Closet Wars: 3 Steps To Ending The Battle

October 12, 2011

Have you ever gone to the trouble and set aside a weekend to do a full blown closet makeover, eagerly following step-by-step instructions from your favorite television or magazine organizational expert just to find, not long afterwards, that your closet is back in a state of fashion chaos, leaving you with a case of what seems like perpetual ‘closet shame’?

“Stop torturing yourself!” You are certainly not alone in your experience – women at war with their closets is a universal battle. And, guess what? It is an unnecessary battle; one you do not need to fight anymore. It can even distract you from more important crusades.

Closets are supposed to be a storage system that supports you getting dressed. It is a tool to help you look and feel your best. If that doesn’t sound like what your closet is doing for you, then here are some tips to help end this battle once and for all. Now is the perfect time to get your closet prepared for a new season.

Each night after work, before you go to bed, set aside five minutes or 45 minutes to one-hour on a weekend, whichever is easier for you, until the task is completed. The goal is to merchandise your clothes in a way that works best for you. Don’t worry if your layout doesn’t work well for your friend. Your closet, or section of the closet, is supposed to support you and only you.

STEP 1: CREATE lifeSTYLE ZONES

I have found many women find it most helpful to organize her wardrobe by activity zones. For example, work clothes will have a designated section in your closet and weekend clothes will have another designated section. Thereafter, each zone is organized by style, color, and/or outfits. I, also, recommend storing your off-season clothes in another place, but if you do not have the space, then create a separate zone for those particular pieces in your active closet. Customize your zones to your individual lifeSTYLE.

If you have too many clothes that overlap between activity zones then standard merchandising is the way to go.

STEP 2: PERSONALIZE MERCHANDISING

What is closet merchandising? Well, the idea is to have your closet set-up similar to what you would see at your favorite store. For best results, the layout should be personalized. Assess your process for getting dressed and putting together outfits in the morning. Would it be easier for you to organize from sleeveless tops to long sleeves tops, short skirts to long skirts, cropped pants to wide leg pants, etcetera and then from light colors to dark colors within each of your pre-determined categories? Or, would it be easier getting dressed with a closet entirely arranged by colors?

Some women find it best to even organize by outfits. For example, you prefer this blouse only with this skirt and those pants and that jacket, etcetera. Remember, your closet is your closet, and it needs to work in your behalf. If you are not sure which organizational or merchandising method best suits you…experiment.

STEP 3: ATTACK AND WIN THE BATTLE

So, the question becomes how do you get your closet from chaos to sublimely organized? Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to take everything out. This approach can be quite overwhelming and you don’t want anything to get in your way. If you have the desire and time to do a big closet overhaul, then go for it. I have some tips for that approach too, but it is not absolutely necessary to win the battle.

Instead, I recommend a method that may or may not take you the entire season, but will definitely give you long-term results. Within the allotted time frame of five minutes or 45 minutes to one-hour previously mentioned, simply go to your closet, start at the front end of one side. Each piece of clothing you touch must be immediately moved to the allotted section or activity zone you decided upon earlier. When necessary, place visual markers (ie. a colored piece of paper or a plain piece with a zone name written on it placed over a hanger by punching a hole through it) to help clearly identify different zones.

As you re-arrange each piece, make sure it is correctly hanging on the hanger. Identical hangers really do make a huge difference in creating visual harmony within your closet, but don’t let this step stop you from getting started today. As you progress through your entire closet, you can eliminate obvious giveaway or throw away items. If you are unsure about a piece, keep it in there one more season and see if you wear it. Then by the end of the season or this time next year, you can make a final decision. If a piece needs to be dry-cleaned, still place it into its appropriate section/zone rather than immediately creating a dry-cleaning pile. This will save you money and encourage you only to dry-clean those pieces that you are 100% sure you plan to keep. Stick to your time-table, act quickly, and do not get hung up or distracted by details. Maintain your newly organized closet by applying the same principle – as soon as you take off a piece of clothing, get it back from the dry-cleaners, or finish laundering, place it in its designated area.

Here’s a recap: Know thyself and assign a realistic time frame, create custom closet sections/zones, plus a personalized merchandising plan, then attack. Win this battle and you will undoubtedly receive a medal, ultimately, recognizing your efforts to honor yourself.

What is your Achilles heel to organizing your closet? Does it matter to you?

Image Credit: California Closets.

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