Closet Organization Project

Moving across the country creates a lot of stress in a person’s life. Especially when it takes three months, during which you ship a storage unit with most of your earthly possessions but then proceed to live out of your car and friends’ houses. Oh, and you go on cool adventures like a trip to Mexico and two weeks in Argentina. As a person who thrives off organization and planning, this whole process was potentially a nightmare for me. But I was committed to change and knew that, with the exception of a few minor meltdowns (sorry, Mom!), I would get through it. It was my choice anyway, right? So after moving into my new apartment in Wake Forest, how did I begin the gigantic task of unpacking all my stuff?

Pause. I linked six different posts in that last paragraph, go read at least one and then come back to me (Please?).

I started small. I chose an enclosed space with a specific function. My closet! I’ll be the first to admit that I have way, WAY too many clothes. I also have many gaps in my current wardrobe (read: long-sleeve anything, black heels, work clothes of really any kind, rain boots, etc). So I figured the best way to tackle this wardrobe conflict was the first unpack and organize everything I currently have. Then I will need to go through and access my items, donate a bunch, and make a shopping list to prepare for a getting a job. Sigh. Let me start with a picture of my master bedroom closet, before I added anything.

IMG_0193Sorry that isn’t a better picture, but I was a little excited on move-in day and didn’t bother to get my camera out. But as you can see, it’s a standard walk-in closet. I should’ve taken a “during” picture because the space got a lot worse before it got better. I started by dumping a pile of shoes in the middle. Why? Because most of my shoe collection had been individually stuffed into my storage unit to fill in the holes. The movers were cracking up at my packing strategy and one even asked what I had been drinking when I was filling the unit. I was just being efficient… Don’t judge. Anyway, I had purchased two shoe organizers (with a BOGO coupon!) so I attacked my shoes first.

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You’ll see that I was able to get both shoes for my pairs of flats and smaller sneakers into one cubby. On the right, I have my bigger running shoes separated into two cubby holes. This means that in the combined 30 slots, I have 26 pairs of shoes (including my current running shoes that are missing from the picture). The great thing about these organizers is that they are low enough to the floor that they fit beneath my hanging clothes, no problem. I toyed with the idea of stacking the two units but decided that I had more available floor space than height. Because of that decision, I could put my boots right on top with no problem. Bonus!

Those of you more familiar with me will notice the glaring lack of flip-flops in this photo. Well… they didn’t fit. And neither did my heels. I told you I have too many clothes! I had another adjustable shoe rack from California, so I used that to hold my heels on the right side of the closet. Then the basket shown in the photo below will be my “catch-all” for flip-flops and sandals. I have so many that it’s just easier this way. Extra laces for my sneakers are in that basket as well. I could’ve stretched the metal shelving out more, but I wanted room on the far left of the picture for my longer skirts and dresses.

IMG_0286We’ve talked about two of the three sides on the floor, and you’ll see this later, but on the left side of my closet on the floor is my laundry bin. I have a three-section laundry organizer,which has three canvas bags that each velcro off of the frame. It’s super helpful for sorting out my whites, colors, and clothes that don’t need to be dried. Again, it’s low enough to the ground that shirts can be hung above it without a problem. Okay, now that my floor-space is done, let’s go to the racks!

IMG_0287Two things that I want you to notice in the organization of my shirts. One, they are organized by length or type of sleeve. From strapless to tank top to short-sleeved to 3/4-length to long-sleeved. Over the many years of my life, I have learned that when I walk into my closet I don’t think to myself, “I want to wear a blue shirt today”. Instead I think, “I am going to freeze today, where are my warmer options” or “It’s super nice out, what tank do I want?”. By organizing by type of shirt, it will also help me see gaps. For example, I now know that only four out of all the shirts shown above are long-sleeved. It was 19 degrees the day I moved in. This is a problem.

Secondly, look at how the hooks are on the hangers. This is an old organizers trick! Even though I plan to go through my clothes now and weed out pieces that are old or worn-out, this strategy will help me down the road. Why? Because when I wear and wash a shirt, I will replace it to the closet on a hanger that is facing the “correct” position. That will be an indicator to me that I’ve worn the shirt since I lived in NC. Fast forward three or four months and I can easily, visually see exactly which items in my closet I haven’t touched since I moved in. Now, you have to keep in mind “specialty” items like a formal dress I might not have had an occasion to wear it too. Or a bathing suit cover-up that hasn’t been used since it’s winter. But at least it’s an easy way to see what you do and don’t wear. And it gives you a chance to justify keeping an item or donating it.

Alright, to show you the rest of my clothes I have to give you the big picture:

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There on the left you see the shirts and laundry baskets. Straight back are my pants and shorter skirts. Since I don’t have too many, I thought that would be a great place to keep them. And they are short enough to go over the shoe racks! Then on the right side, over the heels and flips, are my dresses (long in the back) and my cardigans/blazers. At the very forefront on the right are two special hangers, one holds all of my scarves and the other holds all my belts. Again, it’s best to keep these items all together in a place that is easy for you to see and flip through to find the one you need for the day.

One area of the closet we haven’t talked about yet is the overhead shelves. This is somewhere you should keep items that aren’t used all that often. You can see that I have chosen clear bins to store these articles. That’s because I’m a visual learner (and wearer). If I can’t see it, I won’t think about it. Some of you might prefer non-see-through options to hide items. That’s totally fine and there are TONS of cute canvas containers out there right now! The important thing is to have containers. Don’t let yourself just pile things up there and forget about them. Unpack with intention. I have boxes for my “costume” pieces (like my running tutu), my winter ski layers, my hoodies, and my swimsuits/cover-ups. I also have a box of t’shirts from races that I want to keep to make into a quilt. I don’t need access to these articles of clothing all the time, but it’s good to know where they are when I do need them.

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The very last part of my closet organization process was my jewelry. I have a small jewelry box where I keep my valuable items (of which I don’t have many). But I wanted somewhere to keep the bulk of my options. Again, if I can’t see something right in front of me, I forget about it and don’t wear it. In my wanderings, I found this back-of-the-door mirror that opens to reveal a storage box. I wanted a hanging mirror anyway, so I figured I would try it. Target was having a home sale, so it was the perfect time! Now I have my necklaces sorted by color and length and my bracelets by style. I just open the mirror once I’m dressed and add the perfect accessory. And it doesn’t take up floor, rack OR shelf space! It’s working so far, so we’ll see how I like it as time goes on.

Whew! I’m tired just writing about all the work I put into organizing my closet. But now I can actually get dressed in a timely manner without scavenging through box after box to find the shirt I want. Like I mentioned at the top of this post, I actively need and want to sort through all of these clothes (and accessories) soon but for now it’s great to get everything out of boxes and into my closet. Thanks so much for reading and let me know your favorite closet tips!!

 

 

 

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