ATLANTA – Written by Mel
I love to shop for clothes! If I could win a shopping spree every season, I would be rocking the latest styles all the time.
I’m sure you would too but we all know that there is a limit to how many clothes you can buy at any given time whether it is due to your budget or your space.
As youth, we all wanted the latest fashion so that we could flex in front of our peer groups and make them look and feel bad when they weren’t sporting the latest trend. Well, as adults, we realize that fashion takes the backseat to bills and other critical needs. So, instead of buying trendy stuff and throwing it away or giving it away to charity every year, we make more sensible shopping decisions than we did as youth – at least some of us do.
That brings me to the point of this article and the point of these blog segments: developing your wardrobe. You are a grown man or woman and you have to make grown decisions and that involves being organized with your wardrobe so that you won’t go out and blow money on silly pieces that six months from now you will think “what the hell was I thinking?”
I had a friend that would buy the same thing just about every fall or spring and then get home and realize that she already purchased the piece in the past or some variation of the same piece. Talk about wasting money. Please don’t be this ridiculous.
Stop right where you are. Don’t buy one more clothing item — at least not yet.
Let’s start with getting that closet in order. Why am I telling you to do this? Because you need to know what you have and don’t have before you start shopping and you need to make way for the new by getting rid of what’s old and ‘never to be worn again in this lifetime by you.’
Clear your space.
This process may take a weekend so clear some time in your schedule to get this done. Empty your closet until it is as empty as it was when you first moved into your place. Remove all shoes and clothes. If dust and dirt have accumulated, then clean it. I’m not telling you this because I’m a neat freak. Dirt and small bugs can ruin your clothing so you want your closet to be as airy and clean as possible. Remember that previous statement I made about being a “grown man or woman?” Well, grown folks think long-term and you don’t want mold or bugs ruining your long-term fashion goals.
Make sure you have plenty of hangers.
Everything in your closet should have a home. Do not pile stuff on top of each other. You should have one hanger for each fashion item. Again, we are thinking long-term and if stuff is pilled together, that can ruin the chances of your pieces lasting a long time. Go out to the store and get some plastic hangers and incorporate some nice wooden and suede hangers into the mix too for your ‘finer’ items. I know some people who only buy fancy hangers, so if you don’t like the plastic ones, this is fine. Just make sure you have plenty of whichever hangers you like.
Carefully view and sort each item before you add them back to your closet.
This is a critical part of the wardrobe process. When looking at each piece ask yourself questions like: 1) will I ever wear this again, period; 2) will I ever wear this again if it does come back in style; 3) does this still fit; and most importantly 4) will I look like a damn fool if I wear this again in the future?
Think long and hard about each piece and assess its value as you ask yourself these questions. If it’s going back in the closet, then create a “back in the closet” pile. If it is tattered or soiled beyond repair then add it to the “trash” pile. If its in good shape and you feel guilty about trashing it, then add it to the “charity” pile.
Don’t hang anything in the closet just yet.
Now, take a look again at that “back in the closet pile.” Carefully inspect these pieces to see if you can literally put them back in the closet as is. If so, keep them in this pile. If not, create another pile or two or three. These can be the “these smell like the closet or other stank and needs to go to the cleaners pile” or “I need to make repairs to this so its going to the tailor pile” or “I just need to wash this because I haven’t in ages and I don’t want to itch or stank when I put it on pile.” You get the idea; classify the closet pile as you see fit.
I know you may be drowning in piles by now but trust me, once you do this, you will never have to do it again as long as you keep your closet in order.
Now, add pieces back to the closet.
OK. You can start to hang the “back in the closet pile” up. You can place your clothes where you want but here is what I suggest to make your future clothes buying easier and more fruitful.
- Decide on separate areas for your tops and bottoms. For example, if you have a walk-in closet with two sides then place tops opposite the bottoms. If you only have one long bar, then make one side of the bar for tops and the other side for bottoms. (If you own dresses, then place these in a separate area too)
- Observe the colors of your tops and bottoms. Group all items by color. All whites together, all blues together, all pinks together, all multi-colors together. If this is too tedious for you then skip this step, but I promise you that you will thank me later if you take the time to do this. This step will allow you to know what colors you need to add to your wardrobe easily in the future.
- Separate fall and spring pieces after you’ve color-coded. This makes it easier for you to quickly observe if you need to shop for new items seasonally. Notice I said fall and spring and not all four seasons. This is because fashion stores operate on two seasons not four. Either you have fall or spring clothes and fall clothes include fall and winter items and spring clothes include spring and summer items.
Add your shoes back to your closet.
I tend to keep the boxes for my shoes. It may be because I like my closet to feel like my own department store. If you do this too then, just add your shoes back to the closet separating them by designer. If you don’t keep the boxes, then I would suggest that you line your shoes up neatly; or, better still, obtain shoe storage accessories. Also, check to see if your shoes need repair before putting them in the closet. If they do, then create a “needs to go to the shoe cobbler” pile. If you don’t want them anymore, either throw them away or give them away.
Get rid of what you don’t need and repair things that need repairing.
After your closet is finished, turn to remaining piles and eliminate them one at a time. Put raggedy stuff in the trash bag to throw away. Put other stuff that you don’t want in a trash bag to take to the Goodwill or other charitable place. Pile your clothing that needs to go to the cleaners into the car. Also, pile your shoes that need to go to the cobbler into the car, too.
Organizing your closet will help you make better shopping decisions and it just may even help you have more productive mornings getting ready for work. I just want to throw in a few more things that you should do to keep a nice, organized closet.
- Get a closet dehumidifier to keep the moisture out of your closet and keep your clothing from getting ruined.
- Obtain zippered garment bags to protect your fur, leather or suede pieces in when not in use for the season. Let these pieces ‘breathe’ at least once a year by taking them out. You can also use these garment bags for other quality pieces that you want to protect.
- Another helpful tip is to iron your clothing and hang it. This isn’t a necessary step but if you hate ironing or you don’t like rushing for work, doing this now makes getting ready easier in the future.
Now you may resume shopping.
Keep a mental note of the things you need and want and get back out there and start shopping!
I hope that this article has been helpful. Share some of your closet organization tips below.
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