Monday, December 3, 2012

I cleaned out my closet ... (organization + realizations)

Once upon a time (ten years ago) I worked for a woman who organized spaces for a living. She could take the most minuscule space imaginable and maximize it into its full potential. To this day I firmly believe that she could find a way to fit an elephant into a dog crate.
Who knows.
Anyway- I am not that woman. While I like to be organized as far as information goes (dates, times, places, etc.), organizing spaces is new to me. I hear that creative people are messy. Soo... we can assume based on that little idiom that I'm the most creative person in the world. But really I'm not.
Lately I've been trying to organize our home. It isn't very big, just a two bedroom apartment. Next year we're moving into a home, but I figure that if I can't organize this space, I'll never learn to organize a larger space. Not only that, I work a lot... which leaves little time for cleaning. Organized spaces require less upkeep! Plus so many of our things don't get used because we never see them. And there are other things I wanted but had no place to store them... such as a toaster. I spent nearly 3 years toasting bread by using the "broil" option on the oven. Not so economical. Or convenient.
I recently finished overhauling our apartment and getting it organized. Though Betty (my former employer) would probably cringe at it, it's a massive step up for me. If you're as unorganized as I am, hopefully it will help you. If you happen to be a master organizer, you can reach me at ... I need all of the help I can get!
Let's start with the closet. Wow. It was a painful sight. You couldn't even walk in, there were clothes *everywhere*. Definitely a shameful situation. I'd love to post a before shot, but I'm pretty sure you'd submit to me to 'Hoarders'. As for the "after" shots, they're still pretty crammed. Oh, and hey- it's really dark in there. So dark that my camera can't shoot it & I had to use my phone. Sooo... sorry for the quality.
I firmly believe that people should be required to clean out their closets before shopping. My entire perspective on what I need always drastically changes after a good purge. And a good purge is exactly how we started this little endeavor. At the end of it over 10 bags of clothing were removed from our closet. Most of it was in great condition, but I just never wore it. I tend to stay in the "classic" zone as far as clothing goes. I don't like to purchase too many trendy items or even silhouettes. Since my weight doesn't really fluctuate, that means I have clothes from 5-10 years ago that are perfectly wearable. Especially jeans, which don't change as often or drastically as other pieces in the fashion industry.
The worst part of a messy closet is that you don't know what you own, so you never wear it. My cousin said it the other day- if you don't see it, you just won't use it. So I needed to get everything into a visually accessible state.
After purging (and buying 100 new hangers...), here's how I organized my tops (shirts, blouses, sweaters...)
Colors are all ROYGBIV'd (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, grey, black, nude, brown, white)
TOP left to right: long sleeves in ROYGBIV, short sleeeves in ROYGBIV
BOTTOM left to right: tanks in ROYGBIV
The separation of sleeve length + color helps me not only find exactly what I'm looking for quickly, but it also helps me layer outfits.
As for my bottoms, I hung my skirts on a few SKIRT ORGANIZERS. My dress pants are hanging on PANT ORGANIZERS and my jeans are in Rubbermaid drawer towers on the right hand side of the closet.
I have another one of the towers (which you can see in the pictures) that organizes my socks, leggings, tights + casual pants that aren't jeans. On the right hand side (in the photo below) you can see my dresses hung up. I took down my professional dresses + super summery dresses and stored them for the winter. Originally I had thought about using an under-the-bed storage box for my sweaters, but that didn't follow the "visual" rule, so I decided it would be better for the out-of-season dresses.
I used more towers to hold things like undergarments, pajamas/lounge wear + exercise gear. On top of the towers I organized my evening purses. You can also see that I bought a hanging organizer from TARGET for $8 (in-store, similar to the provided link) to hold my sweaters. It's a much better option (for me) than the original plan, and they are also color coded. When the weather changes, I'll most likely store them under the bed and bring back the warm weather dresses. The jury is still out, though, since in Michigan it can be sweater weather nine months out of the year. Lastly, I have some jewelry storage on the left wall along with shoe towers. Even further left I have 7 robes hanging on the wall using damage-free 3M HOOKS

The helpful thing about this little exercise was finding out how much I already own. I honestly don't have the desire for more clothes, since I don't have anywhere to put them. Literally. Maxed out. I can now appreciate the fullness of my closet and hopefully continue to use tools like POLYVORE to make the most of what I already own.
Next up, and briefly, I want to introduce you to my dear friend... shelving. You can buy these shelving units at IKEA for $14.99-19.99 depending on the size you purchase. We got ours when we moved in, but haven't appropriately used them. I've found that one stored in my kitchen has allowed us to make full use of our kitchen. We haven't much counter space courtesy of a small apartment, but this allows me to store anything I'd normally put out on a counter or tuck away in the cabinets. That means counter space is open for cooking (which I do a lot of) and cabinets are free to hold pots + pans as well as store food. Yesssss!
Another one in the bathroom holds all of the things I so desperately want to leave all over the counter- drying makeup brushes, products, heat styling tools, canisters of q-tips + cotton balls... everything.
And a third one is extremely helpful in our laundry area, housing an iron, laundry detergent, dish towels + more.
Take control of your home, people. If you have any awesome organizational tips- PLEASE SHARE! :)
If you'll excuse me, I'm going to make some toast... without the help of my oven! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading! 


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