Oh, what a treat we have for you today! Do you look at this picture and feel pangs of love over the carefully organized rows and piles? Then do you look into your own closet and want to cry? I know I do! Well, turn that frown upside down. Because we have Jennifer Palais, personal organizer extraordinaire, here to share 10 tips to make your closet a space that brings not tears of sadness, but those of joy!
Jennifer believes that when you get rid of chaos, you make room for clarity. If you’re lucky enough to be able to work with her you’ll gain a unique blueprint for how to deal with your stuff and your life so you can function fluidly, live abundantly and create from a strong foundation. But she was kind enough to give us a crash course in the meantime. Here’s Jennifer…
Organize your closet, organize your life
It is almost springtime and that means we spring chicks need to think about weeding out the winter clothing in our closets to make room for the latest summer fashions (and last summer faves)!
This is a process some look forward to and some detest. For the fashion elimination detractors I offer you a new way of thinking about this old task. I find talking transformation makes this process less drag and more dauntless. Because having an organized closet is nothing short of transformational.
When you have a closet full of only what you heart (big category!), what make you money (power “suit”!) and what is useful (spanks anyone?) then you make getting dressed in the morning a snap. I call that transformative (ala Ally Sheedy’s makeover in Breakfast Club)! Actually – anything that nets me 15 more minutes in bed in the mornings I call transformative, but that is another story.
Here are the 10 steps to use to transform your closet into your own personal fashion mecca.
1. The interrogation – Assess item by item. If you have to ask, “Do I need this?” then you probably don’t. When you see something you heart you know it immediately. Trust yourself. Don’t try to talk yourself into keeping something just because Aunt Pattie gave it to you.
2. Key questions. The three killer questions to ask if you are having trouble deciding if this item goes in file 13 is:
Do I love it? (most important question)
Does it make me money? (hopefully you love it too)
Is it useful? (um…Spanks?!)
3. Moment of truth. If you are in the can’t-make-a-decision-to-save-my-life-club ask yourself: When did I last wear it? If president Clinton was still in office when you wore this then it is time to get rid of it. Otherwise…
4. The back burner – If you really can’t decide then place the item for a time in a specific part of your closet. It is the place where old clothes go to die so you have to put a reminder in your calendar for a month or two from now that tells you to go and pull the trigger on whether or not to keep the item. If you haven’t worn it in 6 months then it is time to go. For real. I mean it.
5. Human stained – I suggest you get rid of anything stained but if you are in heart with the garmet, place it in a pile with the other dry cleaning (preferably near the door so you remember to grab it on your way out to the car).
6. Holiness is next to…I suggest get rid of anything with holes or is damaged, but if you must fix it, then it goes in the dry cleaning pile for your tailor to bless.
7. Let go, let god – Let go of anything that doesn’t fit your body right now. I believe that you will lose 10 pounds, but I also believe that when that happens you won’t want to wear this garmet anymore. You are going to want to buy something hot and new! A forward thinking closet is much more conducive to weight loss than having if-I-only-looked-like-I-used-to-look clothes hanging around.
8. The big secret I will let you in on…If you wear clothing that fits you perfectly, (it isn’t pulling anywhere, you can move in it), and it is in perfect condition, (no holes, no stains) then you will have a certain polish even if what you are wearing is super casual. I think it is a French thing – you wouldn’t catch a French woman outside her home in any state of disrepair (at least the kind of French woman we are exposed to in the US!). We can’t be French but we can have a certain polish (even in yoga clothing).
I have touched on this but it never hurts to point out the obvious. Let go of anything that fall into the following categories:
- sweaters that are starting to ball
- faded clothes
- white shirts with yellowed underarms
- anything that pulls
- anything itchy
- anything too tight
- anything too big
9. Hang ups – It is truly transformative when you have all of the same hangers. I suggest these. They are no slip and will allow you to fit more in a small space.
10. Like with Like – Congratulations! I’m so excited – you are in the zone. You have only items that you heart or need. The final touch is to put like with like; which is the essence of all organization. That is tops with tops, pants with pants and so forth. It is like Sesame Street – which one of these doesn’t belong?
11. Color coding – Liar liar black pants on fire! I know I’m in trouble because I said 10 steps. But this 11th step is a bonus step (not essential but helpful if you can maintain it). The bonus step is about color-coding. Within each category in your closet hang items from the darkest to lightest i.e. skirts from darkest to lightest, tops, etc. This is so helpful because if you get all of your black pants together and you have 15 pairs then you can spend on something else you really need next time you shop. It can help you create outfits too.
The transformation you see will not only be in your closet, it will be in your schedule, your energy you’re your pocketbook. You’ll be able to get dressed in record time and with little angst (time and energy) and see the gaps in your wardrobe (money).
Saving money, time and energy is nothing short of transformative!
Jennifer Palais clears chaos and brings order to offices, business systems, schedules and minds and is known as an organizing expert and coach. Her approach is 10-years in the making: Inspirational, well informed and practical. It is a process filled with fun, joy and discovery. For more organizing tips, follow her on Twitter.