How to Organize your Closet

Okay, let's face it. That run down button-down shirt with the "small" stain and the button missing at the bottom, has got to go! Oh, and just because it was your favorite pair of overalls in the 9th grade doesn't mean you have to hold onto it. Take a photo of it and stick it in your scrapbook to save some space. That way you still keep the memory of it, but it won't continue to clutter your closet.

I know it can be difficult. Back in the day, I was the top hoarder of all my friends. I kept old graded school papers, clothing, shoes, three-year-old receipts, old makeup, Christmas cards, you name it. I had shoeboxes full of junk and the only time I purged was when I moved. Thankfully I have moved often. I can't imagine how much clutter might be hiding in my closets and storage areas had I not.

My point is, you're not alone. So what's next? Let me share some tips that I've curated along the way that have helped me clear out my closet and keep me on track.

1. Get rid of old stuff.

If you haven't worn it in three consecutive Fall, Summer, Spring, or Winter seasons, and it's not your wedding dress, you don't need it. We must make room for something new and fabulous! Just like letting go of bad thoughts and toxic people, we must get rid of the things we aren't using to make room for better things we actually like.

Make three piles: Donate, Trash, and Keep. My favorite pile is always the donate pile because I literally hate throwing away perfectly good clothes just because I can't fit them or I've out worn it. I like the thought that it may travel to a new home and someone else can make better use of it. After you've gotten rid of the donate and trash piles, you're now left with a lot more space.

2. Store out of season garments.

If it's summer, put your winter clothes away in plastic bins to save space. I do this twice a year right before winter and summer. If you live in a really warm or cold region, see if you can do this with your extra light and heavy outwear.

3.  Organize it.

I like to fold my pants, shorts, and t-shirts and hang my dressier shirts, sweaters, and dresses. I typically move from left to right: Outerwear, Blazers and cardigans, long-sleeve button-downs, quarter length sleeves, short sleeves (dressy to casual), and lastly dresses and skirts. I typically hang my outerwear and dresses in areas of the closet that have more vertical space.

Some people like to organize by color or short sleeve to long sleeve. I've done both and they all work, it just depends on what's appealing to your eye and will shorten the time it takes to get ready for your day. 

If you need to, take a trip to your local Target, Homegoods, Marshalls, Ross, IKEA, or furniture store to get sturdy storage furniture. I prefer cubicle-style bookcases, traditional bookcases are currently popular for shoes, and self-installed shelving. I typically use my larger suitcases to store out of season clothing and shoes. When it's time to travel, I just dump it out into bags. A neater way to store would be to get those big heavy duty plastic bins. They come in handy, especially if you're storing in an area that might get damp.

4. Shop smart.

This is the fun part. Now you've got enough space to get garments you will actually wear. Now here's a few simple ground rules to help keep your closet clutter-free.

1. Access your closet and take a mental note of the pieces you still need to complete your wardrobe. You can write a list or use an app that stores your closet pieces to keep you on track.

2. Shop for your current size. If you have an ideal size you'd like to be, get there first before shopping. If you need motivation, buy one inexpensive item you can use to gauge how close you are to your goals. But please don't buy a closet full of clothing four times too small in hopes that it will motivate you. If there is no way to safely reach that size in three months, leave it on the rack until you're ready. 

3. Only buy things you will wear within two weeks. No more buying things for that special occasion that never comes.

4. Don't buy it just because it's on sale, buy it because you absolutely love it--sale or no sale. Always try it on in the dressing room. That will more than likely be the deciding factor. Look at it from all angles and imagine or view the other pieces in your wardrobe you can pair it with on your app. Don't worry if you can't make up your mind. Leave it there for a day or two and If you still love it, take it home. 

5. Buy quality over quantity.

I know. If you're anything like me, it can be difficult to spend anything more than $20 on a pair of jeans. Instead of thinking solely about pricing, think about durability. Can this item last three winters or more? In the long run, buying quality things save you money becuase you wont have to keep replacing cheaply made things.

Disclaimer. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it isn't worth buying and expensive doesn't automatically make it quality. If you are finding a hard time telling the difference, spend a few shopping trips browsing, touching, and studying stitching of items in Barneys or Bloomingdales. Huge difference in quality from lower end stores, trust me.  If you're like me and still building your wardrobe, focus on staple pieces that will pull together any basic outfit. My current rule of thumb is to buy quality staple items and spend less on trendier pieces. 

To build my wardrobe I've been going to stores that sell higher end quality items at a discounted price. Some of my favorite stores are DSW, Marshall's, and Nordstrom Rack. TopShop and Zara are my favorite stores to frequent when I want on-trend pieces that will hold up over time.

I recently paid a visit to Nordstrom to check out some limited edition Optical lens from Warby Parker and made a day of shopping out of it. If you'd like, check out my video to get some shopping ideas for college or the end of summer.

Do you have any tips for organizing your closet or shopping for quality pieces online of in stores? please share. I love new ideas and tactics!