Over Easter weekend Mr. Darcy, our girls and I drove a few hours away to visit some favorite relatives of mine; an aunt, uncle and cousins.  While there, my Aunt A. let my cousin H. (her daughter) and me give her a closet makeover. She told me she hated her closet, didn't like the outfits it was producing and was eager for the purge and subsequent style pump-up.
Once the rearranging began... here's what we found. 
Huge pile 'o khaki's
35, that's right, 35 pairs of khaki's in varying lengths and tones of tan.
And 35 is just what was left after the first purge. I forgot to count at the beginning.
scads of polo shirts
Enough polo shirts, mostly white, to outfit a golf pro shop. Second only to the number of polo shirts was the amount of white button downs.
What we did -
  • Organized everything by color. You can also choose to sub-organize by sleeve length.
  • Rehung everything so that it now faces her as soon as she walks in, instead of facing away. It also gives the clothing the best light. We made sure to button the top button of shirts (keeps the collars and shoulders from warping out of place) and remove any knit/sweater items that were hung. Big no no!
  • Freed up prime real estate! She has a narrow built in floor-to-ceiling shelf located right at the entrance of her closet and in front of a section of double hanging rod. Her shoes, nearly all of them still in their boxes, were stacked behind the shelves, completely hidden by the pants and skirts hanging on the bottom rod. She had to push aside the clothes any time she wanted to get to the shoes. Two long rows of shelves are above the double hanging rod but were mostly full of albums and other long-term storage items that were taking up prime closet space. Filling up the easily-accessible shelving unit were winter sweaters, jeans, and a few more long-term storage items. All the non-clothing items were moved out to a different storage closet, sheets were moved to a linen closet, winter sweaters were put up high (since they're seasonal), jeans were also put up high (they are easy to grab from higher up than shoes) and her shoes were liberated from the back of the closet to occupy those great shelving units along with spring weight sweaters. The boxes came in handy because she can now stack them several high and not waste shelf space. (A.- are you done with all that final rearranging?) 
  • Purged anything unflattering.  That means tapered ankle and pleated pants, boxy tops, worn out items, etc. These all went to the donate pile.
  • Created to-be-altered piles.  A. is smart and already has a talented tailor but some things, like hemming, she does herself. Items that could look nice with just a few alterations (and were actually worth altering) went into one of these piles.
  • Faced facts.  My dear Aunt A. is a beautiful pale blond, curvy, definitely on the short side. We took a hard look at what did and did not work for her in terms of flattering styles. Knowing what works help you avoid those, "Ugh! This just doesn't look good!" moments in the mirror.
What she learned -
  1. Organization = better outfits. As soon as A. walked in to the closet after H. and I had finished rearranging the hanging items, she was amazed! She said, "It looks so good! I can see what I have!" An organized closet is a happy closet.
  2. Lots of clothes do not always equal lots of outfits. Remember those 35 pairs of khakis and gaggle of polo shirts? Not much variety. Hard to build outfits you're happy with. She was quite shocked to discover how many of each she had. Now she knows what she sure doesn't need any more of, and can more easily figure out what holes in her wardrobe need to be filled.
  3. All your clothes should fit in one closet. Unless you're in NY and have a closet the size of a kitchen cupboard.  For many of us Western home owners, we have closets the size of NY living rooms! Parts of her wardrobe were scattered to other closets in the house and yet she was most often dressing from her main closet. When all your clothing isn't in one place and viewable, it's really easy to forget what you have. Forgetting what you have always leads to unnecessary shopping. Most importantly, it's nearly impossible to build outfits when your wardrobe isn't all visible.  You don't need a custom California Closet the size of a small bedroom. Just take advantage of the space you have. Gather all your items in one place as much as possible, and edit as much as possible to make them fit. I'm a huge proponent of the well-edited, quality wardrobe. Less clothing and better clothing.
Thanks Aunt A. for letting H. and I have so much fun.
I'm looking forward to the shopping phase.
MAJOR thanks to Mr. Darcy, Uncle R. and J. for entertaining our kidlets while we did chick things.


04/27/2011 16:34

Oooh sounds like fun! Glad you were able to get er done.

Aunt A
04/28/2011 23:33

Spent the day shopping, not for clothes in my dark jeans, red heels, black shade top with my black and white polka dot linen top, worn jacket style with plenty of arm bling...thanks JD for the tips and organization. I have 135 empty hangers. I have freed up the prime real estate and found my shoes and outfits with ease. I am going to visit your mom and dad and all I need to buy is a necklace and a new swim suit. I was not looking for attention, but seemed to be noticed in my red shoes. What fun. I have some more work to do, but it is definately a good feeling. Thanks girls, you're the best!!!!


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