How to Maintain & Manage Your Closet for Every Day

I created this week's post because I don't verbalize enough how important it is to manage your closet on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

A few simple tasks can make a big difference in the look and vibe of your closet. 

You have a limited amount of time you can spend in your wardrobe, and if everything isn't laid out for you to think creatively, you can't conceptualize an outfit.

Suddenly you're reaching for an outfit that "works" rather than one that makes you feel and look amazing. 

Because of this, regular wardrobe maintenance is an essential. It allows you to bring structure and systems to your closet space, and with these systems, comes order. With order, you envision your outfits more easily, feel more satisfaction when putting outfits together and get clearer on what your style is and where your style's going.

Here are 5 simple tips to turn your closet from a landfill into a secret garden.

5. Return any unwanted gifts. 

I know this seems simple, but I can't tell you the number of times I've been in someone's closet and the conversation goes something like this:

"This doesn't look like the style you're going for. Can we donate it?"
"Oh yeah, that was a gift from my [insert: aunt, ex-boyfriend, friend,mom] and I've never worn it."

Instead of letting unwanted pieces sit in your closet, return them. It may feel like a gift takes up only a little bit of space, but that space can instead be used for something you love or even left as open space! 

The giver had the joy of giving the gift to you. Now it's time to give yourself some joy and exchange it for something you really love. If you're not sure where it's from, stick it in the donate pile for someone else to enjoy. Which brings me to my next point...

4. Have a running give away bag in your closet.
 

I get a lot of questions and assumptions that I must have a ton of clothes in my own closet.

I don't.

I practice what I preach, which means regularly investigating who I am and how I want my clothes to show that. Do I want to feel flirty, edgy, classic, etc...? Maybe all of these things, maybe not.

This thought process inevitably leads me to weed out some pieces in my wardrobe are no longer aligned with who I want to be style-wise.

While something may be beautiful, cute or a piece you once loved, if it doesn't represent you now...put it in the go pile. Perhaps you went through a divorce, gave birth, moved, or had a career advancement...all these life changes contribute to style changes.

When you're actively thinking about the messages behind your clothes, individual pieces in your wardrobe will start to stand out as "not you". When this happens, go with your gut. Add them to your bag, and when its full, donate.

3. Prioritize Spots

I was in a client's closet yesterday and the first thing I noticed was the gym clothes had the prime real estate, right up front and center. The light-weight spring/summer tops were shoved in the back left corner.

While fitness is an essential part of life, you won't ever forget to use your workout clothes.

You will however forget about a summer top in a dark and dusty corner. In your closet, out of sight, out of mind holds true. 

Put the lifestyle essentials like tanks, work out gear and sweatshirts aside. Bring the pieces that can spark your creativity to the most visible spots in your closet. This way you can't forget about them, and you'll be encouraged to use more of your wardrobe. 

2.Invest in an iron and a steamer

There's nothing sadder than pulling out something you're eager to wear only to find out you can't. It's horribly wrinkled, and you don't have time to fix it right now. This will thwart your whole style plan and throw off your day. 

When anything that needs to be ironed or steamed comes out of the dryer, hang it up in a certain section or put it in a particular pile, rather than putting it in it's usual place. Add the task to your to-do list too, so you can easily remember to de-wrinkle each piece on Sunday night. 

Also, it's important you have both an iron and a steamer. Some fabrics are more responsive to one over another, so both will keep your bases covered. 

1. keep a spot for hangers-on-the-loose

So often I walk into a client's closet and each section of clothes has unused hangers stuffed in between each hanging clothing item. The hangers get caught on neighboring clothes, the clothes get caught on neighboring hangers and suddenly each piece is going in its own direction. 

This makes it hard to sift through, hard to see and if you enjoy a beautiful closet, this one is not pretty either. 

When you remove an article of clothing from a hanger, place the hanger in a particular section. This makes it easy to grab when you're hanging up clothes again and creates order in each section.

A look inside my closet and where I keep unused hangers...

Want more info on how to work with the wardrobe you've got to create outfits you'll love for your everyday? Book a Greer Style Chat with Raquel. 

