Since returning home from Maine, I have been cleaning and organizing. Being away for months at a time makes you question whether you need to hold on to something you didn’t miss – in this case, my clothes.  I’ve also officially started my retirement (yay me) so I won’t be wearing a lot of formal office clothes. I realized while living in Maine that I’ve changed my style to more of a “coastal grandmother” vibe – effortless style, cool, casual, and simple.  Think Nancy Meyers movies like It’s Complicated. Jeans and t-shirts have always been my favorite thing to wear.

Before I unpacked my bags, I took everything out of my closet and purged, purged, purged. Then I scrubbed all the shelves, dusted and vacuumed to take back down to the day we put the closet in. I love fresh and clean spaces.  I am sharing my tips for making this process work for you.

Clear it all out. Yep, everything.

This step is critical to the success of your closet project. If you need an accountability partner, invite a friend who will keep you on track and be lovingly honest about whether that Journey t-shirt from seventh grade still looks good on you and someone who doesn’t mind seeing you in your bra and underwear.   You’ll need bins or boxes marked Sell, Donate, Repair, Trash. You will use these to sort your items as they start coming out of the closet. You will want to plan for this to take a full day from start to finish. Put on fun Spotify tunes, pour the wine, and get started.

Everything must come out of the closet.  This will seem overwhelming at first, but once you get started you will find the rhythm in how important it is to touch every item you have in the closet.  Have the friend bring you clothes a few at a time. When you hold an item in your hand you must love it. This is not the time for “if I lose weight” or “maybe I might.” You need to really love it and feel good wearing it, which is the next step. You must try every item on. You might know without trying it on that it won’t work, but if you aren’t sure chances are when you try it on and look at yourself in the mirror you will have your answer. This is where a loving friend can help.

As you fill the donate bins, put the items in trash bags and immediately take them to the car so they are out of the way and you won’t go back and change your mind. At the end of the day take your donations directly to Goodwill or your favorite donation place.

After the closet is cleared out, vacuum and dust the space.

Make your Closet Look Like a Boutique

Now that your closet is cleaned you will return your items this time organizing them by type – pants/jeans, dresses, tops, sweaters, etc. You know when you shop in a boutique everything is pretty and sorted, that’s what you want to achieve in your space. Your closet should be a space you enjoy “shopping” each time you get dressed. I even sort my clothes by short and long-sleeved and color.

If you can, try to use the same hangers so your space is uniform. I like these hangers from Amazon – a pack of 30 for under $23. They come in several color options.

For shoes, I like the plastic shoe boxes from the Container Store. You can easily see the shoes and they are stackable.

I also like to install valet hooks to put together outfits for the next day, hang a robe, or dry cleaning until I can get to it.

The thing I try to avoid are bins that aren’t clear. I like to see what I have. If you put your things away in boxes that aren’t clear you won’t know what you have. My closet has built-in drawers for my t-shirts, underwear, shorts, and workout clothes. If you have space, consider moving a small dresser in your closet to create more storage.

My Favorite Organizing Products

A belt rack for necklaces – an easy way to access your necklaces. You can hang it on a hook or on the rod with your clothes as a space saver.

Clear boxes for pins and scarves. These boxes are compact and can stack. Since they are see-through you can easily find what you need.

Jewelry organizer –  a great way to organize earrings and bracelets if you are lacking in counter space because you can hang them on the rod.

Storage Bins – for out-of-season clothing. I use these for holiday sweaters and out-of-season clothing. Bags keep the clothes free from dust and have clear sides so you know where things are.

Use Catalogs for Inspiration/Make a List of Needs

Now that all your clothes and accessories are neatly organized and displayed, you know exactly what you have or don’t have. Make a list of items you need to add to your wardrobe like basics – white blouses or t-shirts, a good-fitting pair of pants, or a blazer. Keep this list on your phone or in a journal so you have it with you when you are out shopping.

Have a favorite clothing catalog you pour over when it arrives?  For me, that’s my Talbots catalog. I use catalogs as inspiration to put together outfits from things I already have in my closet. We tend to wear the same outfit over and over, but catalogs can help you be creative with clothes you already own while saving you money!

Helpful Tools

Clothing steamer – I gave up ironing a long time ago. Not only is it a hassle getting out the board and ironing, but the hear from an iron is very hard on fabric. Steamers refresh the fabric and are best at releasing wrinkles. Read this article from Good Housekeeping. The steamer I use is rated #1 by GH.

Stain remover – I keep a bottle of Oxi-Clean stain remover in my closet so that when I take off my clothes and see a stain I can immediately spray it with stain remover rather than trying to remember later and miss the stain.

Wrinkle Releaser – I use this stuff all the time, especially if I’ve had a linen blouse on all day and it needs a little help. Downey wrinkle release is amazing. Plus it gives your clothes a fresh scent.

I hope all of these tips inspire you to spend time organizing your closet. Once you finish the first space, you will want to transform every closet in your home!

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