A quick note before I dive into today’s topic… I am featured today in the “Connecting with our Clothes” series on one of my favorite blogs,”This Kind Choice.” CLICK HERE to read about a piece that has stood the test of time in my closet, as well as what I have learned from this “wardrobe workhorse.”
I didn’t expect to be doing another post on the topic of closet organization so soon, but I like to go with the flow as a blogger and write about things that are timely. I received some very insightful comments on Friday’s post that caused me to think more deeply about the topic and make further changes to the way my closet is organized.
Today’s post addresses why I opted to shift my closet organization again after such a short time and outlines the changes I have made. At the end of the post, I share some alternate closet organization methods offered by readers, as well as some useful links for additional information.
I don’t believe there is one right way to organize a closet; we all have to do what’s right for us and that may change over time. However, my hope is that reading about my process and that of others may help you determine what will work best for you.
Another Change Already?!?
After reorganizing my closet last week, I thought I would stick with the new structure for a while, but it quickly ended up feeling unworkable for me. I agreed with the two commenters who wrote that they could still see a lot of “visual clutter” in my closet, with colors in multiple places and too many “sections” to contend with. After getting dressed with the new wardrobe configuration for just a few days, I felt like it was harder for me to select my outfits instead of easier. So I opted to throw in the towel on having separate sections for solids and patterns by item type.
Over the weekend, I changed the structure of my closet yet again. Fortunately, the change didn’t take very long to complete and I’m glad I took the plunge. My new closet organization feels much more workable and I don’t see the same “visual clutter” that was there in my initial configuration as well as my temporary set-up from last week.
My “New New” Closet Organization…
I now have printed items integrated in with solid pieces according to their primary color. All of my tops are now in one big block, organized by the colors of the rainbow (ROYGBIV), with white, grey, and black pieces at the end. My toppers, skirts, dresses, and pants are organized in the same manner (although there isn’t much variety in the colors of my pants – and they are all solids!). The various sleeve lengths are separated within the color groupings (sleeveless, then short-sleeved, then long-sleeved).
I still have the tops and toppers that I wear with skirts separated out from the ones I wear with pants, as this works best for my individual needs. My warm weather wardrobe (I primarily wear skirts and dresses in warm weather) is on the left side of my closet and the cooler weather items (pants, jeans, and the tops and toppers I wear with them) are on the right side of my closet. The photos below show my new closet organization.
I’m Already Seeing the Benefits
I have already benefitted from my new closet layout. Yesterday was unseasonably warm and it was easy for me to pull out a dress and jacket to wear to brunch. Previously, my dresses had been pushed off to the right side of my closet and my shorter toppers were squeezed over to the absolute left side. I had done this to showcase my cooler weather clothing in the more visible middle area of the closet.
For years, I have switched out my closet for the various seasons, but now everything I own fits comfortably in my closet at all times (yes, my wardrobe is still too large, but I used to need two or three closets!). Since the weather has a tendency to do crazy things, I love that I can view my entire wardrobe at a quick glance and select the right clothing for both the temperature and my activities for the given day.
Lessons from My Two Closet Reorganizations
Even though my interim closet reorganization didn’t work out, I’m still glad I did it, as it prompted me to do the alternate closet inventory I wrote about last week. Discovering how many items I have in various colors and patterns was helpful to me in determining my wardrobe gaps and areas of duplication. I now have a better grasp on what to shop for and I’ll be less likely to make mistakes or keep buying the same types of things over and over again. I know that even though I love stripes, there can be too much of a good thing! The same is true with blue and black garments; it’s nice to mix things up a bit.
My second closet reorganization was also quite instructive. I can now clearly see how many pieces I have in various colors and patterns and it’s easier for me to mix and match my garments and wear more of what I have. I had previously thought it was best to hang all of my tops with the same sleeve length together and then organize them by color, but that resulted in a rather disjointed looking closet, as shown below.
I much prefer being able to see all of the colors together regardless of sleeve length (see photos earlier in this post). I also like having cardigans and jackets hung together, as I don’t have a strong preference as to which type of topper to wear. The color is a far greater consideration for me when getting dressed.
Alternate Organization Methods
So I seem to have found the best closet organization method for myself (for now, anyway…), but my way of doing things may not be optimal for you. Here are a few alternatives offered by readers that may work better for your closet needs:
- Dottie organizes her closet first by color and then by garment type (jackets, blouses, etc.). Within each type of garment, she then organizes by sleeve length and pants length. Her black and white printed items are hung together in between her white garments and black garments. She organizes her colors according to the rainbow, but some of those colors (orange, yellow, green) are not represented in her wardrobe.
- Deby arranges her clothes very similarly to my new configuration – by type of garment and then by color within each type. I got the idea to place neutrals (black, grey, white) at the end of each section from the way Deby organizes her closet. She folds her sweaters, jeans, and corduroy pants on a shelf, but everything in her wardrobe is visible at all times.
- Mo uses a similar configuration, but she “butts” one color up against the next category for visual cohesion. As an example, her long-sleeved tops might start with white and end with black, but then her short-sleeved tops would start with black, so that the blacks of both sleeve lengths hang together. She has very few printed garments, so she tucks them between their shared solid colors instead of hanging them separately.
- The Happy Forgiver has what she considers a perfectly organized closet. All of her pants are hung together, as well as all of her skirts and tops. Her hangers all face in the same direction and her clothes are coded by color and in a range from sleeveless to long-sleeved. She sorts her shoes by color and type and stacks her scarves in color categories. She also displays all of her purses and hangs all of her belts so they are easily viewed within her closet. She wholeheartedly agrees with Jill Chivers that if we can’t see what we have, we can’t use it!
- FrugalFashionista keeps her most worn clothes outside of her closet, folded up on a chair where she can easily see them. Amazingly, this portion of her wardrobe consists of only 10-20 garments at present! She has come to believe that the more closet space, shelves, and drawers she has available to her, the more unworn clothing she will have as a result.
- Emma and Liesbeth prefer to organize their wardrobes according to the “basics and statement pieces” approach advocated by Anuschka of “Into Mind.” Liesbeth considers most of her printed items to be statement pieces and she likes to have them stand out in her closet for easier outfit building.
- Sarah organizes her clothes by item type, but she puts clean items away on the left within each section. The idea is that unworn items will gradually migrate to the right and are easier to purge as a result. She concedes that her wardrobe is a bit of a “visual mess,” but she likes the mix of colors and her method is currently working well for her.
- Lisa has a small working wardrobe and is currently using an organization system similar to Sarah’s. She rotates items to the back of each section after they are worn, but is willing to put items “out of order” from time to time in order to mix things up (so she’s not wearing black jeans every Tuesday, for example).
Useful Links on Closet Organization
It was very interesting to read about the various closet organization methods used by readers of “Recovering Shopaholic.” I also found a few articles on this topic which might be useful to you:
- “Wardrobe Organization: How to Find the Perfect System”
- “What is the Best Way to Organize the Clothing in Your Closet”
- “How to Organize Your Closet”
- “Five Easy Ways to Organize Your Clothes”
- “How to Organize A Lot of Clothing in Very Little Closet Space”
- “10 Awesome Ideas to Store and Organize Your Clothes”
I hope this post has been helpful to those of you looking to improve your closet configuration. I know I learned a lot from those readers who have chimed in thus far with their closet organization methods. I’m sure there are almost as many ways to manage a wardrobe as there are people!
If you have any tips or suggestions you’d like to add to the discussion, I invite you to share your wisdom in the comments section of this post. If you’re reading this post via email or a feed reader, click here to comment.