Read an Excerpt
Shop Your Closet
The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Closet with Style
Bye-Bye, Pack Rat!
. . . Hello peace of mind.
Most of us share the same embarrassing secret—we hoard. Even the superorganized among us occasionally hang onto things we don't need—those 24-inch-waist jeans that fit so well three years ago or that dress that you blew your entire first paycheck on or the 4-inch-heels (a half size too small!) in purple suede you've never worn but swear you will. The most important step to organizing your closets—and your life—is to lose the habits and ways that make you cling to every little thing. Prior to creating my firm Closette, I have to admit that, yes, even the superorganized me was a pack rat in my other life. I was a bona fide shopaholic who lived to spend every free minute in any type of retail establishment seeking out the latest fashions and hottest clothing trends. When I look back on those days, I think, Eeew, how vulgar and gross! That unquenchable desire to seek out the new trends for each season has faded away. Today, I edit my wardrobe every four months and look for things I love to integrate with my wardrobe. I buy classically designed garments that I can keep wearing over and over again. I never grow tired of them, and I change my look by throwing on a great pair of shoes or carrying a new purse. I look good and I feel good. This new way of keeping my closets organized and easy to shop has helped me keep a tighter hold on my wardrobe: I know what I have and I know where it is. And I've discovered that by keeping things neater andmore organized in my closet, I have a clearer head when I get dressed to begin my day. I am no longer stressed about where is it, will it be wearable when I find it, and do I have other pieces that will coordinate with it to complete my outfit. I have more important things to ponder. If you have great pieces for each season that fit and are in good condition, and need to buy only a few select items to enhance what you already own, you won't wake up one day and be caught with a closet full of "Oh my God, what the hell is all of this stuff!" clothing and accessories that you just don't wear.
"Purging is a lifelong commitment," says GQ creative director Jim Moore, who has been picking and choosing clothes for the magazine since the early 1980s. And any über-organized person will agree: You've got to realize that editing your wardrobe is a constant process. This has never been truer than in today's world, where people are encouraged to buy everything from socks to scarves in bulk.
Changing your mind-set
The first step to major change is desire. The fact that you picked up this book and got past the table of contents is a good sign that you are willing to take the first steps toward an edited wardrobe and an organized closet. It shows that you want to make your wardrobe a fun place to turn to rather than a space that fills you with anxiety.
The next step toward creating an organized, accessible wardrobe is recognizing that change is possible. Letting go of the pack rat inside you is definitely possible; we can assure you of that. Think of the most difficult obstacle you've encountered in your life—a physics class you thought you could never pass, a designer handbag you thought you could never save for, or a huge credit-card bill that you thought you'd never pay off! Whatever the challenge, you were able to face it and overcome it. Similarly, you will be able to stop hanging on to things you don't need.
To get rid of a mess, sometimes you have to make one. Set aside a weekend—or two evenings after work—to review and edit your wardrobe. Remember, your new mantra is p-u-r-g-e. Start by sorting your clothes into three categories: "Throw Away," "Give Away," and "Keep." The damaged-beyond-repair—a top that's missing most of its sequins, pants you burned with an iron, anything torn that cannot be repaired—should go into the "Throw Away" pile. No ifs, ands, or buts. The "Give Away" pile should contain anything that's out of style, too small, or (lucky for you!) too big. Donate these items to your local charity shop or clothing drive, consign them to a used-clothing boutique or vintage-clothing store, or give them to a friend. (See chapter 3, "The CDC: Consignment, Donation, and Collecting," for more information on donating versus consigning and the advantages of each.) "The Keep" pile should, of course, contain items that you have worn within the last year and that you will continue to wear.
Sometimes it is difficult to decide what items should be placed in which pile. If this is the case, asking a friend to assist you can help. The key to enlisting a friend-editor is to make certain not to ask anyone who will cause you great emotional duress during this important editing exercise (your brutally honest best friend, your mom, your boyfriend or girlfriend, or anyone else who will make you want to strangle them when they squint their eyes and say, "Hmmm, you look kind of pudgy in that . . ."). Instead, choose a friend who knows your lifestyle and your personality, who you think has good personal style, and who can make sure that you're not going to hang on to an ill-fitting dress just because it'sblack or you got it on sale.
People cling to clothing and other items for many different reasons, and many think: Why do I have all this stuff, and how will I be able to let go of it? The reality is that once you begin to purge your closet of clothing you're not using, you'll be able to think more freely and feel incredibly unburdened by clutter. "Editing my wardrobe is something I have always found very hard," says Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler, president, EF Communications. "Lately, I try not to buy very trendy clothes and instead, I opt for items that work season to season. Generally, if I don't wear something for a year, it has got to go."Shop Your Closet
The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Closet with Style. Copyright © by Melanie Charlton Fascitelli. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.