How To Organize Your Closet

Organizing is a key part of developing your style and taking ownership of the space where all your clothes live: the closet. It's easy to let this space slip, because apart from you, possibly me, and maybe your partner, no one sees your closet. It is the fashion equivalent of a junk drawer, but unlike the junk drawer, you have to go into it every single day. 

Any space you have to enter every day is an important one to keep tidy.

In the closet, there are three things you need to do to make your clothes easy to utilize and sift through every morning. I have a clear way of organizing my closet and my client's closets, but for this article, I also wanted to contact a certified specialist who focuses solely on bringing order to you closet, home and office.

Suzanne Holsomback, a professional organizer in Austin, TX, gave me her thoughts on the importance of order, "There are a few reasons why an organized closet is essential. One is that clutter is stressful and anxiety inducing. If one of the first things you do in the morning is enter a stressful place or a place that causes frustration (Ah, I can't find my other boot), then you whole day will be influence by that initial stressor. " 

I could not agree more, which is why my first rule of closet order is:

#1 You must be able to see what you have to use what you have. 

As Suzanne said, one boot should live next to its soulmate (the other boot). Ideally, both shoes should be visible, but both shoes should definitely be easily accessible (i.e. live on the floor under your clothes, not in the hall closet). When you're putting together an outfit, and you're not sure what shoes to wear, you can look down and voila! the perfect shoes appears. 

This rule is important for two reasons. First, as the old says goes "out of sight, out of mind." If your jewelry is stashed under your bed or collecting dust in the bottom drawer of your vanity, you definitely aren't using it. Second, when every piece lives together, you can visualize and create a succinct, stylish outfit.

To make pieces more visible, add stick-on hangers to your closet wall or hang them from an available rack. This is where my accessories live in my closet...

When I walk into the closet, they are front, center and impossible to forget. 

When I walk into the closet, they are front, center and impossible to forget. 

I can easily grab a bag to match any outfit.

I can easily grab a bag to match any outfit.

Everything coexists making an outfit easy to create. 

Everything coexists making an outfit easy to create. 

#2 Organize By Item

If everything in your closet is mixed up, it's easy to pull out an unidentifiable black object only to learn it's not the black skirt you meant to reach for, but rather last year's Halloween costume. 

Here are your categories to organize by: pants, shirts, skirts, sweaters, jackets, blazer, heavy coats, dresses. 

Not only will you not get confused what your reaching for, but you will also be able to go to each section to pull exactly what you want to create your outfit. 

#3 Organize By Color

Often times, we dress by mood, "What do I feel like wearing today?" Although you have your favorite outfits, you may lean towards one over another on any given day. Different days, life events and professional occasions call for us to be multi-faceted, thus our clothing must represent that. 

If I'm heading to an important meeting, I automatically skip my yellow dresses and head straight to the navy and black ones. When I'm all giddy for fall (which I've been a lot lately), I head to my blush and nude tops to pair with tan booties. If I want to wear a powerful color I know looks best on me, I head to the coral dress section. 

Categorizing them by their color makes it easy to create your vision without getting distracted, frustrated or lost in a sea of clothes. Each color pops thus each color is easy to grab.

Want more style and less clutter in your life?

I would love to talk with you 1-on-1 to create a personalized plan of action to help you with your closet woes, style goals and wardrobe wants. 

The Phrase You Should Never Say About Your Clothes

My all-time favorite posts to write are the ones that are inspired by my clients, something I've mentioned before. So naturally, I was super pumped last week when I was in a client's closet and she uttered five words (that I'm about to tell you), which I hear all the time and tell me more about a closet than you can imagine. 

I hear this phrase when Im working in someone's closet, getting to know whats inside. A piece of clothing will jump out at me—something that doesnt belong. It could be a top or a pair of pants, or maybe a skirt, shoes, or an accessory. Whatever it is, I can see from the moment I look at it that it shouldn't be there. 

When I asked about why she owned it, hoping that we could bid it adieu, to send it off for someone who should actually own it, I almost always hear this excuse:

"I just bought it because..."

