I Organized My Closet With Help From A Pro

Fall is here, so summery tanks, dresses, and sandals will be phased out and relegated to storage in favor of scarves, jackets, boots, and layers. Because of the seasonal change, I decided it was high time to organize my closet for fall, keeping what I need now at hand and storing what I don't. It was a two-tiered process. I purged and I pared things down. Then I hired a professional organizer to help me get my walk-in where it needed to be.

It was a super affordable service, especially for the size.

An organized closet is an important tool when putting together daily outfits. If you don't know what's in your closet or where to find it, you can't make the most optimal choices for your daily ensemble and general fabulosity.

When organizing said closet, mapping a plan in advance is critical. I cannot emphasize that enough. Without a clear plan and without the help and even-keeled nature of my flawless organizer Cory Chamberlain of Honey Bee Organizing, I would have been doomed.

However, this plan also needs to be simple. After failing miserably during previous spring and fall closet organizing sessions, I realized you only need one guiding principle: Keep only what you need, use, and love. Then, declutter, discard, and donate.

Any other weird organization strategies would halt the process entirely.

I learned quickly that I didn't need to get too crazy with what I stored or I would never get anything done, since too many categories would become a headache if a piece fit into multiple descriptions. I had to be ruthless.

The above picture is how my closet looked in the beginning. It was somewhat orderly but lacking a clean, accessible setup. During the consult, Chamberlain noted that my closet wasn't as bad as I thought it was. You could easily get inside and reach things; it just needed a restructuring.

So, here's what we did.

1. Swap Out Plastic Hangers For Huggable Hangers

All the mismatched hangers drove me nuts. As I learned from Chamberlain, cheap, plastic hangers also eat up tons of space. "You can get 50 percent more space by swapping out to Huggable Hangers," she told me. "They streamline your closet, so it looks awesome, too. They come in all colors so you can have fun with them, as well."

She wasn't kidding. I have so much more room now!

I swapped out my plastics for Huggable Hangers, which are sold in bulk at Target.

See how sleek that looks?!

2. Add Cubbies

Since all my dressy shirts, hoodies, dresses, and skirts hang in my closet, I decided I wanted to have cubbies and shelving on the floor so I could store jeans and T-shirts, keeping them out of the way yet at arm's length.

I saved and stored all cute, custom cut tees or graphic tees that were gently worn or unworn. I even added some Arm & Hammer dryer sheets to the cubbies so that the clothes would pick up the super fresh scent while stored.

I also moved my summer dresses, fancy tops, and rompers to the back of the racks, since I won't be reaching for them right now. I pushed all sweaters, hoodies, and warm weather tops to the front.

3. Determine What To Donate

I put anything super gently worn or that I had multiples of in a bag to donate. I edited down my jeans, keeping skinnies and new pairs, while donating those that are still stylish but that I don't often reach for. I tried to stick to the formula that anything I hadn't worn in at least a year should probably go. I had to be really firm and purge things that weren't being utilized.

I also discovered that I had 27 black scarves. Twenty. Seven. Out of those, only a couple had any unique features, like a designer label or skull print. I knew I did not need this many plain black cotton scarves, so I donated a bunch to someone who will get actual use out of them.

I am also working on installing a towel bar on the back of the door to hang the scarves I did keep for easy access.

4. Choose What To Toss

Anything that was janky, losing its shape, smelled a little funky, had sweat stains, or was faded from repeat wear (and not in the good, vintage-y way, either) got the "Bye Felicia" treatment. If I couldn't donate it, due to the condition, it got tossed... sentimentality be damned.

5. Set Small Goals

I did not go crazy with color coding — mostly because the main shades I wear are black and denim. So, instead, I organized by clothing type.

As Cory pointed out, "Set small goals. Decluttering and organizing can be overwhelming. Setting a small goal and accomplishing it is rewarding."

Cory and I placed all my handbags wrapped in dustbags in clear bins. I will eventually put Post-Its in each bin, indicating which bags are stored safely inside.

I stored shoes on the shelves, with sneakers and heels in clear boxes. I made sure that ankle booties and boots were placed above the jeans cubbies. They were out of view, yet easy to locate.

There are the jean cubbies, which off shoe storage, as well. Fall closet organizing is a mental game. You have to go into it with a simple plan.

If you are interested in professional closet organizer packages, contact cory@honeybeeorganizing. com.

Images: Amy Sciarretto (13)