How many times have you found yourself standing in front of your closet, wishing Stacy and Clinton (the style genies) would magically appear with an outfit in hand, ready for you to wear? Or worse, how many times have you gone through outfit after outfit, only to end up half-dressed, passed out on your bed in utter dismay? Because I’ve been through both scenarios, complaining that I have absolutely nothing to wear. I think most of us do this, but unless you’re homeless, having nothing to wear is a completely false statement. Even the homeless guy usually has a t-shirt and pants.
What we really mean is we have nothing that we want to wear. Why? Because our closets are cluttered with clothes that we should have thrown out years ago, and because of that clutter, any good stuff we have usually goes unnoticed. That’s why I recommend cleaning out your closet and reorganizing your wardrobe after every season. When it’s winter, for example, and you’re trying to throw out overly-worn, old sweaters, it’s difficult to actually toss them aside when you find that it’s cold out and you may be able to still get some use out of them. So you keep the sweaters, all season long, until spring flowers start blooming and you realize you never wore the damn things at all. They just hogged closet space for nothing! It’s easier to get rid of those sweaters when May rolls around and it’s warm out; there’s no use for them at that point. If you toss them out then, by next winter, you will have completely forgotten you even owned those awful things.
The first step to reorganizing your closet is to take every item out of your closet. As you pull each item out, really think about how much use you get from the item and whether you really feel good in it. Do you really love those leather pants you bought, or was it a trend you gave into only to find uncomfortable and unflattering on? Are those pants an easy and instinctive choice when looking through your closet, or do you often scrunch your nose and purposely look past them? If you answered affirmatively to the latter of any of these questions, then it’s time to dump those 80′s sweat-inducers into the giveaway bag.
Once you’ve rid yourself of the unnecessary excess, create a pile of clothes that contains only spring/summer clothes and a pile that contains only fall and winter clothes. Since summer is approaching in today’s case, the fall/winter clothes should go in a storage container or another closet in the house. Along with these clothes go your boots and usually closed-toe flats and pumps. Once those are cleared out of the way, look at your remaining pile of clothes. These are clothes you should look at and can honestly tell yourself that you wear on a continuous basis (the exception being a formal party dress), and that you really feel great in when you wear them. I had a few items that still had tags on them that I gave away this past season. It’s painful, but if I don’t feel fabulous in it and haven’t worn it since I’ve bought it, that’s a sign that it just wasn’t meant for me. You can donate the item to a family member or friend, or even a local charity organization. If they like it, they will probably get much more use out of it than you would.
Once you’ve got your favorite items for the season grouped together, hang them in your closet by item type. So t-shirts go together, blouses, pants, shorts, skirts, and jackets, etc.. If you can, it helps to finger space your items so that they’re clearly visible at first glance. We used to do this when I worked in the Bloomingdales designer department because it was easier for shoppers to spot items when they walked by. It also lent to a more luxurious, high-end shopping experience, and who doesn’t want to feel like that at home with their own closets?
For your shoes, use a shoe rack or shelves to display your shoes on. I personally have a rack that I use for all my shoes, but I designate one particular section for just my staple pairs. These are shoes that are usually neutral in color, comfortable, and that I wear often throughout the week. They go with almost everything and are pretty casual, nothing fancy like a designer shoe to be kept carefully stored away. For my handbags, I use a coat rack near my door to hang my big bags. For my clutches, I like to use a small tray to group them together and keep them and their delicate chains from sliding off the shelf.
By the end of your clean out, you will feel lighter, refreshed, and actually excited about the items in your closet. You will get a fresh perspective and hopefully inspired to try pairing different items together that you never would have thought of doing before. You will also be able to easily see where your wardrobe lacks. Do you need some denim shorts for the summer, or a comfy pair of sandals? Whatever the case is, at least you’ve been reminded of exactly what you have in your closet and just how many fab things you have to wear!