I am organizationally challenged. And yet, I organize other people’s closets on a very regular basis, and have been doing so for years. I have organized every single type of closet, from shoebox-size apartment closets to master closets the size of my first apartment. And no matter how little, or how much, space a woman has, the same problems crop up, almost every single time. Here are the tools I use to solve them.
The Perfect Hanger
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The right hanger can change your life! For almost every use and every item, I recommend the popular flat, velvet hangers that are now available everywhere. Look for great deals on boxes of 50 at places like Ross, Marshall’s or Bed Bath & Beyond, or order a bunch online. Choose one color for your entire closet, even if you share it with your husband, for simplification. The end result will look so much more elegant and streamlined – like a boutique. It’s worth paying a little bit more for these, as the cheapest ones tend to break.
So why flat velvet hangers? The flat design buys you some extra space in your closet, while the soft, velvety surface clings to clothes to prevent slippage and to protect your more delicate items.
There are only two types of items that I don’t hang on velvet hangers:
Coats, leather items, suits and heavy knits can sometimes weigh too much for these slim hangers, causing them to bend or break. Hang these items on sturdy wooden hangers, or the metal hangers covered with foam.
Even though you can find velvet hangers with clips, I feel like it’s gentler and neater to hang my skirts on wooden clamp hangers.
2. A Valet Rod
If you have the space, consider installing an outfit hook or a valet rod in your closet. This makes it easy when putting clothes away, outfit planning for the next day (or week) and for hanging items you want to remember to wear soon. Don’t use it as a place for hanging today’s bra or outfits you don’t want to put away. Not that I would ever do that.
3. The Closet Color Coder
As you may know, I’ve a stylist with The Stylist Online, the company behind the Style Dial body type system. As a team of busy stylists, we are all searching for ways to help our clients stay organized. When I do a closet overhaul, I organize items, within a certain category, by sleeve length, and then, within each category, by the colors of the rainbow, ROYGBIV, with white and cream on one side, brown, gray and black on the other. Here’s a tool that we give our clients to help them keep their closet color-coded.
4. Drawer and shelf dividers
It’s not glamorous, but a simple spring loaded plastic drawer divider can be all the organization you need to keep drawers orderly. Use these to separate smaller items, like bras and underwear, or to separate tees from tanks. Shelf dividers can keep stacks of sweaters and handbags upright.
5. Accessories Storage
I could write a book about this, and probably will someday, but here are a few basic pointers for storing bags, shoes and jewelry. When assessing your closet, make use of any space you have, whether that’s a high shelf, on the floor, or over the door. If you have a single handbag, or two, feel free to skip this section, but if, like many of us, you consider yourself something of a collector, you’ll want to find a way to keep them all organized. If you’re using the floor space in your closet to corral handbags, then straw or fabric baskets or bins work well, but on a shelf, clear containers work best because you can see what’s inside. If you have wall space, consider adding hooks for your most frequently used bags, but make sure the hooks are soft and not too sharp, so they don’t damage delicate straps.
Get creative with jewelry organization. I have little wall space in my closet, but I am having custom padded boards (made by my husband) for the wooden strip at the end of my closet system to hang my jewelry. Jewelry can also be kept on hooks, in egg cartons or ice cube trays, or on pretty trays.
I once saw a magazine story about a buyer who had repurposed an antique armoire into shoe storage. If your closet doesn’t have built in shoe storage, consider wall shelves (so your shoes can double as art!), crown molding (for hanging heels), over the door shoe storage, clear plastic shoe boxes, and floor organizers that lift shoes up and at an angle are all good options.
5. The StyleBook App
As a stylist, I have tested and tried many closet organization apps, but none comes even close to StyleBook. It is by far the easiest to use, has the best features, and is the most elegant. It is not an understatement to say it will change your life. (And, it enables me to have access to your closet so that I can do Virtual Closet Overhauls and create outfits for your own personal lookbook!) It’s $3.99, and only works on Apple devices (I have an Android phone, but I like StyleBook so much I use it on my kids’ IPADs), but it is one of the best investment you can make in your closet!
Still feeling overwhelmed by a messy, dysfunctional closet? Read on for 3 quick actions you can take today to get your closet under control.
Conquer Closet Clutter Quickly in 3 Steps
And then carve out an evening to dive in! I just read that 1 minute spent organizing saves 1 hour later. If you start tonight, you’ll wake up more organized tomorrow!