Time to Clean Out the Closet

When Fashionably Conscious asked me to be on its host committee for its September 21-23 event, I was thrilled. Why? It gave me a legit reason to clean out my closet.

I realize closet cleaning isn’t exactly a scenario most people look forward to (except for me, president of the OCD club), but it’s  a necessary evil. I’ve been blessed with a lot of things, but a luxury walk-in closet is not one of them. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to make do with a few simple rules that I’m going to share so you can give those skeletons in your closet a little breathing room.

Rule No. 1: No wire hangers. Mommy Dearest was on to something. Closet happiness begins with matching hangers. Everything will hang evenly, allowing you to see what lives in your closet, if you use hangers that are all the same size, like these velvet ones from Costco.

Rule No. 2: Know your limit. Pick the number of hangers you are going to allot yourself (I think I bought several boxes of 50) and don’t buy any more. Then, as you buy new staples, you force yourself to edit what you are no longer wearing so you’ll have a hanger to put new purchases on. This will keep your closet from a case of the overloads.

Rule No. 3: Divide and conquer. Break clothes up into categories. On the left side of my closet I have two bars: one for tops and the other for skirts, shorts and pants. On the right side, I have dresses. My closet goes from sleeveless to short sleeve to long sleeve. And all the matching colors are paired together. This way, if I need a short-sleeved purple tank top, I know exactly where to look. Yes, I realize this sounds crazy, but hey, it works.


{The secret to happiness: Clear, plastic shoe boxes.}

{The super-sized version for boots.}

Rule No. 4: Be clear. If you love shoes, treat them well. Put them in a shoe box. If you have a zillion pairs of shoes, put them in clear shoe boxes so you can see exactly what you are looking for. Again, set the number of boxes you are going to allow yourself and if you wind up with more shoes than boxes, say so long to something you haven’t worn in a while. I scored these boxes at The Container Store. Unfortunately, platforms have gotten so out of control that I have to put one shoe per box sometimes.

Rule No. 5: Make the most of your space. Like I said, I didn’t inherit A Carrie Bradshaw-type closet, so I have to utilize every inch of wall space. I found extra room above the door inside my closet. It was just enough space to store bins with sweaters, clutches and scarves. I also installed extra racks behind my clothes to stash things like jackets that rarely get worn.

{Make the most of your space.}

{Divide and conquer with storage bins.}

Rule No. 6: Bin there, done that. Stash belts in a belt bin. Put hats are in a hat box. You’ll spend a lot less time searching if everything is in one designated spot. I opted for the cheap storage boxes (two per pack for $13) from Target.

Rule No. 7: Send in reinforcements, especially if you, like me, have this wire system from Home Depot holding your closet together. And by reinforcements, I mean a latch system that will prevent your closet from breaking down under too much weight. I’ve lived through not one, but two closet explosions where the shelves decided to launch into early retirement and just crumbled. The orange-aproned team at Home Depot can point you in the right direction to make sure you’ve got a good support system.

{Hidden hooks for extra storage are a must.}

The next rainy weekend that comes your way, turn off the Law & Order marathon and make a little law and order of your own in your closet. As for what to edit out, if it’s a ghost of fashions past and you havent worn it in at least three months, pass it along. Need more motivation? Fall’s coming. Out with the old to make room for the new.