I spend a lot of time in closets – and by that, I mean A LOT. Between closet audits and styling sessions, about two-thirds of the time I spend with clients is in their closets. And after having been in 200+ closets, I’ve seen some consistencies in both what works well and what doesn’t. Yes, there are the obvious good things (organizing styles by item type, using one kind of hanger, knowing what fits and what doesn’t), but there are also some mistakes that I often encounter – ones that can damage your clothes, get in the way of your seeing what you have and encourage you to possibly buy more than you need.
Hanging your sweaters can ruin them, it’s that simple. Sweaters on hangers may stretch out of shape and develop the dreaded ‘hanger shoulders’ – an annoying deformity caused by the pointy part of the hanger that makes it look like you’re wearing a weird little shoulder pad. And specifically heavy sweaters can grow in length, resulting in an overly long body and arms.
Can this be fixed? Yes - washing the sweater (or even dampening it and doing a quick toss in the dryer, depending on care instructions) can get it back in shape. Can this be prevented? Definitely, by folding your sweaters on shelves in your closet. The best way to do this is to classify your sweaters in piles, first by weight and then by silhouette. So, you’ll stack all your cotton pullovers together, then your cotton cardigans, then your wool pullovers, then your wool cardigans, etc. And if folded space in your closet is minimal and there’s overflow, as a last resort, you can carefully fold your sweaters over the long part of a pant hanger – this more evenly distributes the weight of the sweater on the hanger, resulting in less stretching.
NOT HANGING EVERYTHING ELSE
One challenge I consistently discover in clients’ closets is not being able to see what they own. We go through their closet during a closet audit, but then they mention everything that’s hiding in drawers – t-shirts, knit tops, sweaters, jeans, etc. And what sometimes happens is that they’re using drawers as storage, not usage. I fully support using your drawers for what makes sense in drawers, like underwear, pajamas and workout clothes – but if it’s at all possible, I advocate hanging everything else. Because when everything is hanging in your closet, your closet becomes your one-stop-shop for getting dressed, as opposed to grabbing a blazer from your closet, but going into one drawer to find a t-shirt and another drawer to see which jeans are clean. Anything you can do to simplify the process of getting dressed will make your mornings less stressful and allow you to enjoy your clothes more.
IGNORING THE ‘SEASONAL SWAP’
Now, I’m not talking about a complete overhaul of your wardrobe every three months, or a full switch out of what’s in your closet. What I’m referring to is simply shifting what’s most accessible to relate to the current/upcoming season. Let’s face it – we’d all love to have a walk-in closet where we can readily view every single thing that we own. But the reality is that many of us have smaller closets than we’d like, so not everything is visible at once.
Here’s my recommendation: twice a year (spring and fall), shift things in your closet around so that the specific season’s items are in the most accessible locations in your closet. Yes, the bulk of your wardrobe should be comprised of season-less styles that you can wear most of the year – but there’s no reason to have your shorts within arm’s reach in the dead of winter, and it’s unnecessary for heavy wool sweaters to be in your way in high summer. So, whether you’re just trading winter tops for spring-weight layers on the easiest-to-reach bars in your closet, or actually putting out of season styles into under-bed boxes, the end result should be that what you’ll wear most often is easy to see and to access. And a huge side benefit of doing a seasonal swap (perhaps even more than the accessibility factor) is that you’ll re-familiarize yourself with last season’s clothes, so that you know what you have and don’t accidentally spend money on what you already own.
And what’s another great thing about shifting your closet for the season? As long as you’re moving stuff around, this is the ideal time to take stock of your wardrobe to ensure that everything still deserves space in your closet. If you’re doing this twice a year, you’ll surely have a wardrobe filled with styles that fit, align with your lifestyle and that you love. Click here for my tips on executing a seasonal swap and other things you can address at the same time.
If it’s time to finally address what’s in your closet (but you’re not ready to do it alone), contact me to schedule a free phone call where we can discuss your needs and create a game plan to revamp your style.