gut decision on whether tokeep or purge. We ALL make buying mistakes!)
• If youdon’t see yourself wearing it soon (like in the next few weeks), you mostlikely won’t in a few months, so you better just PURGE it. (NOTE: This does notinclude formal or semi-formal wear, or clothing out of season. Judge at yourdiscretion.) We are re-building your wardrobe, so it only houses articles thatmake you FEEL LIKE THE ROCKSTAR THAT YOU ARE and gives you the most outfitcombos possible!
AfterALL the remaining clothes have been tried on, you should just be left withan all “YES” pile!
Now,if there are a few clothes (note the word “few”) you just can’t partwith yet will never wear, we get it, and it’s okay. This is where you cancreate a separate storage box for all of your clothing memorabilia. Label thebox and store it out of the way in a guest closet, attic or basement. Maybesomeday you’ll go through it and decide it’s time to let those clothes go!
Finally,it’s time to HANG your clothes and fill your empty closet! Yay! (And yes, werecommend a certain way to hang your clothes now that your wardrobe isrefreshed.)
Grabthe felt-lined hangers and begin to re-hang all your clothes. It’s best to have all the hangers matchbecause they look super clean and orderly in a freshly organized closet.Felt-lined hangers are highly recommended because they help prevent slippage ofclothes and shoulder creases.
Now, here’s the twist: hang yourclothes reverse on the clothing rod, so the hanger hook is facingyou. (Refer to photo.)
This extra step for hanging your clothes is such an effective visual aide because now you can actually SEE what clothes you are wearing and what articles are purely hanging out yearning to be loved.
At this point, you just might be wondering how to organize and sort your clothesin your closet. Good guess! Our favorite way to organize clothes (especiallytops) is by style and color.
• First,organize by style: (1) tanks (sleeveless), (2) T-shirts, (3) blouses,(4) buttoned shirts, (5) jackets/blazers, (6) dresses, (7) pants/skirts
• Next, withineach style category, organize by color using the acronym R.O.Y.G.B.I.V.(Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). Place whites and warmneutrals in front of R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. and blacks and cool neutrals at the end ofR.O.Y.G.B.I.V.
Onceall of your clothes are hung and sorted, take a photo or two of yournewly organized and stylized wardrobe. You conquered your unruly closet andturned those lemons into “lemon-aide”! You go rockstar!
Hopefully,you will now find it easier to pick out and style your O.O.T.D. (outfit of theday)! (If styling daily outfit combinations is something you struggle with, noworries, we will definitely tackle that in a different blog, on a differentday. Hang tight!)
Onceyou have worn your O.O.T.D. or after completing some laundry, you are now readyto hang clothes back up the correct direction in yourcloset. Be sure to keep the style andcolor in mind when putting back your clothes!
Ina few weeks, you should start to see a pattern in your wardrobe of the clothesyou repeatedly wear and the items that continually get ignored (because theyare still hung reverse). If you find you are not wearing certain articles forabout a span of 3 months, we advise to PURGE them!
Shoppingand adding value.
Finally,let’s talk shopping and adding value to your newly refreshed wardrobe. Maybeyou love to shop, or maybe it’s your worst nightmare. Whatever the case, weadvise to keep your current, stylized wardrobe in mind. (TIP: Before you go on a shopping spree, takephotos of the clothes in your closet, especially the articles that need a“friend”. This will help you stay on track with what you really need (or reallywant)…and hopefully, deter you from impulse buys.)
Tryto remember and ask yourself the following questions when you are out shopping,(as well as, the questions in the “fire” exercise):
• Whatam I MISSING in my wardrobe? (i.e. denim shirt, a graphic t-shirt, white jeans,kimono, etc.)
• DoI need to add COLOR or some PATTERN to my wardrobe?
• WhatDON’T I need? What do I already have plenty of?
• Willthis item add VALUE to my current wardrobe? Does it make me feel and look mybest?
• IfI purchase this, is there a similar article in my wardrobe that can be PURGED?
Afteryour shopping escapade, we urge you to go directly to your closet and integratethe new articles into your wardrobe. Hold yourself accountable. And remember: hangthe new clothes reverse!
As you are hanging your new clothes, find the items you told yourself you weregoing to purge and PURGE them. Do it and be at peace with it because now youhave a new piece in its place that makes you happier.
Lastly,you should never have a FULL closet. Where is there room for growth?Hence, the importance of purging clothes from your wardrobe as you are addingto it.
And there you have it, folks!
Now,it’s up to YOU to continue to nurture your wardrobe and turn those lemons into“lemon-aide”, so you don’t have to experience another “fire” episode…
(*We adapted the “fire” organizing exercise from an article a few years ago in REALSIMPLE magazine.)