Sharing Habits and Helpful Hints with Elle Decor
For some, organizing your closet is a religious experience. It can be cleansing, therapeutic and even healing. I chatted with Elle Decor about the eight doctrines in my closet bible and how to keep wardrobes looking tidy and beautiful year round. After all, there’s nothing wrong with worshiping your closet!
Good lighting is key.
Your closet is one area you definitely shouldn't settle for bad fluorescent lighting. "I think people just sort of live with what they've inherited," Adams says. But just think about how much easier it will be to get dressed in the morning or put away clothes when you can actually see your wardrobe. One key place most people forget to light: closet cabinets. Adams suggests investing in battery operated, LED lighted hanging rods for storing clothing. Not only can they help illuminate those tricky areas, they can easily be turned on at the push of a button.
Clothes always go back on the rack.
It seems simple enough, but all too often home owners find excuses to keep from putting clothing away. "Everyone has a chair or leaves clothes on the floor and then it just becomes sort of like, 'Oh well, I’ll clean it up at the end of the week,' or whenever you do laundry," Adams says. Kicking this bad habit for good, though, could save you a hefty cleaning job down the road. "Just making it a point to put things back, even when you're trying on, will save time in the long run and keep your closet tidy," Adams says.
No stray hangers.
While it's perfectly fine to test out different hangers now and then, you also want to keep things consistent. "Once you start with plastic and then you have velvet hangers and then you have wood hangers and then you have wire–that’s where it just really starts to look messy in your closet," Adams says. Bottom line: Find a hanger type you like and stick with it. Not only that, be sure to leave those unappealing dry cleaning hangers where they belong: the trash.
Always keep a trash can in the closet.
Having a designated area in or near your closet for getting rid of non-essential items can make a world of difference for keeping things organized. Take dry cleaning for example: How many times have you brought items home only to shove them, paper, plastic, and all, right back into your closet? "If there’s a place where you can sort of undress the dry cleaning and then get rid of the hangers and recycle the bags, then you’ll do it," Adams says. "If there's no system for it, that's when you start to accumulate it." Another upside: You'll be able to easily purge those old receipts, wrappers, and other junk you find hiding in the pockets of your clothes.
Design for your wardrobe.
One of the best ways to create an Instagram-worthy closet: be strategic about how you hang items. It's really as simple as taking an inventory of your clothing and the different widths and heights of pieces as they hang on the hanger. "I think in most closets you tend to see just long hanging or short hanging," Adams says. But carving out space for items of a medium height, like say long skirts or summer dresses, could help you maximize space even more. "That gives you the opportunity to put things below it," Adams adds. Because who really would say no to a little extra shoe space?
Have a system and stick to it.
Whether you're organizing the clothing in your closet by color or designer, the real key is just deciding on a system that works for you–and not giving up on it. Adams also finds it helpful to organize by formality, creating areas for formal, every day, or workout attire to spot things quicker. You could also try coordinating by style, with sections for specific clothing items like shirts or dresses.
Either way, a good system will not only help you find exactly what you need, it could also help you catch pieces you haven't worn in a while sooner. "If you start to notice that you’re not wearing something or that you know that you’re picking one over the other, then you really need to consider, 'Should I just get rid it?'" Adams says.
Do not stack more than 5 items high.
No denying a closet with some shelf space can be a real lifesaver when it comes to storing extra clothing or accessories you can't fit on the rack. That is, until you start piling items so high you can't tell what's what anymore. A good rule of thumb: keep stacks to 5 items or less.
"Stacking higher than that usually things are falling off, you really don’t know what's at the bottom anymore," Adams says. And with piles under control, you'll be able to give your closet more of that boutique feel you'd come across at your favorite store. "Part of the appeal is really making it feel like you're shopping in your own closet," she adds. No one could argue with that.
That leads us to "the purge." While it's always good to reassess your wardrobe on quarterly basis, even better would be making it a habit every day. "I tell my clients daily and that's where incorporating the hamper or trash helps," Adams says. "I’ll have a place for dirty clothes and then I’ll have one for tailoring or donating." So if something doesn't fit anymore–or you're just not into that sequin top you bought months ago thinking it would look cool–you can easily let it go without regret.