Professional Organizer Andrea Shirey's 5 Tips To Control Your Closet

As a personal stylist for women in Seattle, you can imagine the amount of time I spend in various closets. I must admit, it's really inspiring. While I like to focus on the possibilities welling out of each thanks to the clothes inside, I recognize that a chaotic closet is no place to create extraordinary outfits. So, when I met Professional Organizer, Andrea Shirey, it was obvious that her tips and tricks for taking control of your closet would be helpful to all of us. After all, it's about time for a good spring clean.   


Professional Organizer Andrea Shirley's

5 Tips to Control Your Closet

When you first wake up in the morning, are you greeted by a beautifully organized closet or an overflowing disaster?  If you wake to see a jumble of clothes, some clean, some not, cascading out of the dresser, you are setting yourself up to instant stress.  By organizing your closet and taking control of your wardrobe, you are starting your day off on the right foot.

1. Convenient Hampers

I suggest having one or two hampers, without lids right next to wherever you undress.  Whether you undress in the bathroom or the bedroom, keep a hamper there.  If you have a hamper with a lid, you are decreasing the chance that you will actually use it.  People are inherently lazy and tend to lob the clothes near the hamper rather than lift the lid.  If you have a hamper in your child's room, absolutely no lid please!  If you aren't interested in separating your clothing by color or wash cycle, throw everything in one hamper.  No sorting needed, just wash on cold.  If you invest money into nicer clothes, I'd suggest taking more time to wash everything properly.  Have two hampers (again without lids) and you can sort darks and lights as you undress.  I'd also suggest having a small bag or bin to collect your hand-wash and delicates so you don't make any laundering mistakes.

2. Mind the Precious Real Estate

Most people do not have enough room in their closets.  So the precious space that is available must be kept for items that you can wear now.  Many people go up and down a size or two throughout the year.  The only thing allowed in your closet are items that you can wear now!  Out of season clothes should also be stored somewhere else.  The others should be packed in a bin with a lid that seals and stored elsewhere.  I think under the bed works well or in the basement or attic.  If you practice Fung Shui, under the bed is not advised.  You should be able to access your extra clothes relatively easily.

 It can be beautiful or basic. You choose.

3. Group Like Items

Going into a store is fun.  It's fun to see the neatly organized rows of clothing, sorted by color and size.  All of the jeans are folded the same way, the shirts are all hung neatly.  This can be replicated in your own closet.  Hang all of the blazers and cardigans together, next long-sleeve shirts together, next short-sleeves.  Dresses can be hung by length or formality.  Take some extra time and care when putting your clothes away.  Fold them nicely, make sure they are hung  with the seams parallel to the hanger.  Take a minute to put your camisoles in rainbow order.  It may seem frivolous, but opening a beautiful drawer can give you a morning thrill.

4. Accessory Storage

Do you forget what you have?  Sometimes you see a jumble of handbags in the dark, dusty corners of the closet, but don't take the time to really look at your inventory.  I suggest open baskets or bins to store purses and handbags.  Line them up by size or color - your choice.  If it's a very expensive bag, use tissue paper or a scarf to stuff it.  By keeping the bags in an open bin, you can quickly grab it to see what your options are, you can also toss a bag up there without too much work (remember the open hampers?).

I like using a basic hanger to hold my scarves.  They don't get wrinkled, they are easily accessible and I can see my inventory.  Knotting them or keeping them in a drawer means that I don't wear them often.

Jewelry is tougher.  I use a wooden wall hanger with pegs for my bracelets and necklaces and a little ceramic bowl for rings, earrings and watches.  I love the idea of using an antique muffin tin to corral everything.  Here's how Andrea Dekker has stored her jewelry!

5. Try the Hanger Trick

This is an oldy, but a goody.  Turn all of your hangers around so the opening is facing the closet entrance.  As you wear items and return them to the closet, turn your hangers around the traditional way.  After a few weeks, you'll see what items you wear regularly and which ones you really don't.  Consider the unused items.  Are they uncomfortable or out of style?  Is your body changing and they are no longer flattering?  Should they go into storage or in the donation bag?  Are they a specialty item that will be worn to a formal event?

The Pareto Principle states that we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time.  Make sure that your 20% are truly lovely pieces and consider letting some of the 80% go.

 Andrea with her family. I opted to include the silly photo. Editor's prerogative.

So there you go!  Five easy tips to keep your closet under control.  Imagine stepping into a beautifully organized closet, filled with closet that are in great shape and make you feel wonderful.  What a great way to start your day!  If you need more help with organizing your closets or any other part of your home, reach out.