It’s Time for a Swap

The changing of the wardrobe.

by Amanda LeBlanc

Fall is here, even if some days still feel like summer. It’s time to go through our wardrobes, pull out the summer clothes and start loading in the sweaters. It’s also time to take stock of what you have, what you need and what you need to get rid of in the wardrobe department. I’m not a stylist. In fact, I have a stylist who helps me with my clothes, but I am an organizing diva, and the thing I hate the most is a closet over-packed with clothes you don’t wear or clothes you don’t even know you have because they are piled on the floor.

I once worked with a client who needed help with her closet. When I walked toward the closet, I could see the piles of clothes spilling out onto the floor.  As I stared at the mess, just dying to get my hands on it, my client began to tell me about how much she loved clothes and how she would not be getting rid of anything, because everything was expensive and important to her. Hmmm… I don’t think so!

The way you take care of things is an indication as to how you value them. How in the world could she possibly know what she had? The piles were everywhere. As I made my way through the clothes, hanging them on clothing racks for us to go through, her eyes began to widen. She had no idea how much she had. Not only did she not know what she had, she didn’t want most of what I was hanging up. She turned out to be one of the best purgers I have worked with. At the end of the process, she had plenty of room for her impeccable wardrobe. She had amazing pieces that she hadn’t seen in seasons, and we gave them a home in her closet so she could wear them again. I’m not about making you get rid of the things you love. I am about making room for the things you love and treating them with dignity. I love when I’m done with a closet and a client tells me she feels like she is shopping in a boutique when she enters her closet. Isn’t this the way we should all feel? I go back to one of my top organizing principles; organizing the space where we get dressed to face the world helps us to feel better when we leave the house, and that confidence spreads to everything we do. Aren’t you ready to get started?

The first step is to evaluate all of the summer clothes coming out of the closet. As you pull them out to store them for winter, now is the time to see what you no longer want and what needs attention before it’s put away. You won’t be happy when you take out your summer wardrobe and find that you stored your favorite dress with a stain that now won’t come out, or you put on your favorite pair of white pants and see the hem is still ripped where your heel got stuck last spring!

Because we are in the South, there will be items that work in both seasons, and those can stay in the closet during the swap. There should be three categories of clothing coming out of the closet: store, mend and donate. After you evaluate the items coming out, move to the items for the new season. Buy an inexpensive, collapsible clothing rack or borrow one from a friend. Make sure that all of your clothes are placed on hangers and, before they go into the closet, go item by item and decide if they’re worth spots in your organized space. Remember that the closet is a finite space, and once it’s full you have to start making the tough decisions about what will stay and what will go. My golden rule is, “Too much stuff in too small a space can never be organized!” You should remember this in every room of your home.

If you have an article of clothing that you are going to keep but are unsure if you will really wear it, place the hook of the hanger backwards. Once you wear the item, turn the hook the right way. If at the end of the season it is still facing the wrong direction, you will know to donate that article of clothing. Some organizers will tell you to do that with all of your clothing, but I’m not a huge fan of the way it looks and don’t see the reason for doing it with clothes you know you will wear.

Go get started! Happy Fall. I hope you all look and feel fabulous. Until next time – keep it organized!

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