I’m in Seattle, visiting my sister and her family. They live in a 108-year old farmhouse in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seattle, and there is very little closet or storage space. All the upstairs closets are under the eaves, which makes them particularly tricky to organize. To top it off, her closet is actually in my niece’s room, and my niece’s hanging clothes are in her brother’s room! Susan really wanted my help redoing her closet, so while my brother-in-law took my niece and nephew out-of-town, we tackled the closet clutter.
I reorganized her closet a couple of years ago, before Marie Kondo’s book made its way to the States. I hung dresses and scarves on the left; pants, skirts, and tops in the middle; and sweaters and jackets on the low bar to the right. She’s added many pieces to her wardrobe since then, but because of the awkward layout, it’s hard to put everything back where it belongs.
There are shelves at the end of the long rod, one above the window and a couple below. You have to hunch over to get to them.
Last time, I put her shoes on the shelves behind the clothes rod, but I didn’t want to do that again. Discarding everything before we put it back in the closet helped me figure out what to do with them.
You can see some shoes peeking out from behind the clothes; the shoes she really wears are in piles in front of her clothes.
She keeps her folded clothes in this chest and in the Elfa shelves in her bedroom.
We started by taking everything out of the closet.
See what I mean about this awkward space?
I explained the KonMari Method to her, and then we started going through the piles. She’s very analytical, so it took a few minutes for her to tune into her joy meter, but once she connected to her feelings about her clothes, she quickly decided what to keep and what to discard. These are the clothes and shoes she kept:
All of this went to the donation bin:
While Susan went through her dresser and Elfa shelves, I hung up all the clothes and put away the shoes.
I did the dresses first. I hung the maxi dress at the far left, then the long-sleeved, short-sleeved, and sleeveless dresses from dark to light (black, grey, brown, ROY G. BIV*, and white/cream.)
She has such pretty dresses!
I repeated the hanging order for the jackets and sweaters…
… and did the same for the tops. Our tastes are really similar, which is funny, because it wasn’t always that way. We both like soft, unstructured tops in vibrant prints; neutral pants, mostly black, denim, and white; colorful, patterned dresses; and winter clothes in solid colors. Neither of us wear skirts, although I do have a couple of maxis.
I hung pants and outer wear on the low bar. I decided not to put anything she wears regularly behind the clothes, so the only items on the shelves are her golf clothes, hats, and golf shoes. I like the boots and shoes where they are; I think it’s a good use of the space. Flip flops are in the straw basket on the floor.
In my opinion, the most important thing to do when organizing your wardrobe is to make sure everything is visible. Stacking, piling, and shoving clothing, shoes and accessories into tight spaces is what leads to the “problem” of having nothing to wear. When you can easily find something you truly love and are happy to wear, getting dressed in the morning is a breeze!
These are the scarves she decided to keep. I threaded them through the holes in the scarf hangers and hung them between her pants and coats.
Winter hats and gloves, a belt, and a few purses fit perfectly on the shelf above her clothes.
I love the way Susan’s closet looks now. When my brother-in-law saw it, he said, “It’s like she has a whole new wardrobe!” Her clothes look so pretty, and everything is accessible – I think it will be easy for her to put her clothes and shoes back where they belong. The only thing I need to do is switch all the hangers to these velvet suit hangers from Amazon:
I really enjoyed working with my sister to create this beautiful, functional space, and I hope she likes using her closet as much as I liked helping her put it together!
*ROY G. BIV is an acronym teachers use to help kids learn rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
For information about my closet organizing services, click here.