Today is a guest post by one of my good friends, Emily. She runs (in addition to her other full-time job and general awesomeness) a professional organizing service called “Breathing Room.” (You can learn more about her and book her services by going here.)
With it FINALLY starting to feel like fall down south, I asked her to write a post on the 10 ways we could all do a makeover for our closet. Check out her awesomeness below!
One of my favorite things about fall is the shift that we experience as the seasons start to change. While our climates are cooling (unless you live in the deep south as I do presently), our foliage is trying out new colors, and Starbucks starts promoting all things pumpkin and spice, we also get to partake in a new seasonal opportunity as well: overhauling our spring and summer closet space to prepare for fall and winter.
Now, hear me out: this does not have to be a tiresome/bothersome/burdensome chore to undertake as you slump into your closet and proceed to cry in front of the overstuffed hangers before you. If you don’t believe me yet, let’s just make a pinky promise to trust me for now, and then get started.
First, set aside about 15 minutes.
Go get yourself a cup of some tasty treat or beverage (no judgments here), and sit down in a space that you enjoy in your home. So far so good, right?
Next, either with the help of some smart object, a paper calendar, or your Beautiful Mind-capable brain, quickly scan through the next few weeks/months of your life. As you do this, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What will my daily routine look like for the most part?
- Quality time with friends and family
- Eating cookie dough and streaming Netflix time, etc.
2. What special occasions do I have coming up that may require wardrobe items that I wouldn’t normally have readily available?
- Upcoming ski trip
- Formal event, etc.
3. How do I want to represent myself in this coming season?
- A change of seasons can be an opportunity to try out a new look
- Start a new mental/physical/emotional health regimen, etc.
Second, go survey your current space options.
Some of us have multiple drawers and dressers, while others rely fully on hanging items, and others choose to select items from various piles around their homes.
[If you’re one of the latter, I would highly suggest assessing our first question to also include bettering your daily routine if certain aspects of it are causing you undue stress, such as doing a sniff-test through piles before determining which items pass your test for wear on a particular day. Those around you will appreciate it, and I also pinky promise that saving yourself from a morning ritual such as this one will better your overall approach to the day. Promise.]
Okay, now, as you survey your spaces:
1. Is this setup/layout really working for me?
2. Does this space make me feel calm and collected/inspired/other positive attributes when I look at it?
If you can’t ever remember where something is, if you have to walk back and forth from multiple spaces to get dressed in the morning, or if simply looking through your closet and drawers overwhelms or stresses you in any way, then this might be a good time to reconsider where you choose to store and showcase certain items.
Third, get ready to pull!
Okay, now that you’ve set your priorities and plan for the seasons and have evaluated your space options, it is now time to start pulling. You might need to take a day to mentally prepare yourself for this if your “Look, shiny things!” personality is often stronger than your “buckle down and push through it” mentality. However, once you’re ready, make sure that you have some clear floor space available and start pulling. Pull out the items that are distinctly spring or summer, or pull out everything if you want; tidying guru Marie Kondo votes for this approach over a slower tidying method, so give it a try if the mood sparks you. Either way, physically remove everything that you absolutely will not wear during these upcoming seasons from your storage spaces.
As you do this, ask yourself:
1. Do I have any items in here that I haven’t worn in a long time and will honestly never wear again?
2. Do I have any pieces that need repair, dry cleaning, or special storage to preserve them during the next few months?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then adopt the tried-and-true multiple pile approach.
I like to advise folks to make three or four piles:
(2) sell, donate, or repurpose in some other way
(3) repair/special care
(4) I have no idea what to do with these items right now
These piles should also include jewelry, handbags, accessories, and shoes.
Okay, now–go ahead and take action on piles #2 and #3.
Bag up donation, sale, or repair/special items and put them in the back of your car, or set them beside your front door so that you can grab them on the way to the bus/train tomorrow and get them to their intended locations.
Then, move pile #1 over a bit and shove pile #4 into a corner JUST FOR NOW. DO NOT KEEP THAT PILE THERE FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS. We’ll get to it later, I promise.
Fourth, get those fall items out of storage!
You’ve guessed it–go find all of your fall and winter items and pull them all out as well.
Repeat the two questions under Step 3.
Then go through questions #1 through #3 under Step 1.
Next, remember what you thought about the two questions under Step 2.
(NOTE: You are allowed to take a bathroom/beverage/treat break during this part of the process–don’t get overwhelmed if you can help it!)
After this, (we’re almost done!), start arranging your new season’s wardrobe accordingly. Make things easy to see. Make them have at least a semblance of order that makes sense to you (i.e. all of your dresses are in the same place, and your outerwear items are within an easy grabbing/coordinating distance from each other).
Overall, make sure to highlight and use items that give you good feelings. You’ve thought long and hard about your lifestyle and routine, how you want to represent yourself, and have taken the effort to select a wardrobe that fits and exemplifies you.
Get it, Sister/Brother! Congratulations on getting yourself ready for the caramel apple latte’ and hot chocolate seasons, and for allowing yourself to trust the pinky promise of a stranger!
Remember that pile in the corner that I told you not to leave for several months? Well now it is time to tackle it!
Fifth, look through the pile that you don’t know what to do with and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I sure that I don’t want sell/donate/repurpose any of this stuff?
2. Seriously–if my immediate impulse wasn’t to keep this, then am I likely to ever wear it again?
Pull out the items that scream “Please don’t hold onto me for another 6 months/year/5 years when someone else could be wearing/using me!” and add them to your to-go bags.
IF there happen to be a few stragglers that you’re really not sure about, place them in a small bag somewhere in your closet; peek back into that bag a few weeks/months later and act accordingly if your opinions are more solidified.
And finally, ask yourself:
Is there anything better than listening to Harrison Ford recite his favorite lines from the phone book?
Or whatever else you want to think about, because hey, all of the free time that you’ve saved yourself over the next few months can now be spent on important ponderings such as this, right?