There are two contributing factors at hand that leave me prone to a constantly messy closet. First, I have a very tiny closet and second, I have too much clothing for my own good.
My closet actually only holds select items: my shoes and boots, all button down tops, blazers, silky tops and scarves. There are two shelves at the top; the top shelf holds my bag collection and the second shelf is home to my hoodies and gym zip-ups. My sneakers stay in a basket by my front door since they’re my most often worn shoes and jackets are also by the front on our coat rack (which is a disaster zone this time of year!). In our bedroom I have a few dressers and some storage under the bed. One dresser holds all my gym clothes, pajamas, bras and socks, another holds my casual tops, tank tops, vests and cardigans and the other two hold my dressier tops, loungewear, leg warmers and belts. Under the bed I store my summer shoes (during the winter, while my winter shoes and boots are in the closet and around spring time I switch them out), leggings and sweaters. We also keep our summer items (bikinis, jean cutoffs, summer dresses, etc.) at my in-laws house during the winter and our bulky winter items there over the summer. Have I mentioned before that I have a full blown shopping addiction? I have a lot of stuff.
My closet is where my most worn items reside. I live in silky tops and button downs so I’m constantly rummaging through it. This past Spring I tried to organize it into sections where all my blazers were to the left, my button downs were in the middle and my tanks were on the right. My scarves take up a handful hangers (like these) and they’re kept all the way to the right, hidden behind the wall. This set up worked at first but eventually it started to bother me and I found that it looked really messy and disorganized. Plus, nothing was organized by length and since my shoes are on the bottom I found the longer pieces were hanging over them and sometimes getting stuck on the shoes and falling off the hangers. This is what my hanging items looked like:
As you can see, there’s no order to anything and clearly the space is severely overcrowded. Every time I thumbed through my clothes pieces would fall off and I had a hard time remembering where anything was. I planned out a few steps I wanted to take to make the overall look of my closet more appealing while also creating more space and making it easier to find various pieces. The result ended up looking like this:
It’s still pretty overcrowded but I actually did take out a lot. I literally took EVERYTHING out of my closet, threw it on my bed and got to organizing. Here’s what I did:
1. First, I separated everything into colored piles. I had a pile for Blacks, Whites, Greys, Nudes/Neutrals, Browns, Reds, Oranges/Peaches, Yellows, Mints/Greens/Olives, Blues/Navys. I knew I wanted to hang them from left to right going blacks to whites, then neutrals, then colors in a ROYGBIV pattern (I’m not OCD or anything..). My initial set up of organizing by design left the colors completely disordered which left a messy feel. Every organizing resource I’ve seen shows color coordination which is the most appealing to the eye and looks the neatest. I hung the pieces longest to shortest within their color coded sections.
2. The other thing I did was move certain pieces from my closet to another holding spot. There were a lot of pieces that didn’t absolutely have to hang. I had put them there initially to reduce wrinkling but having them stuffed into an overcrowded space actually made them just as wrinkled as they would have been if I crammed them in a drawer! I recently purchased THIS portable steamer and it is my LIFESAVER!! Seriously!! It is a gem to have if you travel a lot and fantastic if you live in a small space!! Basically, I took all the cotton tops and dresses out of my closet and neatly folded them and put them in drawers in my bedroom. When I’m ready to wear them all I have to do is steam out the fold lines! The pieces I left in the closet (aside from blazers and button downs) were only the really delicate pieces that are prone to ripping or are too silky to be steamed. This freed up a ton of space.
3. Another thing I noticed about perfectly organized closets are the hangers. In perfect closets, all the hangers are the same and they all face the same way. Yes, it was totally tedious but well worth it to rearrange every single hanger to face the same way. In an ideal world I would have these hangers, however, my husband comes home with free hangers every week when he picks up his dry cleaning and I just keep them. Yes, they’re metal but I have not noticed a “shoulder pinch” on anything yet. If something is too delicate for the metal hanger I just fold it over the base instead of hanging it by the shoulders. I can also steam out the pinch (I’m telling you, that steamer is the best $20 I’ve ever spent!). Having all the same hangers all facing the same way really makes a cleaner look.
4. I threw stuff out! Just like I can justify buying anything, I can also justify keeping anything. I really made a point to be honest with myself and chuck the items that were simply taking up space. I tried on pieces I haven’t worn in ages and asked myself “if I were in the fitting room of the store, would I buy this piece?” If the answer was no I threw it out.
5. I have a ridiculous shoe collection. Some of them hang on my over-the-door rack and it looked like it had been hit by a tornado. I used the same technique as I did with my clothes and organized those shoes by color from darkest to nude to color. The shoes at the bottom of my closet, on the stand up rack are my spiky stilettos, vibrant colored pumps and peep toes. On the floor are all my tall and over the knee boots along with some ankle booties (the rest of my ankle booties are on the door).
It took some time to organize but it was well worth it. I think the color coding is a HUGE help to maintaining this organization. When I get dressed I usually base my outfit on the color I’m in the mood for more so than the style so this closet look actually appeals to my style of getting dressed.
Do you live in a small space? Do you have more clothes and shoes than you know what to do with? How do you keep everything organized? I can use all the help I can get!!