Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? Most people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. This means 80% of your clothes are simply taking up valuable space in your closet! Not to mention the cost per wearing dollar amount of the 80% is quite high. These are clothes you probably should have never purchased. Although, you might be able to utilize some of the pieces once you can see them again or coordinate them with something different.
Imagine being able to go shopping in your own closet, and coming out with terrific new pieces! You may still need a few key items, but you will not have to start from scratch for the Spring/Summer season ahead. This task has two big benefits: #1: You will have a closet in which you can see everything inside in an organized system. #2: You will create your own store, in which every item is perfect for your coloring, body proportion, and personal brand image. Let’s get started
- Store Away Winter Items: If you are cramped for space, it is best to store away your heavy winter coats, sweaters, and boots. Take care of the clothes you will be putting into storage. For instance, make sure everything is freshly laundered or dry-cleaned. This will make sure they are in perfect shape for the next winter season.
- Use Proper Hangers: Recycle your wire hangers. Buy Huggable Hangers (Container Store) or Real Simple Slimline (Bed, Bath and Beyond), they really will provide you with more space. Good hangers protect your clothing, guard against stretched shoulder seams, and provide equal importance to each item. Hang all your clothes in the same direction.
- Edit, Edit, Edit: Take a look at every single item in your closet and keep only those clothes that are wonderful. Ditch the rest! Don’t make excuses for an outfit bought on sale that didn’t quite fit (and still doesn’t), or the well-meaning gifts from people who know your name, but not your color palette or taste in style. Just because something was great a few years ago does not mean it is great today! Tip: Hang all your hangers from the outside of the rod. After you have worn an item, hang the hanger from the inside of the rod. Take note after six months, if the hanger hook position has not been changed, the item goes away (items will still be facing the same direction, simply the top of hanger will be facing the other direction). This will not work with the plastic hangers, as the top hook will not rotate.
- Color Code: Arrange everything in your closet by category (jackets, tops, pants, dresses, etc.), and by your color palette from dark to light. Start with all black items, then brown, reds, blues, ivory, and ending with white. Your closet should look like a new box of Crayola crayons. This arrangement lets you be more creative to mix and match, pairing items together that were mere acquaintances in the past.
- Hang or Fold? A client just emailed this question and I thought it was great. She wanted to know if casual tops for she and her husband could be folded or if they should be hung. What you fold and put in a drawer will not be as visible and hence not utilized as much in your wardrobe. In an ideal world, hanging all your clothes is best. Since space limitations do not always make this feasible, you can fold your jeans, camisole tops and your “wash the car type T-shirts” on a shelf or in a drawer. Sweaters are also good to fold, as the thick styles really do take up a lot of room. Note, some very fine gauge sweaters can “grow” longer if they are hung. These are always best to fold. Most of the time, if you edit your wardrobe properly you will have room to hang most of your items.
- Accessories & Shoes: Arrange your accessories so they are visible. Men, one of the best tie racks is the motorized model that rotates. It holds 64 ties and 6 belts, and keeps your ties wrinkle free. The tie rack sells for approximately $28.99, at www.stacksandstacks.com. Ladies, hang belts and necklaces on a standard tie rack. Or, just put a row of nails on your closet wall and hang a necklace over each nail head. Earrings should be placed in a shallow container – ideally made for earrings with little square separations. You can also use flat baskets and stack them on a shelf in the closet, on top of a bureau, or in a top dresser drawer. The best choice for shoes is to have them out of the box on graduating shelves. If you don’t have this luxury, keep your shoes in clear plastic boxes. Label for easy identification, a picture label is best. Wooden shoetrees are a must to maintain the condition and shape of your shoes.
- Get Creative: Try pairing a jacket with your khakis or jeans. Guys, wear one of your colored or patterned dress shirts with jeans and a cool pair of retro tennis shoes or an updated loafer or oxford. Ladies, get out a basic solid blouse, pair it with a classic pair of pants, add a bold scarf, and add pizzazz with an unexpected bright shoe. Or, open the blouse, add a colorful camisole, and accent your waist with a twisted scarf that picks up the camisole color. Shoes no longer have to match your handbag or even your outfit! Be creative and experiment.
- Missing Item List: Make a list of “incomplete” items, such as the ensemble that needs an updated pair of shoes, a colorful shirt, or the right accessory. You may also want to add just a few of the season’s hot items to your list, to update your look.
Congratulations! You are the proud owner of an orderly closet. You have a strategic shopping list that will bring your wardrobe together versus just adding more of the same items. If you love something, you do not need three of the same item – sound familiar? You can see all of your favorite clothes, with no bad apples in the bunch, so choosing something to wear is now easy, quick and fun!