Guest post from Organizational Specialist Rosemary Flannery When we think about our fitness goals and how we feel on the outside, do we stop to assess how our lifestyle choices and home life make us feel on the inside? Instead of concentrating solely on your actual weight, consider lessening your possessions weight which can also benefit your health. Many articles have been written about the correlation between one’s physical health and the toll our wealth of ‘stuff’ takes on us. Which means it’s time to buckle down and organize your closet. I can attest personally and from working with clients, that we feel so much better and lighter, once we have addressed areas in disarray that distressed us previously.
Having an organized space allows us to think clearly, find things more readily, save money (since you know what you have and don’t buy unnecessary repeat items) and ultimately cherish the materials we have in our environments. Organize your closet at the beginning of the year or at the change of season. It allows me to examine every item and decide whether it makes me feel/look good.
I’m sure you have read about Marie Kondo’s, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, which asks us if our items ‘spark joy.’ If they don’t, then Ms. Kondo advises banishing the item from your life. I am in agreement with this philosophy and apply it to clearing my closet.
It is important to be in the right frame of mind to do this project. Depending on your speed, you should block out a minimum of four hours to accomplish organize your closet. You might accelerate the process by inviting a good friend over to help.
When you start to organize your closet, pick a corner, or shelves or a section of the closet. By breaking it down, you won’t feel overwhelmed and then lose interest after an hour or so. An area that is clean and neat has a big return. The goal is to take everything out of your closet and address it ultimately.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I love it?
- Is it in wearable condition?
- Does it fit?
- How do I feel when wearing it?
Handle everything in the area you are clearing and make a decision on the spot by creating separate piles:
KEEP is everything you still like, fits and is in good condition to use.
REPAIR/CLEAN any item that has a broken button, moth hole, or needs to be altered or washed.
TOSS is anything that is badly worn, broken or unable to be recycled.
DONATE anything you absolutely do not love nor makes you look/feel better. Remove unwanted items out of your home IMMEDIATELY, or you may be tempted to revisit some of those items that you are still emotionally tied to.
MAYBE is the pile that you can revisit as you wrap up your time or leave for a day or so to see if you need to have these items in your life. I would suggest putting the items you are wrestling with in a box, sealing it and putting it away for six months. If you haven’t missed a garment or accessory during that time, then chances are you can live without it. Before you return the ‘keepers’ to your closet, use this time to clean your closet. This is a step many overlooks, but I can’t see putting your nice things back in a dirty environment. Wipe down shelves. Vacuum or wash the floor and walls, etc.
When you organize your closet, it’s also a very good time to get rid of wire hangers and invest in some new, sturdier types. I group my clothes by type – all tops together, blouses in one section, dresses in another. To save space, I use tiered skirt hangers for skirts and pants.
Shoe and sweater storage are personal preferences, but whatever method you use, it has to be practical and accessible. I am a big believer in out-of-sight, out-of-mind, so make sure your homes for these items let you see what you have or else you will gravitate toward wearing the same thing and forget about your other accessories. I prefer hanging shoe bags because I like things off the floor, though there are many options for storing shoes.
As for sweaters, my experience working at a London Benetton taught me how to fold sweaters neatly. I advise folding them by alternating with collars facing in and then out to create a flat pile that won’t topple over. Before storing make sure your sweaters are clean and in the case of cashmere, combed to remove pills. To extend the life of your sweaters, I suggest Moth Away herbal sachets or reusable cedar blocks (the great scent is restored after a light sanding) as non-toxic alternatives to moth balls.
Don’t despair if you find some moth holes in the wool. You may be able to have your local dry cleaner do the repairs. For items that are more intricate or severe, consider:
French American Reweaving Co // 119 West 57th St # 1406 New York, NY 10019 //Phone: (212) 765-4670
Take a step back when you are finished and admire your work. Do you feel lighter? I bet you do now that you can start to appreciate what you have and realize how little you need for physical and mental clarity as you embrace the promise of the New Year.
2015. Rosemary Flannery. All Rights Reserved.
For more info on organizing your life, contact Rosemary for a personal consultation: [email protected]
What a honor to guest blog! I hope your readers find these tips easy to use and applicable for all seasonal clear outs.
Dianne Richoz Barclay
All great tips Rosemary, perfect for those of us with bloated wardrobes!