8 10/15/2012 life Fashion

The Closet Shrink: Fall Overhaul

It all started one day last week, when my son asked if there were any gloves around… damn, but the mornings can be super-chilly these days! And we keep a basket on a shelf inside the coat closet, but I haven’t rifled through that thing since we stopped shoving stuff in there at the end of last winter. (I mean, why would I?) So I dumped the contents on the floor, and after sifting through the small mountain of ones with holes or snags or otherwise mateless, I found two black mini-stretchy gloves for him to wear. Time to clean this crap out, I thought.
It’s our one and only hall closet in the house, opened hundreds of several times a day, and I don’t want everything we own to fall out when we open the doors. I don’t want it to look or feel like a dumping ground. And you know how I’m The Closet Shrink, right? This means I like to make things pretty.
I do style-out my closets in a way that is pleasing to me – how I want it to look overall will help dictate what stays. We can’t each have fifteen jackets hanging in there. (Anyway, how many jackets do you need?) The sandals need to be put away, and slippers don’t need to be stored in here, either. It’s a tiny closet that four of us must use daily, and I want it tidy, and accessible, and as airy as it can possibly be. And once it’s purged of the overflow, how can I sort it so it’s handy and so it looks beautiful in the space that’s left? Think: boutique.
Yes, I could house twice as many bags on the shelves if I lined them up like books. Of course. But the thing is? These ones are my favourites, and I never wear the others. I stored my summer straw purses and got rid of a few that I’ve stopped wearing. Turning them outward makes them look more attractive. Stacking folded scarves means I might actually remember to wear that pink scarf, since I can see it in front of me, and it’s not at the bottom of a basket somewhere. Arrange it all by colour so it feels roomier. Plus it looks waaaaay better this way. (And don’t forget the trick about using the same hangers…)
And, there’s something tres useful about this practice, besides just getting rid of the things with holes and adding “new mittens” to your shopping list… in bringing out my fall/winter stuff, and rearranging the things around me, I remember them anew. When I see them in a slightly different light, I remember new things I’ve acquired that will go with my old stuff – I think about ways to pair or refresh the items I already own, to make it new to me. It’s a bit like falling in love with your spouse all over again.
Plus, every time I open my closet door, my stuff makes me smile… even though 95% of it is old not new. It feels like browsing through a tiny store where I love everything inside…


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  • Tracey

    Oh Alice! *claps for you* Thats so GREAT!! Purging: It Does A Closet Good.
    I understand the issue with the hooks, but theres really nothing that can be done about that – you cant just build a closet or throw an armoire up just any old place… but keeping all the “stuff” to a minimum is the only solution.
    Shoe shopping is totally underrated, yo… I hope you find some beauties!!

  • Alice

    We don’t even HAVE a hall closet, we have hooks, and bin for each kid, and a storage closet for off-season stuff in the back of the house. It never looks great with stuff hanging, but it does force me to change with the seasons and only keep out the coats that we need, at least.
    I’m switching out my regular closet clothes right now for the seasons, too, and doing another big purge. Keep thinking you’d be proud of that, though I still have way too much stuff. At least I’m shopping from an actual list this fall and pretty much done but for a pair of shoes or two!

  • Tracey

    I can help you with that, lady – give me one hour…

  • Sara

    I freaking hate my closet – I dont know what the hell to do with it – its so small and filled with such crap. WAHHHHH

  • Tracey

    They DO multiply in there! Its the darkness, methinks. It makes me feel so much better to just get rid of the excess, and actually SEE all my things. Happy tackling this weekend, lady! (And I never hyperventilate – Im an old pro at busy closets, yo. For realz.)

  • Jennifer

    Tracey, I think you would probably start to hyperventilate if you opened my front hall closet right now. Sandals, boots, shoes, purses and a gazillion coats (it is like they multiply in there). I am inspired by your beautiful closet and will tackle mine this week.

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