I met Dawn through my friend and client, Holly. She lives with her husband and two daughters in a cute bungalow in one of Houston’s oldest neighborhoods. Many houses like hers don’t have a lot of closet space, but she and her husband did some remodeling, including updating the master bedroom with his-and-hers walk-in closets, so she’s blessed with a generous-sized walk-in closet.
Dawn has all of her clothes, shoes, and accessories in her closet. Her clothes were grouped together by category, but they weren’t well-organized, making it hard for her to see what she had, and her purses, scarves, and hats were barely visible in bins on the top shelves. It was also hard to see the shoes in the corners. Like many women with cluttered closets, Dawn resorted to wearing the same things over and over, keeping them near the front so she didn’t have to search for anything.
We took all of her clothes out and piled them on her bed, saving shoes and accessories for later. The process I use with all of my clients is simple: pick up each item and see if it brings you joy. If it does, keep it; if it doesn’t, it goes into the donation pile (if it’s in good condition) or the throw away pile. I use this approach because it sets a high bar for deciding what to keep – if you don’t love it and might not wear it, why hang it back up in your closet? When the goal is to create a closet full of clothes you are excited about wearing, it makes it easier to discard things, even if they still have tags, are a size or two smaller than what you’re wearing now, or if someone gave it to you for your birthday.
Dawn’s challenge was more about defining and embracing her style and less about paring down her wardrobe. We set a lot of pieces aside for her to try on later. I like to do that instead of stopping every few minutes so we don’t interrupt the flow.
The maybe pile (first picture,) the donate/consign pile (second picture,) and the it’s-time-for-Kelly-to-hang-everything-up pile (third picture.)
Before I hung up the clothes, we went through her shoes. She got rid of a lot that weren’t in good condition.
Dawn already had slim, flocked hangers, which meant I didn’t have to switch them out (yea!) She needed skirt hangers, so she went to Wal-Mart while I started putting everything back in the closet. I kept most of the clothes in the same places but made one big change: I hung them left to right facing the door. I used Marie Kondo’s hanging order: long-sleeve jackets, sweaters, and blouses on the left progressing to short-sleeve and sleeveless tops on the right. The dresses are also in that order; skirts and pants/jeans hang from dark to light colors. Within each category, the colors go from dark to light: black, grey, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, off-white, white.
Now that she has a beautiful, functional closest, Dawn will enjoy getting dressed in the morning. That makes me happy, but I think the most important thing we did was talk about the clothes when she tried on the “maybes.” Dawn has beautiful dresses, pants, skirts, and tops that look fabulous on her. She just needed a little help seeing that. She also wasn’t sure what to wear with some of her pants and skirts and how to style dresses and tops for work and for lunch with friends or date night with her husband. We identified some gaps in her wardrobe, which can be filled in with minimal shopping. Dawn’s closet is now a boutique filled with clothes, shoes, and accessories chosen just for her!
Dawn was so inspired by her closet transformation, that she bought a flower arrangement for the dresser and sent me these pictures!
She also took everything out of her laundry room and reorganized it!
Working with Kelly was a fun and very rewarding experience that was not the least bit intimidating. My wardrobe needs to span my kids’ school events, work events and social events. I have lots of fun clothes but was stuck in a rut of wearing the same thing over and over and wasn’t completely sure how I could go from the classroom to the boardroom with what I owned. Kelly helped me pare down my wardrobe and say goodbye to clothes that were too old or not the perfect fit. Kelly also suggested some key pieces I should purchase to round out my wardrobe. It was tailored to my life, my body type and my price range. After we emptied my closet, talked about my clothes and tried on lots of things, Kelly carefully organized what was left and hung everything back up. Now my closet is a calm, organized and fun space. I find myself walking into my closet multiple times a day and enjoy getting dressed. I’ve received compliments on my outfits every day since we worked together and I’m wearing things I already own! It even inspired me to organize other spaces in my house. ~ Dawn