My friend, Kelle, asked me to help her declutter and organize her closet. Kelle is a wife, mom to two boys, and owner of Crafty Kelle, a party planning and design business. She has a large walk-in closet that she shares with her husband, Chris, and she wanted to go through her wardrobe, get rid of outdated clothes, and change the look of her side to make it more feminine. Kelle’s closet is already organized, with dedicated places for tops, pants, shoes, and dresses. She has lingerie, workout clothes, t-shirts, and shorts in the drawers; there is plenty of room in this closet for her wardrobe.
We started by removing everything from the hanging rods and piling it on her bed.
Using Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method, Kelle picked up each item, asking herself if it sparked joy. This is different from traditional decluttering methods because Kelle had to decide what to keep in her closet, which is a higher bar than deciding what to discard. Like most of my clients, Kelle had questions about what to do with items that weren’t clear joy-sparkers:
- What do I do with something I don’t wear but has sentimental value?
- What do I do with this top/dress/skirt that I love but no longer fits?
- What do I do with something I haven’t worn that still has tags on it?
Clothes should fit well, look great on you, and make you happy. A dress with sentimental value (like the red dress with matching shoes and purse Kelle’s future husband gave her ten years ago) might make you happy, but if it doesn’t fit and/or it’s outdated, it’s taking up space in your closet that should be reserved for current items.
When you pick up an item you love that’s too small, it’s tempting to keep it in case you can wear it again. Resist the urge! If you lose weight and can wear that size again, you’ll probably want to buy something new, not wear something you bought five years ago. Clothes that don’t fit take up valuable closet and mental space – every time you see the jeans that are too small, you’ll feel a twinge of regret, taking away from the joy you should feel when you look at your wardrobe.
One of the hardest things to discard when cleaning out your closet is clothes that still have tags on them – the dress you bought to wear to a wedding, but you ended up wearing something else; the top you loved in the store, but you couldn’t find anything in your closet to wear with it; the shirts that were on sale, so you bought them in several colors – it seems like a waste of money to get rid of them, but keeping them out of guilt isn’t good either!
It’s hard to let go of things we think we should keep, but if we consider whether something truly sparks joy, it’s easier to decide if it deserves a place in our wardrobes. When you have a hard time letting go of something, Marie Kondo recommends thanking it for its service and releasing it to a new owner who will use and cherish it. After working through each item in her closet, Kelle had a pile of clothes to keep (on the bed) and a pile of clothes to donate (foreground):
Then we put everything back in her closet in neatly organized sections:
I followed Marie Kondo’s recommendations for hanging clothes:
- hang heavier fabrics on the left, lighter on the right
- hang clothes from longest to shortest
- hang clothes from dark to light colors (black, grey, and brown clothes on the left, then rainbow (ROY G. BIV*) order, then off-white and white)
- clothes should rise up in length from left to right, which is pleasing to the eye
After Kelle and I sorted through everything and hung it up, we noticed a few trends. First, she likes soft, unstructured tops in black, navy blue, and white/cream with touches of pink, coral, green, and lavender. She doesn’t have a lot of clothes in heavy fabrics; light-weight fabrics under a coat or jacket is fine for Houston in the winter. Second, she wears pants, mostly jeans, but not skirts. And third, she likes maxi dresses and short dresses in the same color palette as her tops. She also tried on a bunch of shorts (not pictured) and discovered that all the ones she loved are from White House Black Market. Cleaning out her closet clarified her style and preferences, which will make it easier when we go shopping to fill in gaps in her wardrobe.
We’ve spent about three hours on the project so far; we still need to go through her jewelry, remove everything that doesn’t belong in the closet, and fancy up the space a little bit. I can’t wait for the next step!
*ROY G. BIV is an acronym teachers use to help kids learn the colors in a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
To be continued…
For information about my closet organizing services, click here.