SO, I HAVE TO ADMIT, I AM NOT YOUR USUAL KIND OF NEAT FREAK. I MEAN, I DEFINITELY LIKE THINGS TIDY TO THE NAKED EYE. I THRIVE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF LOW CLUTTER AND CLEAN VISUAL LINES.
Usually about 30 minutes before my company arrives I spin around my house like a toupee in a windstorm until everything is conceivably in place. Go ahead, marvel at my clear countertops, organized bookshelves and clutterless sitting room. But if a door, drawer or cupboard is closed, for the love of Prince don't open it!
You could be seriously injured.
Let it be known that behind my beautiful mirrored glass closet doors is a textile ambush ready to attack the first unsuspecting victim who dares to open it. Same goes for every surface of my kid's playroom, coat closets, desk drawers, kitchen drawers, pantry cupboards and fridge. It is basically a housefull of landmines.
Sitting atop my Jane sofa, among my artfully tossed throw pillows (thank you Tuck Studio) I thought to myself: "Self, I think you need to get your actual adult shit together."
ENTER ELAINE SHANNON: GODSENT, FORMER PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER, INSPIRATIONAL SUPERWOMAN, ALL THINGS GOOD IN LIFE AND IN PERSONAL WELL-BEING, TO SAVE THE DAY. SHE AGREED TO HELP ME FOCUS ON MY PUNKASS CLOSET.
She suggests a process that involves five simple steps:
STEP ONE: INVEST IN MATCHING HANGERS
(I got two packs at Costco, 50 for $40-ish)
Matching hangers look pretty and when things look pretty it feels good, and feeling good results in a happy closet experience. And the right matching hangers can create more space and more space is good.
STEP TWO: MENTAL PREP
(I poured a drink)
If you fail to plan you plan to fail. That is always my motto before I start any project, even organizing projects. We create things first in our mind and then in reality. Think about when you will tackle the closet, how you will get it done and perhaps you will have a friend assist to help you get your "Adult shit" together. Make it fun.
STEP THREE: PHYSICAL PREP
(I got some clear garbage bags, plastic totes and poured a second drink)
Get out your label maker or marker and paper and label the totes and bags. You will need one for garbage, donation, to sell, to return to the rightful owner, to gift. Once these are all labelled and in place it will make the tossing and decluttering and moving along less stressful.
STEP FOUR: DIG IN
(I cued up my best 90's soundtrack)
Choose one section of your closet at a time, and pull everything out. Get it all out and try that shit on! When you look in the mirror and it looks back at you with a hell yes then put that item back in the closet. If it is not a hell yes then why keep it.
STEP FIVE: SORT!
Keep, Donate, Sell, Trash.
Time to move the items on that are no longer useful or beautiful to you.
With that all figured out. We sat down each on a ready rubbermaid for a quick rest before getting started...
E, I love the thrill of a potential 80's party — can I please keep these vintage parachute pants just in case?
You could...however those parachute pants are occupying valuable real estate in your closet. Could you find that item at a the local second hand store if you needed it? If the answer is yes then move that item on and enjoy your new found freedom. In reality you have a relationship with everything you own and if your closet it stressing you out then it is time to break up with the excess...it is dragging you down.
Ok fair enough. Parachute pants, donate. Do you have any closet rules of thumb?
One item in one item out.
Ah, the ol’ in and out rule. I like that. But, I actually paid really really good money for this striped culotte that I never wore.
Well, you have two options; keep the culotte and feel bad about the purchase every time you see it or let it go. Go for the good and I am sure there is someone out there who will really OWN that striped culotte.
I suppose I should probably feel 0% bad about never wearing a striped culotte in the first place. Sell. Drawers: what’s your process? Tell me about the folding!
Folding is an art and one I have not mastered add to that my visual nature. I have closet shelving and most of what I wear fits on this shelving so I can see what I have. Drawers are for pj's and underthings. If you are looking for a great folding tool check out Pliio my friend Clare Kumar invented this nifty tool.
Ah cool! This sure beats my usual roll-and-stuff method of folding things. So, apparently my most comfortable yoga jeans give me mom bum. What do I do about these?
WTF...are you talking about me hehehe. If you like them and feel comfortable well, is mom bum that bad?
Good point. Keep. Now, what should I do with my coats?
Coats...when you live in a place where the weather can change 3 times in one day you need a variety of coats. I store them in a separate closet and they are all together. Keep it easy visually to use what you have.
Ok, what about handbags?
I keep those in the closet on the shelving where I can see them...remember out of sight out of mind.
Any advice for the makeup hoarders out there?
Make up has a shelf life and can harm you if it is out of date. After you determine the date and safety of the makeup treat yourself to some of the great makeup organizers and set it up in a spot that makes you feel special.
Yeah, because who really wants oldmascaraitis anyway? Old makeup, trash. Now, how do I maintain my newly organized masterpiece?
As they say lather, rinse, repeat. If you create a system that works with your natural style it will be a matter of tidying up regularly, purging the old as you bring in the new and saving that important mental space.
Phewf. Well that's done. Thank you Elaine!!!!!