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This post plus my trip to Columbus inspired me to lock myself in my bedroom one Sunday afternoon with a cold beer and Spotify and clean up my closet. The floor was littered with accessories, shoes, and a mix of dirty laundry and items that had fallen off hangers. Speaking of hangers, there was a mix of metal ones from the dry cleaners, velvet hangers (my favorite, things don't fall off them and they save a ton of space), and plastic hangers (the ones I use for line drying clothing – things fall off them and they take up more room). I've learned that a chaotic closet equals a chaotic Allie so it was time to get my act, and my closet together.
I cleaned out an entire contractor bag's worth of stuff from my closet. I catch myself keeping things that look good in my closet but aren't necessarily items I wear or use. I'm over that – I have no time nor space for such a bad habit. Gone. I also removed everything which doesn't fit and everything that does fit but I don't enjoy wearing. I've kept accessories for a long time figuring they will come back in style or I may need in the future. With this clean-out I got rid of some belts and bags that haven't been worn in a few years, don't feel like my personality any more, or aren't in good enough condition to warrant keeping. I will be donating a lot to local charities but plan on selling some of what I removed; I'll keep you posted how I plan to sell these items and when they will go on sale.
After cleaning, I took some photos. I don't have an exciting or “pretty” wardrobe, but I find it helpful when I see how other people organize their everyday wardrobes and thought my pictures may help you. I felt ridiculous asking Karl to take pictures with his fancy camera so iPhone shots will have to do. And without further ado…
Karl and I share a closet; while it is a walk-in closet, the space isn't terribly large and not well designed. Some day when I win the lottery I'll have some pros come and reconfigure it to make better space. In the meantime I get creative and am grateful to have a partner who doesn't care much about fashion and can fit all his stuff in one third of the closet. There's one long bar along the back wall and two short bars on each side. One shelf around the whole closet. I keep my clothing on the back bar, and use my short bar on the left for accessories.
I organize my clothing by category. I find this is the best way to find items. The pieces in the front are the categories I wear the most, but also the ones with the most pieces, and the ones where pieces can get lost. Since it's summer, sweaters are in the back, but when the temps drop the sweaters will move to the center between dresses and shirts.
The far edges of the closet bar are near impossible to access, and where I keep the items that get little wear or need to be protected. The far left holds my unique or special event pieces – my vintage fur stole, two sequin jackets, a sequin sweater, and two tulle skirts. Next are jackets – jackets don't store well so I keep my jackets here year-round even if I don't plan on wearing a leather moto in the middle of August. I don't keep them in any color order; in fact I try to mix it up because a piece is less likely to get lost in the sauce or a sea of black blazers.
The center of the closet is dresses and jumpsuits. Again, there's no rhyme or reason as to why one dress is next to another, but I usually try to break up the black so they don't get hidden. Next is tops – first are any “going out tops” – tanks and shells that can easily get lost when further back in the closet. I then have my blouses (and yeah that blue striped silk one got line dried but not yet pressed, I promise I'll press it before I wear it!).
After work blouses are shirts – denim, white, plaid, the casual ones that don't get as much wear. Unlike the other categories, I like having all my white shirts, all my denim together. I often make decisions on which from a category to wear, so having them all together makes it easier to flip around and decide which is best for that day's look. After shirts are skirts, also mixed up so none get lost. After skirts are pants; I don't have a lot and they're all pretty much the same silhouette so I don't need to see them to create outfits. The final category is sweaters and out of season pieces; these either won't pack well or are pieces I may wear (cozy sweaters for an evening at the beach, etc.).
The short bar… though she be little she is fierce! This is where I store all my belts (yeah I have a lot), my small bags, and a shelving unit which holds my clutches (some on the shelf, some in a drawer), my scarves (pashminas and winter in one drawer, silk and bandanas in another), and various other accessories (usually my Panama hat is with the orange faux fur but right now it's downstairs). I bought the metal hook gadgets on Amazon and they are fantastic; the lesser-used belts are in the back and I can put heavy bags on more than one hook to distribute the weight, and it's easy to see everything.
This picture shows a bit more detail of all the bags and belts on these hooks. I have belts on there that have been in my collection since high school; some accessories just never go out of style.
