Last time I went home, I was able to stay for an entire week which gave me the opportunity to work on some projects with my family. One of these projects was purging and re-organizing my sister Jackie's closet. Jackie was feeling like she had a closet full of nothing to wear, a sentiment I think that most women can certainly relate to from time to time. So, we invited our other sister (Valerie!) over for her styling input and tie breaker vote, queued up The Mighty Ducks and Cool Runnings on Netflix and got to work.
When starting any organization project, the first thing that I like to do is clear out the space completely. Take everything out and clean the space in order to get a nice, fresh start. As we removed items from the closet, we sorted them into four different piles: keep, donate, mend and "maybe." The "maybe" pile got a second go-through after all of the "keeps" were put away. I usually any "maybe" items that are kept with some sort of tag, and if they aren't worn or used within six months they get donated. I have always been pretty brutal about getting rid of things, and I can only think of one thing that I wish I would have kept (a pair of skinny olive green cargo pants that I purchased in college!), so it's usually safe to get rid of things that end up in the "maybe" pile. Bonus points if you skip the "maybe" pile entirely!
We were able to condense Jackie's wardrobe quite a bit, keeping only items that she really loved and had worn in the last six months along with items that she loved but wasn't sure how to wear. Valerie and I offered up our styling input and helped Jackie compile a list of items that she actually needed so that she could channel her future shopping energies in a productive way.
When it comes to putting things back into the closet, I organize clothing first by type, then by color, then by length. So, clothing gets sorted by type: dresses, tops, shorts, skirts, pants and jackets. Then I organize each of those types by color, then within each color, I organize length: dresses short to long, tops shortest sleeve to longest sleeve, etc.
When it comes to organizing clothing and accessories, I like to keep things out in the open and as visible as possible. You are far more likely to wear and use things when you can actually see them! For items that need to be stored in boxes out of storage necessity, it helps to add a photo of the item to the box so that you can easily see the contents. For a few pairs of Jackie's shoes, I took photos of the shoes using my cell phone, emailed them to her, and we were able to print out the photos immediately.
Jackie has reported that her closet is much more functional, and she was searching for a couple of the items on the list that we compiled for her last time she came down here to visit!
What are your favorite closet organization tips? Do you organize by color or by type?