Life-changing closet organization intel from Deirdre McKee!
Spring is here – the perfect time to edit your closet! Below, Deirdre McKee, a fantastic interior visionary and personal organizer, provides some life-changing closet organization solutions to help you achieve and maintain closet contentment!
Placement & Flow
The most important element to focus on when organizing your closet is the “Real Estate” or chosen placement of your items. Evaluate what you feel you use the most and need the easiest and most convenient access to, be it your gym clothes, work attire, or “go-to” loungewear, and make that designated spot in your closet for those items. Then evaluate where other items should go based on how frequently you use them. It is absolutely fine to keep things that are special to you, important and admired, that you don’t necessarily use or wear very often in your closet; just select a home for them that does not interrupt the flow and function of your everyday use.
When doing a BIG overhaul of reorganizing your closet, although a big task, it is best to pull everything out and then thoughtfully evaluate what you consciously need and value to put back into your closet in a designated spot instead of trying to look through your closet and pulling things out. Eliminate anything stained, ripped, snagged, misshapen, stretched-out, broken, etc. It is unfortunate when we have clothing we love, feel comforted by, and have invested money into becomes flawed – yet the reality is, you won’t wear it, even if comfortable – you will not feel good in it, and it is a needless effort that will distract you while getting ready.
If you have something in your closet you absolutely love and cherish yet have assessed that you do not actually use it or wear often or ever (something of your grandmother’s, old sports/college memorabilia, a childhood item, prom dress, etc.) if it brings you happiness – keep it! Just put it in “elevated Real estate” (up high) or in a nice, protected bin, out of your daily way, yet thoughtfully kept.
If an item is not; special, does not look good on you, does not fit you or make you feel good while wearing it, or hasn’t any form of function (not for work or activity), it is a good reason to edit it from your closet. It is just causing clutter and distraction and taking up space and function of what you really need and wear. If your closet is overly stuffed and cluttered, you will CONSTANTLY be reorganizing it, and it will never stay neat or be functional for you.
Sections & Categories
Once you have a decided what you want to keep, create sections and categories to help make a system flow and function in your closet. The categories can be whatever fits your daily lifestyle. Have your work clothes, exercise clothes, seasonal attire, dress-up, loungewear, and specific activity all placed in “like” sections in your closet. This takes far more importance and function for your daily routine and keeping organized than what looks nice or is by color. Organizing items by color is, of course, aesthetically pleasing and helps with quickly locating items by sight recognition; however, having things categorized by use and function is the most helpful.
It is nice to have things folded neatly for the aesthetics of your closet to keep things tidy and maximize your space or real estate in your closet, yet be mindful of the upkeep. If you are “origami-style” folding items so small and tight that you cannot recognize what it is, and it is distressing the fabric of your clothing, that is not the best solution. Fold items in a way that best suits the shape and structure of each particular item of clothing and also so you can identify what the article is. For example, fold cropped leggings in a different shape than long leggings so they are easily identifiable in your closet for quickly getting ready and ease of putting away. This will help keep your wardrobe tidy and your clothes looking their best for longer. Also, fold for function. Assess how to access certain items to determine how they are folded. For quick and easy accessibility, doing a “file system folding” (vertical fold) in a drawer versus stacked in a pile on a shelf may be best.
Labeling your closet will help you quickly locate where things are kept in your closet for ease of getting ready, as well as ease of keeping things organized while putting them away. It may seem over-the-top to label in detail, yet it truly helps. A great example would be sweaters. We all have many different types of sweaters, yet when folded – they are difficult to distinguish which ones are, say, turtleneck sweaters, mock necked, V-neck, crew neck, etc. When labeled, you know exactly where they are.
Shoes & Handbags
Depending on the space in your closet, it is always nice to have your shoes and purses/handbags out on a shelf and accessible, based on the frequency of use. Shoes stored toe-to-heel allow more space, and stuffed handbags will help keep their shape. If your storage or closet does not have enough shelf space, clear plastic or acrylic storage boxes allow your items to be kept safe, dust-free, stacked to store more, and easily identifiable. You can also use the original store-bought boxes the items came in. If you are consciously thinking of resale in the future or just to reuse the box, a photo of the item is often helpful in this case.
Investing in specific hangers for your clothing is also a key element. It is, of course, lovely to streamline your hangers for the look of your closet, yet most importantly, select hangers that are the best support for your clothing. For example, heavy coats need thick, preferably wooden hangers. For lighter tops and blouses the thin velvet hangers keep your clothing shaped and create more hanging space. Use rubber or plastic hangers for athletic wear and men’s and children’s clothing for quick access. Try your best to edit out the dry-cleaner wire hangers, weak plastic hangers, or ones that are too large or too small for the item of clothing.
Jewelry is probably best and safest kept in velvet lined, sectional dividers in drawers. If your storage space does not allow for this, organizing your jewelry by category in little dishes, baskets, and boxes on a surface in your closet or bedroom is also very functional. You can also find vertical space to hang items on small hooks for easy access and to avoid tangles.
Do not keep your clothing in plastic dry-cleaner bags. You may think the dry-cleaner bags are keeping them dust free, yet you really should remove the bags immediately and allow them to air out the chemicals used BEFORE placing them in your closet. Then store your clothing in a fabric or half fabric/clear plastic garment bag if you feel the item needs protection from dust/light/snags etc. If it is a closed garment bag, you can always label it or even add a photo to the outside of the bag for identification.
It is always a good idea to do a sweep-through of your closet either seasonally or quarterly to maintain the function and organization of your clothes. Think of it in the same way as we schedule our dentist appointments or other household upkeep like window washing or furnace filter changing. This will allow a quick edit and tidy, not a dreaded big job every few years. It is helpful to have a basket or bag in your closet for any edits you see on a daily basis. Then when you do your seasonal or quarterly tidy – your basket of edits is ready to be whisked away for donation or consignment. If this is something you do not like to do yet value the importance, hire a Professional Organizer or make it a fun activity with a family member or friend!
If these tips don’t provide the motivation you need, or you just aren’t sure where to start, consider hiring Deirdre McKee, Interior Visionary + Personal Organizer (virtually or in-person), to assist you with editing your closet, providing ideas of what to do with edits, teach you how to structure the flow and function of your closet, and provide helpful tips, tools, and supplies to use to improve your closet!