City Living: Conquer Your Small Closet

Closet1Remember when Big built that huge walk-in closet for Carrie? That was a moment when white lacquer, back-lit cabinetry trumped the Tiffany & Co. diamond. Walk-in closets are every girls dream and I know this because I see the reactions of my clients whenever they’re viewing a property and see one. Walk-in closets always seem to make an impression. This is not a fashion blog, but it is a blog about living in the city, and unless you’re lucky enough to afford a 5,000 sq.ft. home with a live-in staff of three, reality is that closet space is often an issue in many Toronto homes. So as everyone’s returning from their vacations and the kids are preparing to go back to school, maybe it’s time to take an afternoon to de-clutter, re-organized and transform your morning routine of wardrobe panic from a frustrating hassle to pure pleasure. The neater and more streamlined your wardrobe is, the happier you will be. So here is a simple program to transforming your closet no matter how big or small.

Carries closetBefore you get started, you’ll need a few things:

  • Set aside enough time to do this so that you’re not rushed.
  • Start with a blank slate. Do your laundry, make your bed, put away anything that might distract you.
  • If you don’t have already, purchase organizing supplies like matching hangers (either wood or non-slip) and storage bins (ones you can store in the closet or under the bed). These can be found in Ikea, Canadian Tire, Homesense or many other home supplies and decor stores.
  • Keep garbage bags on hand that you can use for giveaway and through-away clothes.
  • Get a full-length mirror.

AtticLet’s get started:

Put away the wedding dress and ski pants – Take out pieces with sentimental value, special occasion-wear and seasonal pieces, and store them in boxes which you can slide under the bed. For valuable pieces, line the boxes with acid-free tissue paper to protect the fabric, and remember to make sure each piece is clean before it’s stored.

Empty it all out and start over – Take everything out of your closet and dressers and through it all on the bed. Although the sight might be a bit overwhelming, don’t give into the temptation of jumping in and taking a nap under all the clothes. Start with organizing everything into groups – skits, pants, button-front shirts.

Try on and decide what stays – Pick out your favourite pieces because those will be the ones you wear regularly and feel comfortable in. Try on the items that you haven’t worn in a while, there’s probably a reason you haven’t. Be honest with yourself here. If you haven’t worn it in a season, no point for it to take up valuable real estate. Then pick out the items that are worn-down a.k.a. “wear around the house”. If that includes five pair of jeans and ten old T’s, maybe it’s time to edit those too. My philosophy is – don’t wear it at home if you weren’t caught dead in it outside.

What to give away and through away – If you have pieces in your closet that were an impulse buy and either never have been worn and still have the tags (you know who you are) or worn once or twice, they might be great items to donate or sell. Put them aside and drop them off at the Goodwill or to a local charity that accepts slightly used clothing. You can also sell your pieces in at your local consignment store, or a online service like TrendTrunk where you have the option to keep the profits or donate it to a charity.

Prep your closet – Before your clothes move back in, inspect your closet space and decide whether it needs a fresh coat of paint, consider installing a double rod if you like hanging most of your items, and if you like to prepare your outfits in advance, mount a hook outside your closet or on the inside wall for a quick ‘grab-and-go’.

Arrange your clothes – Group your items in categories and start hanging them up. It’s best to hang items such as dresses, blouses, blazers, skirts, trousers and cardigans. Items such as T-shirts, lightweight knits and jeans should be folded on a shelf or in a dresser. Try arranging the items from light to dark colours for more functionality and visual appeal especially if your closet is not enclosed.

Ikea closetStay or Go Dilemma

If you’re a bit too attached to your clothing and have a hard time letting go, here are a few questions to help you make a decision.

  • Have you worn it in the last six months?
  • Do you still like it?
  • Does it fit you like it’s supposed to?
  • Can it be altered?
  • What would you wear it with?
  • Does it have sentimental value?

And if you do have the space for a walk-in and have been thinking of updating, here’s a bit of inspiration before you get started…

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