Here was my closet a little over a week ago. It was certainly not the worst; I had plenty of storage options, space, and light. Even though you can’t tell here, I also had the remnants of an amazing organization system that allowed me to "shop" my wardrobe (way more about that in a minute).
I had a few “ First World ” problems. Plain and simple, I had too much stuff. Second, my organization system had fallen into disrepair because of some misguided help. A nice woman comes to help with light cleaning once a week; I certainly don’t pay her enough to do laundry. Bless her heart: she does it as a “favor.” The problem is that dry cleaning gets washed (or put away dirty), jeans and sweaters mysteriously shrink, and nothing goes to the right place (like my husband frequently finds little girls’ tops in his closet). I have asked her to stop several times. Similarly, she often helps put away my accessories by shoving them on top of or in the drawers. Yes, I could stop all this by having the house tidy when she gets here! Believe me, we have our share of real problems, and I know this isn't one of them. Still, things were getting chaotic in the closet!
The clutter was not only annoying to me from a housekeeping perspective, but it was affecting the way I was dressing. I would grab only from the few things that were in the right place. Despite all those clothes, I felt as if I had nothing to wear. When I get that feeling, I need one kind of healing (no, not that kind). I needed Paula Collins, Your Closets Best Friend. Visit her website here
Paula is wardrobe consultant for real, everyday women. She comes to your home to asses what you already own, helping you pair down things that are ill-fitted or worn, and making clever combinations you would have never dreamed up! Paula is like that friend with great style tips, but unlike your friend, she can gently and honestly tell you your pants are too tight! If after assessing all your clothes, you really need something, Paula will give you a short list of things to buy that would help stretch your wardrobe farther.
As a veteran of the fashion industry, she knows where to shop for those items. As the mother of two busy boys, Paula also understands budgeting and saving. A side benefit is that your closet is as beautiful as you when she leaves! I have worked with Paula for years- through weight ups and downs and career-lifestyle changes. Paula’s reasonable hourly rate has saved me so much money, time and energy. Really! She makes outfits from my clothes, so I don't buy new!
Knowing it was time to re-tool again, I called Paula. As always, she came with an empty clothing rack, energy, and a smile ready to work. I don’t have to do a single thing but show up to try on loads of clothes. I assed every last shirt and dress in my closet:
After much work, we decided to get rid of an entire rack of clothes to sell/donate and all of these shoes:
All my boots were on the chopping block too, due to their conditions, but we decided to save them until the Fall when I can buy new. In the meantime, Paula gave me a tip for storing them with magazines inside to help them stand up without expensive boot stands!
As we went along, we made outfits and snapped pictures of them (that's a whole other post). This is the main benefit of Paula-its like getting Polyvore outfits but with your own clothes!!!!! She also shared a piece of motherly advice too, suggesting that I get one central bin for all the little treasures that I was saving from the girls-now they live in a more sensible place!
I don’t want to give away all of Paula’s trade secrets, but at this point we began putting away the clothes. Her system is to put the "good" clothes away in a manner so that I can “shop my wardrobe.” That means different things for different people based on their body type and lifestyle. For me, with a round soft middle (my words, not hers!), it means that I need to “shop” several sections of my closet daily to get the right look. I have 1) a shape wear section, 2) a bunch of shells and undershirts, and 3) a section of jackets, shrugs, and cardigans (things to pull myself together). I can simply grab one thing from each section and go. At the end of the closet, Paula has encouraged me to show off my accessories so I remember to “shop” that section too!
I have historically worn most of my clothes year round and so they were all together. Sensing that having everything together might have been a part of my overcrowding problem, Paula suggested that we break my closet into a pod Winter/Fall and one for Spring/Summer, with each of those being further divided as the closet had been before for “shopping”. Because I am an avid tennis player and try to work out often, emphasis on try, we also made a pod of pulled-together workout attire! Here is the closet after:
And here are close-ups of the pods,subdivided and ready to shop!
My Spring and Summer Clothes:
Jewelry and Accessories Now:
I was so inspired by my time with Paula that I went on and did my jammies and undies too! Now everything is neatly organized and clean. Best of all, I know that every last thing I have is something that suits me and is a productive part of an outfit. I will be back with more of Paula's style tips and fashion hints tomorrow!