the closet cut
june 2021

moving to a boat closet is no easy task and that’s just what i’ve been doing the past few months.. 
for obvious reasons, a houseboat  just doesn’t cut it when it comes to the amount of space that a clothing whore might need.  

in order to make the cut, i took a hard look at my closet and used this move as an opportunity to pull out the fat of what i wasn’t wearing and only keep a small succint selection of my favorites.  since i’m planning on living my best life on the water (hot girl summer), that includes a wardrobe of all the colorful dresses and sexy separates that bring me a whole lot of joy.

so how do i help my clients streamline their closets to allow for a lot more visual space to see what they wear? the need to thin out a closet isn’t just for small closets.  i find that when we take a good look at what we’re holding on to, a lot of the extras take up visual room and don’t allow you to see what you actually love to wear.  by removing those items from your closet, and organizing them for maximum visibility and flow, you can really begin to make fun versatile outfits without having too much stuff.

here are a couple of quick tips to make the transition a lot easier.  

1.  velvet hangers are 100% worth it!  this question seems to come up a lot with my clients and generally when i walk into a closet, (including my own), there is a mish-mash of hangers that have been collected over the years.  although conservation does prompt me to always keep things that i have rather than upgrade to the latest model, when it comes to creating space and visual simplicity in a closet, uniform hangers really do make a very big difference.  velvet hangers are the gold standard when it comes to saving a lot more space.  their low profile really thin design allows clothes to save a startling amount of real estate.  there are a couple of different shapes that you can choose from but i prefer to stick to one standard style, with a 360 swivel hook, notched shoulders and then add ones with clips so dressy pants can hang straight with no creases. folding pants in half on the hanger is not advisable because i find the thickness takes up too much room and also conveniently creases many pants exactly where you don’t want them to.  the secret to wearing things in your closet is that they should be grab and go.  no need to steam or futz about with it before putting it right on.  

2.  does your closet include some forgotten pieces?  my general rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn an item for one year or more, this is a really good item to consider cutting out.  pull the garment out of your closet and really give it a once over!  why aren’t you wearing it?  does it fit?  do you have anything to wear with it?  is it so wrinkled that you just don’t want to bother with it anymore?  did you get into a huge unnecessary fight with your ex-boyfriend in it and you just can’t stand the sight of it anymore?  (haha! but SO true!) THEN PULL THAT SHIT OUT!  steam the piece, take it to alterations, discover and buy what you might need to wear it, if you love it.  strategic purchasing is always the way to go. 

i then create two pull boxes for my client.  i recommend that these boxes be clear so that you can easily see the contents within them and the size is really dependent of what storage space you have available.  even under-the-bed storage boxes are super convenient.  

one is called the vacation box.  this is a box for those items that you simply ONLY wear to hawaii or mexico or other travel destinations.  (yes, we will be doing that again someday!)  not only will pulling these items create a lot more space in the closet but it makes packing for trips a snap.  i simply go to that box and put all the contents directly into my suitcase.  breezy! other is called the forget-me-not box.  this box generally serves as a revolving outbox for your closet.  if you’re having a hard time getting rid of something, try pulling it out of your closet and see if you reach for it in this storage box within six months to a year.  if you don’t go looking for it, then that item is permanently deleted.  i like to give my closet a once-over every 6-12 months to pull out items that just aren’t drawing me in anymore and at the same time, i take a peek at my forget-me-not box and unload items in there to make more room in the box.

3.  can you spread the contents out between different closets?  if you’re lucky enough to have a few smaller closets as opposed to one great big one, i always recommend splitting my smaller closets up by category.  there’s lots of ways that you can approach this.  in my case, i put my very favorite items that i wear the most of in the small closet in my bedroom.  then i filled the other closet in my guest room with the pieces that i don’t wear as often. i had to resort to the not-so-tidy stacking method of seperates on my window sill.  this is definitely an older boaters trick.  each stack is organized by category... short sleeve, long sleeve, tanks, shorts, yoga pants, sweatshirts, etc.  these are all the things that normally i would have folded kondo style in a drawer (when your room is big enough for a chest of drawers).   i got a good ole’ fashioned coat rack for my coats and placed my favorite coats by the door for easy access.

4.  closet organization and flow.  the quick and dirty is that i arrange all my clothing into categories by sleeve length.  it’s important that you see everything that’s in your closet from your visual vantage point.  that often means that items disappear into the depth of a cloest simply because they’re hidden by the item in front of it. 

so the flow goes like this... strappy tanks in front, into wider neck tanks, into short sleeves by sleeve length, into midi length sleeves and then long sleeves.  the flow is by sleeve length first and then color in each category (lightest colors go first).  i use prints to transition from one color to the next in a color group.  i find that people gravitate to similar colors in prints so the transition is pretty seamless.
if the sleeve length is idential between two garments, i’ll put the shorter ones in the front with the longer ones behind it and generally thicker fabrics will end up grounding each separate category at the end.  it’s sort of a give-and-take but usually works out just fine.  then i’ll move on to skirts, pants, dresses, etc following the exact same flow as above, lightest to darkest fabrics in each category. 

here’s a quick video that explains my visual method of organizing closets.

5.  don’t worry about the “what if it comes back in style?” question.  the truth is oftentimes when things do come back in style 10-20 years later, they’re always better the second time around.  if the item is designer, silk, a fine knit or in perfect condition and you love it but totally out of style for right now (and you’re a trend-oriented person) pull it from your closet and store it in your forget-me-not box.  you should only save items that you absolutely love and in that case, i personally think we should always be wearing the items that we love and look good on us, regardless of whether they’re ‘in’ or not.