How To Create an Organized and Functional Closet in 6 Steps
The mark of an organized and functional closet is a closet that works for you. That means it is easy to get ready for the day or an even because you have garments, accessories and shoes that fit your body and your lifestyle for the present moment.
A closet does not stand a chance of getting – or staying – organized if clothing is outdated, in bad shape or doesn’t make you look and feel your best. Why? Because excess garments create visual clutter. And visual clutter causes stress and slows you down when getting ready.
Think about how many times you’ve been in a mad panic to get dressed for work or an event only to find that the outfit that you imagined in looks terrible on your body.
How can this be avoided? Take the time to ruthlessly edit your closet so it can function for you and your lifestyle. And from the edit, assemble outfits before attempting to get ready in the morning.
Step 1: Choose to set aside time to complete the project
Setting time aside means you won’t get side tracked or overwhelmed. It likely took years to get to this point; it won’t take minutes to undo it. Go into the project rested and ready to see it through to the end. And it doesn’t hurt to have a fun playlist or a buddy there to help you make decisions.
Step 2: Come Prepared
Head into your closet as if you were heading to work. Do your hair and makeup so when you try on garments, it is a true representation of what it would look like if you were leaving for the day.
Bring a pad of paper and pen or use Notes in your phone. You’ll want to keep track of items that need to be replaced, sizes that you wear in a certain brand and notes about what to buy to round out your wardrobe.
Have pictures from catalogs or from a board on Pinterest that are inspiration for seasonal outfits. Knowing what you want to look like will help you evaluate what you have and help you assemble outfits when you get to Step 6.
Step 3: Take everything out of your closet
This is an important first step. Removing everything helps you see what you have and what you are holding onto. There is a true blast of mental clarity to follow this approach as opposed to leafing through garments while they are in the closet.
Take the time once everything is out of the closet to dust and vacuum so that everything that is returned to the closet is going back to a tidy spot.
Step 4: Decisions and Try On
Start with clothing you love. If you are certain it fits, review it for any rips, stains or dirt. Only return items in perfect condition to your closet and set aside those that need to be laundered or dry cleaned.
Next, review every garment and ask why you are keeping it. Does it make you feel confident when you wear it? Does it bring back a memory? Have you not worn it because you don’t have anything to wear it with? What does it look like when you try it on?
Organize piles in Love, Like and Hate. If you Love it, back it goes to the closet. If you Like it but need more time with it, set it aside to do a second review. If you Hate it, then put it in a pile on your floor.
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by decisions, then choose to do just to focus one color at a time. Trying on black shirt after black shirt will show you a direct comparison and help you decide what is worth keeping or giving away.
Step 5: Organize
Put the items you are choosing to keep back into your freshly cleaned closet. Hang blouses, shirts, tanks, tees, pants, dresses and skirts. Fold sweaters, especially cashmere, as much as you can.
Organize your garments by color first and then by sleeve length next. For instance, start to the left with white tanks then white short sleeve shirts and then long sleeve. Continue for yellow, red, orange, green, blue, grey, black, etc.
From the items you are giving away, choose if they can be sold, donated or recycle. Read How to Sell, Donate and Recycle Your Old Clothes.
Step 6: Assemble Outfits
With a fresh, clean and clear view of what you have, it’s time to put that closet to work!
Drawing outfit inspiration from magazines or Pinterest, create outfits for the upcoming week. Don’t just assemble an outfit in your head. Take the extra few minutes to try the items on including adding accessories like jewelry, scarves and shoes.
Assemble your outfits for the upcoming work week including Saturday. On Sunday return to your closet and repeat the outfit planning process.
While there is conflicting statistics on how many days it takes to form and keep a habit, we know that taking the time to plan ahead creates a calmer morning. And like a cup of coffee, a calm morning can be a ritual worth keeping.