Closets everywhere, look out.
Fall. Don’t we just love fall? Now, don’t get me wrong – I love a good beach day – but I LOVE FALL. It could be that as the child of two school teachers the fresh start feeling of September is deeply imprinted on me. Maybe it’s because I’m a fall baby. Maybe it’s a love of dry air and cool nights and sweaters. Whatever the reason, for me fall is a magical time when I feel refreshed, renewed, inspired and energetic. I hear this sentiment echoed from so many friends and clients. With seasonal transition comes the opportunity for a fresh start with closet organization.
Cooler weather is an obvious hint that it’s time to evaluate and optimize your closet. Here are some tips for style standards and seasonal success:
Create a clothing manifesto.
This might sound lofty, but for me a manifesto is like a goal – it keeps me focused and accountable. Textile Beat’s Slow Clothing manifesto is a pretty close representation for me, but I’ve created a personalized statement:
- My style embraces classic lines and textures that transcend trend and stand the test of time.
- I gravitate to natural fibres that drape, dance and move. I seek pieces that invite movement and welcome my natural shape and active lifestyle.
- Longevity over whim, quality over indulgence, versatility over vogue.
- I do not support fast fashion and its exploitation, but rather seek to support local artisans and conscious businesses that aim to do good in an industry that often does not.
- I relish vintage, seek the thrill of thrift, and otherwise buy or exchange second-hand whenever possible.
- Versatile basics, classic layers, and timeless signature pieces make up my minimal but beautiful wardrobe. In my clothes I feel stylish, respectable, comfortable, playful and intriguing, all in perfect balance.
This statement has been necessary for me for a number of reasons:
- I love thrift shopping. And in Halifax we don’t have nearly the wealth of boutiques and stores that the EU, US, or even bigger Canadian centres have. Thrift shopping opens up a new world of brands and styles and sometimes I get so excited by ‘the find’ that it clouds my judgement.
- I’ve changed weights, jobs, and careers a bunch. (See desperation shopping, below.) Shopping in times of need is somewhat inevitable but should be avoided whenever possible.
- I question myself. I’ve never been what you’d call a natural fashionista. And in finding my way to a personal style, I’ve made a lot of impulse decisions. A manifesto focuses me back to my true self and values, helping guides my choices.
Do not shop in desperation.
Desperation is rarely a useful emotion. When I’ve shopped in ‘desperate times’ such as starting a new job my wardrobe was unprepared for, I have made impractical, poor clothing decisions. I often end up with things that are ill-fitting, too specific, or unflattering. It’s the equivalent of going to the grocery store hungry. No good can come of it.
Shop regularly, strategically. Develop a NEED list. Go shopping on the regular, be it monthly, biweekly, or whatever makes sense for you. If you (like me) hate shopping, make a ritual of it. Get your favorite coffee, don your headphones and your favorite music or podcast, make sure you’re wearing your most versatile underwear and easiest whip-on-and-off clothes and shoes and go for it! Everyone should have a versatile black dress (or suit), a neutral cardigan, basic layering pieces, a good pair of dressy dark jeans, a great blazer. You get the idea. These things are generally found through regular searching. My current NEEDS list:
- White blouse
- Grey pants
- Gold-tone necklace
- Dressy, dark, not-very-stretchy jeans
- Casual dresses that can be dressed up or down
Identify a Style Icon.
Mandy Moore is mine. A style icon can help to add focus to what you want and don’t want out of your personal style, keeping impulse purchases and questionable choices to a minimum.
Sell, Toss, Donate.
This is my closet organization mantra. If you don’t wear it, don’t love it, don’t reach for it… what on earth is it doing occupying valuable space in your closet? Not to mention impacting your energy and emotional real estate. So commonly we attach ourselves to memories, past selves (skinny self, single self, rounder self, young self), and impractical ideas and ideals that are long overdue to be retired.
I promise you, removing what you don’t wear and don’t love from your closet will only increase your appreciation and attention for what you do have and love. I live in a historic home with little closet space and I don’t have a lot of clothes (see photo!) but what I do keep, I feel great in, wear often, and can wear in many different ways. Ask yourself:
- Does it fit?
- Is it something I wear regularly?
- Do I have the necessary shoes/coordinates/accessories to wear it?
- Does it make me feel good?
- If it went missing, would I notice?
- Is it versatile? Practical?
- Does it suit my work and/or lifestyle?
- If I don’t wear it, am I likely to in the near future?
- If not, will it even be in style by the time it fits, or I need it?
- Does it cause me stress/disappointment/frustration or other negative emotions with its presence?
But what if you spent a lot on it? That’s a tough one but not a good enough reason to hang onto something that doesn’t serve you. Consider consignment to recoup some cost or check out this blog post for strategies to let go.
Where to start?
A professional organizer can help you evaluate your wardrobe, make positive decisions, implement functional closet systems, and make the best use of your space. Shameless plugs aside, here are some practical options for approaching a closet review and reorganization:
- Have a party! A version of the Keep, Sell, Toss/Donate method with added moral support Sex and the City/Carrie Bradshaw style. Recruit the opinions (and good times) of your closest people to help you decide. Take the ‘ugh’ out of closet organization and add fizz and laughter instead.
- The seasonal method: at the end of each season, if you didn’t love it and wear it lots, it goes. This takes some of the sting out because you’ll be bringing in a fresh bunch of seasonal clothes from your out-of-season bins (if you have your clothes organized by season) to re-stock the closet. You might find things sparse when the season comes around again, but you’ll have a clean slate and free space.
- The reintroduction method: take it away and only put back in what you pull out in three months. Designate an area away from the closet for your clothes, and only put back in your closet what you wear in the next three months (taking into consideration the season.)
- The hanger method: put everything in your closet backward on hangers. After 3-6 months, if you didn’t wear it (and turn the hanger around), it goes!
Can’t imagine tackling your closet on your own? Need help with closet organization or storage solutions? We’d love to hear from you.