Tag Archives: closet clean up

Stack, Scramble and Roll

I sing this song every January: it’s time to clean out, throw away, and straighten up my closet. A well-organized wardrobe is a joy forever — or at least for a couple of months until it becomes an unholy mess again.

Part of the exercise is deciding how best to arrange what’s left.  There are several schools of thought on this scintillating topic.

STACK

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This works best for shelves, so you can see what color shirts or sweaters you have. I find it less useful in drawers because I always have to dig through to find what I want — inevitably it’s on the bottom.

SCRAMBLE

When you hang everything, it can easily become a jumble of colors, lengths, and items.  One school of thought is to organize everything by color, a system in which all black items — jackets, pants, skirts, tops — would be grouped together.

It seems to me that it would be harder to find something specific; have you tried this approach?  My compromise is to hang similar items together, arranged by color.

ROLL

Although I often pack this way when traveling, it never occurred to me to roll things at home. Miraculously, items DO take up less space in the drawer, and now I can see what I have.  Works wonders for socks, underwear, t-shirts and jeans.

CODA

As a native New Yorker, it’s no surprise that most of my clothes are black, grey, and navy regardless of where I live, with a few pieces in the offwhite/tan/khaki range tossed in. This probably explains why my occasional wild foray outside the neutral zone is often unsuccessful. Note to self: do not buy bright colors, however appealing. You’ll always reach for something else.

Keeping things neat is a constant work in progress. How about you?  Is your closet beautifully organized, a hot mess, or somewhere in between?

 

 

 

 

 

Ready. Set. Purge.

The 45-minute closet clean up

One of the best ways to clear my head is to clean up my surroundings. It’s a no-brainer to toss the stuff I hate. What’s harder to identify are stealth garments that lurk among my favorites: clothes I used to love but barely wear, items that are serviceable but not exciting, expensive mistakes, and anything that doesn’t quite fit.

Weeding out things that no longer work — whether clothes or noxious elements in your life — can seem overwhelming. So start small. You can do this whole purge in under an hour.  Or if that’s too much, attack just one category a day. Spend 5 minutes on each and be ruthless!

  1. Fixer-Uppers: Broken zipper? Sleeves too long? Put anything that needs to be fixed into a bag. If you don’t take it to the tailor or shoemaker within a week, you’ll know that you don’t love it enough to keep it.
  2. Pants: Do they fit perfectly? Can’t wait to wear them? If you don’t feel attractive, you’ll always pick another pair. The exception: jeans that used to be flattering and are now too tight, but ONLY if you are serious about losing those extra 5-10 lbs. Save one pair and re-evaluate in three months.
  3. Shoes: Too big, small or tight? Gone! Not really your style? Had them for months and still haven’t worn them? Odds are, you never will.
  4. Duplicates: If you own multiples of the same style, only keep the ones you wear the most. Even among five black sweaters, you undoubtedly have one or two favorites. Ditch the rest.
  5. Fill-Ins: Do you have clothes, shoes and accessories that are nice enough but you always gravitate towards something else instead? If you’re not ready to toss them, make a list of the pieces you want to upgrade and when you buy that perfect jacket, shirt or belt, get rid of the fill-in.
  6. Sad Sacks: Underwear, socks, t-shirts…. Throw out everything that’s stained, shapeless, faded or has holes. Check collars and cuffs – that’s where the wear shows up first. Even if you’re only running to the grocery store, why look like a hot mess?
  7. Fantasy Island: If you can’t imagine wearing a particular item or outfit any time in the next year, get rid of it. Exception: your favorite LBD or a timeless designer piece that will always make you look and feel great.
  8. Guilt Trippers: We’ve all had buyer’s remorse after spending a lot (usually on sale) on something we just don’t wear. Donate it to charity and you’ll feel good about yourself instead of guilty.
  9. Old Loves: If you can’t bear to part with something for sentimental reasons, box it up and store it somewhere outside of your closet. Even better: enjoy the memories without letting unnecessary mementos take up precious space.

A final note on fit: Clothes that are too small make us feel like failures. Clothes that are too big make us look frumpy and imply we’re going to backslide.  Limit your wardrobe to fewer items that fit right now. You’ll feel more attractive, confident and in control.