As many of you know, I have a slight obsession with all things fashion: clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry… you name it, I love it! I never saw anything wrong with my shopaholic ways until I found myself trying to pack up an apartment practically bursting at the seams with fabulous goods for a 1,000 mile move to our new home in SoCal. 12 Large size wardrobe boxes (and countless other Small and Medium ones for good measure) later, I was finally packed up and prepared to load my precious collection into a POD and begin making my home in a new city.
Fast forward to move-in day in our new town home: a two-story, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath pad with high ceilings and plenty of patio space nestled in the bluffs of my favorite city. Oh, and did I mention it came with abnormally HUGE closets?! Despite having no central AC (a commonality in SoCal beach towns), our 1978 Brady Bunch-style house is overflowing with closet space, a feature that drove us to sign our lease and make the security deposit in the amount of first month’s rent before I even officially accepted the job that would facilitate the move. (A little crazy just for closet space, but given the mass of my wardrobe and other trinkets, it was a must.) Each of the two bedrooms has at least an entire wall of mirrored doors concealing somewhat dated built in shelves and clothing racks, seemingly plenty of space for my collection! Well, that is, until we began unpacking the 12+ boxes…
What we discovered is that, while 99.9% of my clothes would fit (albeit being a little crammed together), it was my enormous shoe collection that would be my downfall. After all, 200+ pairs of shoes (believe me, I counted) plus no shoe organization system equals the amount of chaos of a Macy’s department store after the Black Friday sales. I knew there had to be a solution, and I HAD to make it fit, so it was time to call in the professionals (aka my hyper-organized mom) and head to the store.
Just as a disclaimer, I’ve never been a terribly organized person. I have been known to leave clothes piled atop the infamous chair in my bedroom until gravity or the impending arrival of house guests forced me to break down the monument of my laziness. But, as I wandered through store after store, I found myself enraptured by the variety of the meticulously presented organizational solutions.
Teetering shopping carts full of $300+ worth of everything from plastic storage bins to two varieties of clothes hangers later, and my mom and I were ready to take my disheveled closet by storm! We began by tackling the sheer volume of my clothes: deciding which items to toss, keep, or sell on Poshmark. We only stopped when the toss/sell/giveaway pile stuffed 6 large trash bags. Now that the herd was thinned out, it was time to hang up the rest on the two kinds of hangers we snagged.
Coats, jackets, and some heavily beaded dresses claimed the robust wood variety, while silky slip dresses, tops, and lightweight bottoms filled up the thinner plastic kind. After dividing the masses between closets (work clothes in our bedroom, fun stuff in the guest room dubbed “The Green Room” after the surprising hue of mint paint that swathed the walls) and organizing them by length and type, it was time to sift through the piles of handbags that littered the floor. Mom had the idea of using clear plastic storage tubs (minus the lids) to compile my purses into smart groupings along the topmost shelf of the closet so I could easily search for and retrieve a bag without succumbing to a purse-avalanche in the process. After a flick of the trusty tape measure she kept handy in her purse for such and occasion, we had selected a combination of several medium and small bins for each shelf and got to work. Once all the bags were settled in their bins, it came time to attack the most harrowing of all the piles: The Shoe Collection.
This one deserves its own paragraph due to the sheer volume and effort it took to wrangle it into organized submission. First, there was assembling of the three shoe racks I had bought, plus the three I had moved from our previous apartment. Then, the sorting (finding mates, organizing by style, work vs. fun) and the placing (boots here, sandals there, my prized Sophia Websters on a rack all their own, all with the toe of one shoe facing backwards to maximize precious centimeters of space). It was slowly coming together!
After the shoes were settled, all the other odds and ends went together quickly! Pajamas, sporting clothes, belts, jeans were all sorted into wire mesh drawers my mom had donated to my cause after her own closet reorg. Socks, lingerie, and slippers were nestled into a Target cubby unit I had moved with us. Hats found their spot sprinkled on wall hooks and the shelf under the Bottoms section of the closet. Jewelry was housed in a handy tabletop chest of drawers from West Elm. Sunglasses were set Princess-Diaries style in one of the many built-in vanity drawers of the bathroom.
After working late into the night, and part of the next morning, my mountainous wardrobe had finally come to rest in its new home.
Throughout this whole process, I’ve come to learn that even the sparkliest of obsessions sometimes need curbing, especially when it comes to the sanity of yourself and your pocketbook. I’ve since been embracing clothing rental services like Rent the Runway, and steering my splurges towards the few items I can’t live without. (More on those two subjects to come!) And, so my fellow fashionistas can avoid the struggle when it comes to organizing a wardrobe big or small, check out my list of tips and tricks below!