Those are five little words that tell three things you need to know:

1. YOU DON'T LOVE IT. 

You should always love everything in your wardrobe. Yes, I said it. I know it's a lofty goal, but if you don't reach for the stars, who will?! (I know, that was a little cheesy.)

2. YOUR STYLE SHOULD BE UNAPOLOGETIC.

"Just" is a word that lets me know that you aren't owning it, and with your style, you should be unapologetic. Style is one of the few arenas where pride can be a good thing. Style is expressive and all about you. When I hear you have something "just because," I know that it's not really speaking to who you are. There is something that is better out there. I know this for a fact.

3. PURPOSE AND PASSION ALWAYS HAVE TO COLLIDE.

I see this time and time again: a woman will think she needs a gray t-shirt (for example), so she goes to Target, finds the first gray t-shirt in the store, grabs it and goes. That t-shirt sits in her wardrobe collecting dust, because if you don't love a piece of clothing, it no longer becomes a necessity. Style is what you make of it. It's about guidelines, not rules. 

Yes, function is key in your wardrobe, but your wardrobe should make you feel consistently beautiful, powerful and satiated.

Your closet is a carefully curated collection of pieces you love and love to wear. If you own a piece only because you think you should or it goes with something specific in your closet (example: red t-shirt, red patterned skirt), put it in the Goodwill pile. Chances are I can style something with that red patterned skirt thats much more exciting than that red t-shirt.

Your personality should show in everything you wear, which is why everything you wear should be something special. Want to learn how to trim the unwanted pieces in your closet and build a wardrobe thats only clothes that project who you are and how you want to be seen? Lets chat.

I help you develop your personal style, so you know exactly what to wear, how to wear it, when to wear it. 

The #1 No-No Hiding in Your Closet

My favorite posts are the ones that are directly inspired by my clients.

After I see an unexpected problem in my clients' closets, boom! A blog is born. I am constantly learning and discovering alongside my clients. 

The #1 no-no I'm about to mention is something I've always know was bad though. Little did I know how many women resorted to it as fashion's version of a bandaid that's trying to heal a broken leg. 

The #1 no-no is...

Having one item in many different colors

(i.e. "I thought these shorts were good, so I bought them in navy, black and white.")

My belief...

everything is your closet should be a unique snowflake, just like you. 

Say those shorts are like vanilla ice cream (I'm a big fan of food analogies). All three of those pairs are vanilla ice cream, because in essence, they are the same item.

You can top them with cherries or chocolate chips or whipped cream (aka styling them different ways), but they are all vanilla. 

You are without a doubt missing out on something wonderful: cookies n' cream, mint chocolate chip, butter pecan or rocky road. These bad boys have the toppings inside! #genius

To break it down a few steps further, here are 3 reasons why you should not own 1 pair of shorts or a dress or shoes or a top in 2, 3 or 4 colors...

1. You aren't generic. Your wardrobe should be either.

Your closet is a carefully curated collection of pieces which represents your deeply unique self. To have 3 pairs of 1 thing makes your closet feel more like an Old Navy ad than a creation. You are multifaceted, thus your closet must be too. 

 2. The options are endless. 

There are a billion shorts options in the world, just like ice cream flavors. If a billion options freaks you out though, focus on the options in front of you at the mall or the department store. You don't have to search for 100 pairs of shorts, make a spreadsheet and compare each option. Just graze. If only 1 pair calls to you, only buy 1 pair. Soon enough, you will find another pair, which speaks to you in a whole new way.  

3. Each piece in your wardrobe should be special. 

Everything in your wardrobe should have it's own story and purpose. One time while I was in a photo shoot, the photographer complimented a few pieces I was wearing. With every compliment, I found myself spilling the details of where I got it and when I got it. Every piece in your closet should bear this excitement. To reference "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up", each piece should spark joy. 3 pairs of shorts do not spark joy. Choose your favorite, and give the rest a kiss goodbye. 

And when you need help figuring out how to create a wardrobe that you genuinely love with all your might, contact me. I would love to help you discover how to develop your closet, your style and transform your wardrobe. It is after all, the physical manifestation of your unique self.