fashion,  lifestyle

How I Tackled the Chaos in My Closet

A few years ago, I learned about minimalism, I read blogs about ‘capsule wardrobes’ and learned about people who only owned dishes. The concept was uncomfortable, yet I was intrigued because minimalism is so unlike me. I had to ask myself if I was missing something.

Is Less More? 
I concluded minimalism wasn’t for me, but neither was maximalism – I was somewhere in between. I read Marie Kondo‘s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing a few years ago. I re-learned how to fold my t-shirts and cleaned out my closet. Everything looked great, and then life happened. Years later, the dust settled, and grad school was (finally) over. This was the year it was time to tame the chaos.

For YEARS I depended on large plastic drawer systems. I used them all over the house. They’re cheap and easy to assemble, but were they serving my needs? No. It took me longer than it should have to realize I needed to change my approach to organization.

(Help!) I need somebody (Help!) Not just anybody
I had toyed with the idea of hiring an organizer for a while. I hesitated because in my previous (and failed) attempts at organizing before – I always resorted back to my old ways. One of the issues I had with Marie Kondo’s Kon Mari method, was that there were so MANY steps and a great deal of time dedicated to parts of organization that weren’t important to me. I was hesitant about hiring a professional because organizing was such a struggle. I wasn’t keen on the idea of having someone “help me organize” – it was hard for me to see how someone else’s organizational practices would fit in with me. What if it makes organizing even harder for me?

I was hesitant about hiring a 
professional because organizing was already such a struggle. I wasn’t keen on the idea of having someone “help me 
organize” – it was hard for me to see how someone else’s organizational practices would fit in with me. What if it makes organizing even harder for me?

Around the holidays, a friend of mine talked about how she was getting some help from an organizer. I saw a few pictures and I was impressed by the realistic approach to organizing.

The Name of the Game
Realistic organization was the name of the game. Lucky for me, Stefanie Jones is The Realistic Organizer. Stefanie came over and that’s when the real fun began. We spent three hours purging my closet. We went through every item in my closet and had three piles: donate, keep, toss, and alter/mend. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to detach myself from my clothes and shoes.

Bags Always Fit
Where I started to have trouble, was when it came to my handbags. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been mesmerized by the power of a good handbag. My obsession started when I was four, I carried around a tiny Louis Vuitton handbag – and the rest is history.

Before working with Stefanie, I had already started the process of editing my closet. Week over week, I’d add more clothes to the donation box in the corner of my room. What’s great about Stefanie, is that she works with multiple organizations that depend on donations.

I’ve always had an issue with getting caught up in where to bring my donations, and I’d get distracted by completing the donation process. When Stefanie mentioned she worked with local organizations, something clicked – I was re-energized about donating, and I donated more than I normally would, knowing Stefanie’s process made more sense than mine. I would usually keep donations in my room (or car) for far too long.

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Let’s Shelve That… 
After I showed Stefanie my closet (I was thankful she didn’t show the shock I felt when I looked at my closet) she told me that my closet type of the hardest of closets to keep organized. My closet has one long shelf and a bar to hang my clothes on – that’s it. That might work for some people (i.e., my husband) but it certainly doesn’t work for me.

Stefanie and I evaluated my current system and what I was currently using for organization. We traded in my plastic three-drawer carts for a more functional and way more stylish organization system.

One of the not-so functional (or stylish) three-drawer plastic carts.

Battle of the Bags
Even after editing my handbag collection, there were still quite a few pieces. We found a shelving unit that fit perfectly inside the nook in my closet, which utilized space much better.

This nook never looks so chic!

The existing shelf in the closet wasn’t taking advantage of all of the vertical space above the shelf. As you can see, everything is just piled up there.

The shelf needs some help!

Stefanie suggested shelf organizers, which created extra shelving.

Finally making use of vertical space on the shelf.

We doubled-down on taking advantage of the vertical space, by adding two acrylic 3-compartment organizers for my smaller handbags. I love that these organizers are clear. One of the biggest issues with my closet was that I couldn’t see all my items – which meant I wasn’t using my items as much as I would have. It sounds silly, but I didn’t realize how important it was for me to be able to see my items. Seeing my items makes getting ready in the morning much easier. It also makes staying organized much easier – no more digging around to find things!

Boutique Chic! Seeing all of my things makes getting ready easy – shopping my shelves has become a new pastime.

Reduce – Reuse – Recycle
Aside from donating clothing, working with Stefanie was great because she helped me evaluate if any of the organization items I already owned could be used in the newly organized space. I was excited that there were able to use a few things that I already had. We moved my shoe rack inside of the closet and it worked perfectly. Stefanie’s helped me find an organization system that worked for me.

If the shoe (rack) fits – keep it!

No more chaos in the closet
It’s been about five months since I worked with Stefanie. Since then, I’ve kept things pretty much intact. I did add a step-stool (not shown) so I could reach the bags and clothes on the top shelves. I’m so happy I decided to work with Stefanie. I’ve been much more cognizant about what I bring into my closet – or into my life.

I thought it was important to talk about organizing my closet for a few reasons. The first reason being it’s something that I deal with day-to-day. When my mind is clear, I am a better person. This process definitely helped me see that. How do you feel about organizing? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to ask me directly, leave a comment below, or leave a comment on social. If you want to learn more about Stefanie, feel free to check out her website, here: The Realistic Organizer.


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