These shelves are a new addition I got off Freecycle. I don't love this setup, but these are the big bags that have nowhere else to go. I want to do a better job with this but haven't had the time. This picture nicely shows the angled ceiling of the closet and how there's a lot of room for a new setup in here; I'd love to do double bars and have up high things out of season or less used… someday…
Here's a bit more detail of my shoes in the closet. The ones in the white shelving unit are the ones I wear the most often. The ones to the left are out of season shoes or special occasion shoes.
The closet door is hardly ever closed; I have the over the door shoe organizer which stores the shoes I am wearing the most right now as well as the more bum-around shoes that can handle being shoved together in a pocket. Having the bags hang in this manner on the over the door double hook isn't the best for them but gets the job done for now. These bags are primarily casual bags with the most used day-to-day crossbodies on top.
A few things are in the laundry and there's a couple pairs of shoes and a purse and tote or two downstairs, but 95% of my wardrobe is featured in these photos. And since I showed the closet contents, figured I might as well show the drawer contents too:
My nightstand is actually my bureau and only clothing drawers. The top drawer is underpinnings. The second drawer is knits that I wear on a daily basis – yes that is a whole pile of striped shirts! Stripes, solids, summer sweaters, then tanks. The middle drawers is my shorts, and two piles of jeans. The bottom drawer is my casual stuff – printed tees, solid tees, and then a mishmash of yoga pants, running shorts, and some workout and loungewear stuff.
Out of season clothing is stored in Rubbermaid bins in the attic. I usually do two transfers of clothing; one will happen around mid-September to pull out some autumnal feeling clothes that are still okay in warm weather (flannel plaids, leather, some cardigans, darker jeans) and pack up the shorts and sundresses, and then the next will happen near the end of October when I completely transition to my winter wardrobe. Outerwear is kept in the office closet (we don't have any closets on the main floor). And there you go, more than you likely ever wanted to know or see regarding my wardrobe!
Really interesting stuff, thanks Allie! I am currently squeezing my stuff into half of a small double wardrobe and three small drawers. Can’t wait till we buy a house and have a bit more room! Still, organisation is key no matter how much room you have. I think it’s about time I had a clean out too…
Thrift Store Mama says
Looks so pretty with all your hangers the same. I have a lot of closet and dresser space but need to be uber organized because I have several different categories of clothing: workout, casual, office work, business travel, and then hiking and skiing. I bought these little doo hickeys to help me stay organized – my biggest problem is putting away clean laundry and hanging my clothes back up after I wear them, and I like these because I can write on them.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
Oh that’s brilliant!
I really believe that some wardrobes shelves can be very streamlining. I mean, i hang button downs, silk tops , dresses, jackets. But jeans, most pants, tshirts , sweaters, etc can be folded quite well, and this is not a konmari thing, i think all over europe wardrobe/armoires were de rigueur. I used to have as a child 2 or 3 hanges on which i piled 3-4 skirts and 2-3 button downs each. The rest was stacked . I aspired to put all my things on hangers but then i was dissapointed on the space loss so now i combine 🙂
You are so disciplined. I can only aspire to be like you someday.
How do you manage to get your sweaters and other knit tops into a small space in the closet and one bureau? About the sweaters that you hang, how do you prevent stretching and distorting in the shoulder area from the weight?
I have a lot of sweaters. For some women it’s shoes. For others it’s bags or jewelry. For me, it’s sweaters. Part of my problem is that I love all of them. Our house and furniture does not have the capacity to store them. So I have a chaos of sweaters tucked here and there all over the place.
I know I should get rid of some of them but it’s so difficult. Any suggestions? Oh, I did promise myself to not buy any more this year. Let’s see if I can at least do that.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
I used to have a LOT of sweaters and used the hanging shelf thing for them, it worked really well. Come winter, my top drawer of knits and sweaters becomes all sweaters and the knits move down to the bottom drawer 🙂
Leah LW says
I love seeing other people’s closets and getting an idea of how their wardrobes play together–thanks for sharing! It’s also good inspiration to go through my own closet as we near the end of the season and I can see what I’ve actually been wearing.
I keep my shoes out ( though I only have 4 or 5 “nice” pairs and wear them all regularly), but the tree story has got me thinking I should do otherwise…yipes!
