Like many of us, Katherine Boury had a 'closet conundrum.'
"I need some help with my closet. I've got a lot of things in there. Things are different sizes, I've still got some stuff probably with some tags on it, and I don't know what I have."
She wanted to make it more user friendly. "The idea of having my closet be a space where I could go any find everything that works would be great."
Enter Jenna Maenhout from Styled Seattle. She's a professional stylist and a closet organizing expert. She shared her tips on a creating a clutter free closet.
STEPS TO A CLEAN CLOSET:
- Remove everything from the closet, one item at a time and make piles. At Katherine’s, we made four piles: Items that fit and she liked, Items that didn’t fit, Items that she wanted to consign, Items that she wanted to donate.
- Pack up anything that does not fit. If it doesn’t fit, you can’t wear it. Be Honest! You don’t have to get rid of these items if you honestly think you might wear them someday. For many clients, simply doing this step makes a huge difference.
- Group similar things together. Most of our clients don’t realize how much they have until they see it all right next to each other (“I didn’t realize I had 9 black cardigans!”). We like to downsize everything by 25%. This mathematical approach is opposite of Marie Kondo’s “Joy” strategy, but it works. Literally count the items and remove your least favorite 25%; you own 12 pairs of jeans? Get rid of 3.
- Put everything back in the closet in a new way. In styling, we call this 're-merchandising' and it helps make everything feel new (it’s why retail stores move things around daily). At Katherine’s, we moved a hanging storage container of scarves to the opposite side of her closet, rearranged her shoes, and organized her clothes by color. This is the fun part! We like to help clients imagine new outfit combinations they’ve never worn before.
- To keep a closet clean, apply the "Plus One, Minus One" strategy. Every time you get something new, take something out. This will ensure you never get overwhelmed again.
Here’s the good news: Once you get started, closet organizing actually goes pretty fast. Katherine’s closet took about 2 hours. So if you’re stressed about getting started, Jenna recommends setting a timer for 1 hour. Allow yourself to fully focus (put away your phone, your email, minimize distractions but it’s ok to have a glass of wine and turn on some music!). Start with a single drawer or shelf, then go to the next and the next. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get through.
Jenna Maenhout of Styled Seattle specializes in closet organizing and styling for busy professionals who need to look polished but may only have a few hours to spare . She offers in a package called "Reduce, Reuse, ReStyle”, which helps clients purge unwanted clothing.
Seattle Goodwill is a great place to donate all those unused items you find in your closet.
Seattle Goodwill is a non-profit organization founded in 1923. We currently operate five Job Training Centers, 24 retail stores, and over 40 donation sites in King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, and Kitsap County. We employ over 2,000 people in our region.