tips n' tricks: organizing your closet

One of the best ways to maximize your wardrobe is to organize your closet (I wish the one pictured above was mine...).  You'll rediscover items you haven't seen in a while, or be inspired by new ways to pair different tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories.  

Here are 5 steps to get you started:
 1.) Start Fresh.  Tackle your closet in sections so you don't overwhelm yourself, and make space for four piles in your room—keep, toss, repair and donate*.  The golden rule?  If you haven't worn it in a year, it goes.  If you're still on the fence, tie a ribbon or stick a post-it on the hanger and remove it when you wear it.  At the end of each season, items that are still "flagged" should be donated.
2.) Figure Out Your "System."  Look at the layout of your closet and decide what storage solutions you may need (if any).  Measure the space you have and make sure you have the measurements handy when you go shop for boxes, bins, baskets, etc.  The Container Store is a great place to do this!
3.) Space Assignments.  Depending on your preference, either organize your hanging items by color and/or by category (skirts, pants, blouses).  Be sure that the items you wear most frequently are easy to reach.  If you have limited space, you can create a seasonal system by rotating your fall/winter clothes with your spring/summer clothes.  Out-of-season clothes can be kept in your attic, basement or under your bed.
4.) Hang Appropriately.  Invest in the right kind of hangersHuggable Hangers are great for keeping things from slipping off, and are thin so they allow you to fit more in your closet.  Thin sweaters can be folded and hung; thick sweaters should be folded and shelved.  Sturdy wood hangers for jackets/blazers will help retain their shape.  Be sure to remove wire hangers (they don't support your clothes) and plastic dry-cleaner bags (they don't allow fabrics to breathe and keep the chemicals used to clean on your clothes).
5.) Sort Shoes + Accessories.  You can keep your shoes in their original boxes (be sure to label what's inside), stack them in a hanging shoe shelf, or invest in clear shoe boxes with drawer- or drop-front pullsthey allow you to see what's inside so you can easily access your shoes.  Belts and scarves should be coiled and put in bins and handbags can be hung on S hooks (I got mine at Home Depot).  Lastly, lingerie and socks can be organized using drawer dividers.

Good luck!

*Don't forget that your donate pile could go to great organizations like Dress For Success or Goodwill, but for those pieces you spent a pretty penny on and are still in good shape, there are a number of fabulous consignment shops in town (I'll share my favorite one in Seattle with you in an upcoming post).

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