How to organize your closet and streamline your wardrobe
Our closets. Such a small space that holds so much of our lives. It is where we store our clothes but it is so much more. When we get ready in the morning and put our clothes on, it sets the mood for the day. It can make us feel like we are ready to take on the world or hope no one sees us while we run a quick errand.
Our wardrobe should bring us joy rather than stress. We should be able to reach in and pull what we are going to wear without having to give it too much thought. This can be achieved if all items we purchase and keep in our closets express the image we want to put forward.
Our appearance is what most people use to base their opinion of us when they first meet us. Now we can argue that it should not matter how we present ourselves but the reality is that it does. During a brief encounter, people may not have the opportunity to see how intelligent, articulate, and funny you are. They will see what you wear.
You do not need a lot of clothes to have a great wardrobe. What you need is a good combination of basic and key pieces that you love and can quickly combine to put together a killer outfit. The more clothes you have the more likely you are to allow your closet to get cluttered and clothes that you do not love will sneak in.
However, I also do not believe that there's a set number of clothes you should aim to own. We all lead different lives and what works for one may not work for the other. By making some conscious decisions, decluttering, and organizing your closet you can achieve a wardrobe you love.
Before you start
I would suggest you take some time to figure out a couple of key points. These decisions will guide you through your organization and help you streamline your wardrobe.
We all have our style. Whether you are using designer labels or a plain T-shirt and jeans, you have clothes, that when you put them on, make you feel like you. That is your style! You need to know what that is and use it as a guide when you clean your closet. As you go through your clothes make sure that they reflect the image you want the world to see. This is especially important if you have not decluttered in a while. You are more likely to find pieces that you no longer love and no longer represent you.
If you want to streamline your wardrobe picking a color scheme will help. Chose a couple of neutral colors that you can mix in with your favorite colors and patterns. This will ensure that no matter what you pull out in the morning to wear, it all goes together and your outfits will be easier to assemble. I for example use mainly black, grey, olive green and white clothes. However, I own a few pieces that are red because it is my favorite color and sometimes I crave that little pop. All these colors go well together and I can mix and match different items to create the outfit I want.
Organizing your closet will take time. It is not a task that you will finish within a couple of minutes. Schedule off a block of time to tackle this task. If you just randomly start or if you do it when your time is limited, you will rush through the process and will not have the outcome you need.
Organizing your Clothes
Set the mood by picking a nice soundtrack for your task. For me this is essential. By having a few good songs playing I will enjoy the time I'm spending cleaning it out and it will not feel like such a chore.
Start by taking everything out of the closet and drawers. It may look a little crazy but it is the storm before the calm. Pull everything out and place them on top of your bed. You will now have an empty canvas to work from. If needed go ahead and clean or dust your closet and drawers. I mean how often do you see them in this state of emptiness anyways? Go ahead, make the most of it.
Now it is time to start adding the items back in. Start by doing the drawers first. I choose to do it this way because it allows us to organize those often smaller items that we store in drawers and take them out of the way quickly. Fold them neatly and in a way that you can see what the item is. You will be less likely to go buy that pair of socks if you can see how many you have.
Once the drawers are done it is time to focus on the closet. This is usually the part of the process that takes longer. Probably because what is stored here is what you chose to share with the world unlike your pajamas in the drawer. I mean, some people do wear their pajamas out. I'm not judging but I wouldn't recommend it.
Fold items, that may get damaged if put on hangers and place them on the shelves. If you do not have shelves in your closet, leave room in the drawers for items, such as sweaters as it is best to fold them. Everything else hangs in the closet. I find it helps to have most of my clothes hanging because it is easier to see them. And quite honestly if you have a pile of folded clothes and need the bottom item, it can create a mess.
We have discussed the process of decluttering and organizing but I thought I would leave the best for last. Sorting.
If you followed my initial suggestion, you know what your style is and the colors you want to use. Every item that you put back should go with your style. There is no reason to keep items that do not represent you. They will just take space and cause visual clutter.
For every item of clothing, you grab to put back into your closet ask yourself a few questions to see if they deserve a spot in your newly organized space.
Does it go with your style/colors?
Do you love it?
Do you need it?
Do you use it?
The items that go back must check off these boxes. Do not keep something you do not like or use just because you have it. It will either end up in the back of the closet forever, or you will eventually wear it. But we both know that on that day, you will not feel like you can conquer the world. Much to the contrary, you will feel bad about your appearance.
As you sort your clothes you will have a pile of items you no longer need. You should find a way to reuse them. For example, if its jeans and you like to wear shorts maybe you can cut them. Or you may have a creative friend that uses remnants of fabric to create other items and you can give it to them. Another alternative would be to donate them. Take all items that are still in good condition and give them to someone who may need them or a charity shop. Lastly, if they are in poor condition, and you can not use them even as a rag around the house, bin them.
After this process, you should be able to look back and see a wardrobe that you are happy to have. You may also notice that you need a few items. Please note that I said need and not want. Do not go out and buy new clothes on an impulse because you see some extra room in your closet. This is what got you in trouble, to begin with. If you need to go shopping use the same key ideas and questions that you used during the cleaning process and only purchase clothes that go with the wardrobe you have created.
You want to be able to project the best you to the world and with the right wardrobe, you will be able to do that.
If you struggled with figuring out your style here's a tip to help you know what you truly like. Create a board on Pinterest. Make it private if you want and start saving pins of outfits you love. After you do this for a while go back and look at what you have pinned. Do you see a trend in the colors? Do you tend to pin more skirts than trousers or is it the opposite? By looking at what you pinned you will have an idea of what you are drawn to and you can use that as a stepping stone for when you are sorting.
Repetition is key. Do not just go through this process once and call it a day. You will need to keep it up to make sure you don't go back to the place you started at. I aim to do a closet overhaul twice a year during Spring and Fall but you should try to do a declutter session at least once a year. It will give you control over what you have and no items will stay forgotten in the back.
If you find it hard to keep your drawers organized, try buying those inserts that create sections for you. I do not have those, but it may help with keeping small items in place.
Invest in hangers. It may sound silly but I believe that it gives your closet a pulled together and uniformed look. All my hangers are black and it is very pleasing to the eye.
Take care of your clothes. Some of us will grab an item and automatically know the best way to care for it. But let's face it, that is not all of us. I read the labels so I know how to wash and care for the item. By caring for your clothes they will last longer and look their best, reducing the overall number of clothes you will need to purchase.