Leah from http://thriftshopchic.com
Lorena Lorena says
Closet edits are always eye opening – you find things you think you lost and you also realise how much your style has evolved since the last edit. I do my edits on a monthly basis always trying to give the garment one last chance… however it takes forever ! But, I avoid regrets.
Cherie Czaplicki says
Wow, putting it all right out there! Interesting, love your comments about why and how you organize it! Great job for such a small space (my closet is also a walk-in but so small, with still the builder’s stupid wire shelves in it with the long angled braces that don’t allow the best use of space. “Someday” for me, also!
Hi Allie – this is great — a real world closet for a real woman! I am always intrigued by closet organization articles in magazines, but end up turned off because they feature huge closets with thousands of dollars of organizing gear, and no sense that piles can tip and so on. One change I made in my spring closet change out (I shamelessly commandeer a lot of my sons’ massive 3 closets for my off-season clothes, since hubby and I share one small closet): switching to the so-called “Konmari organization method” for my dresser drawers. I have no idea if this is actually practiced in Japan, but I love how it looks and that I can see every shirt I own at a glance, and that motivates me to keep it organized. You basically fold each one into a rectangle, then line them up in a row standing up one in front of the other: http://www.rootsimple.com/2015/01/everything-must-go-part-4-how-to-fold-your-clothes/. Thanks again, really appreciated this post and the one that inspired it.
Sarah Reitsma says
YES!!! I love the Konmari method and fold my clothes in my dresser now that way, and it’s so much easier!
Thrift Store Mama says
But with the konmari method, when half your shirts are in the laundry, how to the rest of the shirts keep from falling over?
Sarah Reitsma says
I keep pushing mine together towards the side of the drawer, as I take things out.
Thanks for introducing me to this! I had so much fun doing three of my drawers in my own version of this method yesterday. It looks awesome!
Michelle Van Ellis says
I love that you have more than 30 things in your closet. I don’t understand the articles that “show” you what an organized closet should look like when there’s only 5 shirts, 3 pants and 2 jackets. I am in desperate need of a wardrobe that I can hang shirts and jackets in. I have a lot of clothes but hubby, who is more of a clothes horse than I, claimed two closets when we moved in to our house.
I think one of your best tips is to go through your closet regularly.
It’s an activity with a lot of benefits – you remember what you have, you get rid of deadwood, you keep things repaired and wearable, it makes it easier to get dressed in the morning and it puts your focus on something more than just “what should I buy next.”
Jodie Filogomo says
Hi Allie…I love organizing a closet so I thought I’d give my two cents: since you have the white shelving unit (which is perfect) you could take your shoes out of the boxes and “couple” them—I think being able to see your shoes is an advantage—plus you can then get more in the same area. I couple mine by stacking the toe in the heel (http://www.jtouchofstyle.com/organization-shoe-discussion/). Have a great day!! jodie
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
I specifically keep my shoes in boxes because a couple years ago I had a tree come through my roof and it destroyed a ton of items that were not properly put away; it also made me realize how dusty and misshapen shoes get when they are left on display but not worn on a regular basis. Also the shelf is above my head, it’s easier to slide out the boxes like drawers than have some get lost beyond my eyesight or fall on my head! 🙂
Jodie Filogomo says
I have to say that’s a great reason to keep your shoes in boxes….talk about a bad day!
I recall that episode with the tree and agree with you 100%, keep your shoes covered and protect the nicer things in your closet. Nice job. You’ve inspired me to do the same to my messy closet.
I like this post! We have a walk-in closet that is similar to yours. It’s small and my clothes take up almost all of it. We had a shoe shelf that was constantly collapsing and I hated it. Recently my husband put bookshelves in there that fit just right in the space. My shoes all fit nicely now and there is a great spot for my tall boots. It is amazing how much better I feel about my closet! Sometimes I just open the door to look at it!
A few years ago I invested in some wooden hangers like they have in nice stores, and it has also made a huge difference in how I feel. I bought them online from Target so they weren’t overly expensive but it was still an expense. I hope to replace the rest of my hangers one day.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
It’s amazing how hangers can change the whole feeling of a closet and its contents!