Reorganize your closet and rediscover your clothes
I’m not a professional organizer, but I do this for friends all the time so I thought it would be nice to share the process on my blog. It’s time-consuming, so set aside a few hours to get through everything. Once you’re done I promise you’ll be happy you did it! If you don’t want the TLDR version, skip to the end where it's broken down in point form.
- Start by focusing on the 10 -15 items you wear all the time, regardless of the season. Your best button down shirt, your favourite pair of jeans, the flats you can’t live without and put them in a pile.
- Next, start pulling the pieces that you never wear. Whether it’s an asymmetrical top that you can't seem to pair anything with or a dress that doesn't fit anymore, take all those clothes out and put them in the new pile.
- What you’re left with should be the clothes you wear semi-regularly, depending on the season, type of event, or mood that you’re in. Whether it’s your favourite chunky knit that you live in all winter, the sandals that you wear on every summer holiday or the jacket you use for layering all spring long. They don’t fall into the “comfort blanket” category of the first pile or the “what was I thinking” category of the second, so they live somewhere in between.
- Now that you’ve created 3 sections, it’s time to choose 5 words that describe your personal style. This can be tricky, but it's worth the initial frustration because not only will these words help curate your current wardrobe, you can go back to them when you're shopping to make sure you're staying true to yourself. Once you have your words, it's time to go through your piles and make sure that all of your clothes check at least 4 out of 5 descriptors. You need to be flexible, of course. One of my words is eclectic, but that doesn't mean I'm going to get rid of my favourite little black dress. Be honest with yourself and go through the piles one at a time, making a new pile with the clothes that don't match your style. A lot of people say they should match all 5, but I like the wiggle room for this reason.
- Start with the first section, then make your way back to the last. As you go through each, be honest with yourself about the clothes that don’t align with your style personality. Did you buy something on vacation and never wear it? Have you evolved because of a life change, or just with the passing of time? Are you holding onto clothes that don't fit you anymore? It’s hard to go through this process and be truthful because it can feel like you’ve wasted money or let yourself down in other ways. What’s important is that you learn from the process and let go of what's making you feel guilty. Try to observe habits. Maybe everything you are pulling out is low waisted, or polka-dot. Maybe being the size you were pre-baby/your new job/your 30’s is never going to happen and it's time to accept that. This is the beginning of a new chapter and your five words are meant to inspire you and guide you through the change.
It’s time to make a new pile with all the clothes that don’t hit the mark - say goodbye because everything in that pile is starting over somewhere else. Depending on where you live, there are a lot of different ways to make sure your old pieces get a good second life. I suggest you look up upcycling, clothing swaps, consignment stores and local charities in your area to find what works for you.
The moment has arrived to take what you have left and put it back into your new and improved closet! My advice is to organize things differently than before, even if just for a trial period. There are probably 5 or 6 ways to organize a closet, but in my opinion, the only two that matter are category and colour.
Whichever option you choose, the first step is to sort your clothes into categories.
Jackets / Blazers
Tank Tops | T-shirts | Long Sleeve | Blouses | Shirts | Knits
Shorts | Skirts | Jeans | Trousers
Dresses / Formal | Activewear | Pyjamas | Undergarments (In my closet, these items take up the least amount of space. Maybe you work at a gym and own mostly activewear or you're an event coordinator and have a lot of formal dresses. If that's the case, you can always adjust accordingly.)
If you don’t want to colour coordinate, you can put all your clothes away according to the category alone. I have all my tops on one rack, with the outermost layers on the left (jackets/blazers) working its way to the smallest layer (tank tops) on the right. I'm always layering, so this method makes getting dressed easy. I start at one end make my way down, picking up layers along the way. Think about what makes sense for you and organize according to that, but remember that if you try something and it doesn't work you can easily switch up the order in a few weeks.
If you’ve decided to take on colour coordinating, once your items are all sorted by category it’s time to arrange everything by colour. The rainbow method is my preferred way, because it creates a lot of contrast between the clothes, allowing each piece to stand out. The standard order is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (roy-g-biv), you can put whites, blacks and greys on either end (or anywhere that makes you happy). If you have a lot of prints, you can group those together or you can slot them in with their dominant colour.
Keeping your closet organized will save you time and money because you’ll be able to find everything easily and you won’t forget about things you already own. I hope my tips helped - and I would love to see before and after photos!
TLDR Version 😉
- Go through your wardrobe and make 3 piles.
- Clothes you wear on a weekly basis
- Clothes you never wear
- Everything that’s in between.
- Choose 5 words that reflect your personal style. It can be tricky, but it’s very helpful to put what you want your personal style to reflect into words. Once you have them, everything in your closet needs to represent at least 4 out of 5 of those descriptors.
- Start with the first pile and go through every article of clothing to make sure it’s a true reflection of who you are. Whatever doesn’t match the words you chose gets put into a new pile, which is for donation, upcycling, trade or sale.
- Now that everything you’re keeping is a true representation of who you are, it’s time to put everything back. Separate your clothes into categories. Tops, bottoms, dresses, activewear, jackets and place them back in your closet in a way that makes sense for your space and lifestyle.
- If you want to take it a step further, you can now arrange them by ROY-G-BIV red, orange, green, blue, indigo, violet. Organizing them by colour creates an even stronger contrast and really helps you see your clothes with a new set of eyes. The whites, blacks and greys can go on either end.