Spring Cleaning. That word literally used to give me anxiety. That is until I spent an evening with the incredible Molly Emerson of The Organizing Act.
I have never been a naturally organized person…just take a look at the photo of my closet below! In fact, organizing is probably something I might be the worst at on my list of talents. This kind of stinks for someone with a TON of clothes and a small NYC closet. As I have gotten older, I have figured out some ways of organizing, or “tricking” myself into keeping things neat. I found that if I made a “home” for items, they would be easier to put away in comparison to items that didn’t have a place to go home to. In NY though, I used to think it was literally impossible for things to all have a “home” since we are all so pressed for space.
I had gotten a little fed up with my closet and reached out to my friend Molly for help. Incredibly, she obliged and came over on a Friday after work to help me. With a little wine, and Molly’s expertise, my closet was transformed. Lucky for my readers, she has given me VIP tips that she only shares with her clients. Check out the closet transformation below!
So this was my closet. I am actually embarrassed to be showing you guys how awful it used to be! The door wouldn’t shut and I would simply keep hanging items on top of items as I hung them up. NOT a good strategy.
This is the way I stored my handbags. Really nicely organized right?! NOT! I have a few designer handbags in there that are literally crying out for help. Also, you can see a sweater poking through the middle. Ridiculous.
To the left on my closet, I stored sweaters in a see through box. Which is actually the ONLY thing I had that Molly recommended. She says to only ever purchase see through boxes so you can always see what is inside. She also taught me how to fold my sweaters and items more efficiently so my sweater game was even stronger! Ha! To the other side of that, I stored a larger sweater that didn’t fit in the boxes, our extra bed sheets, and a yoga matt…awesome.
Now if you thought my closet couldn’t possibly get any worse, you just needed to take a look at the way I stored my shoes. I literally didn’t. I just threw them into the bottom right corner of my closet. SUPER efficient…
After showing Molly the worst of the worst, she assured me that this wasn’t the worst closet she had ever seen. She said that it wasn’t even close to the worst…which was a little concerning but made me feel better about my disorganized self.
After taking in the damage, Molly got to work. She shared with me some very important things to keep in mind. I shared her tips below:
My number one rule is: Don’t keep anything in your closet that doesn’t make you feel amazing. Whether we like to admit it or not, clothing plays a huge part in our lives. Good outfits can make you feel like you can conquer the world! So why would you want to keep something that makes you feel anything less? Plus, if you’re not putting certain items into use, you’re wasting their existence! It took time and energy to create these products and there are many people in this world that would love and appreciate your treasures!
If that doesn’t convince you enough, here are some more reasons people want to keep items, but should not:
- “If I loose 5 pounds, this will look great!” No! You want things that make you feel perfect NOW!
- “My godmother gave this to me…” If you give it away, it doesn’t mean you don’t love her!
- “I’ve had this for 20+ years!” Unless it’s still in flawless condition or you’re DEFINITELY going to pass it down to your children, bid farewell!
- “I’ve never worn, this BUT…” If you haven’t worn it by now, chances are you won’t in the future!
- “I love this, but it needs to be tailored” Unless you’re going to take it to the tailor by the end of the week, say goodbye!
Getting rid of the items you don’t use allows you to let go of your past and discover the present you! Leaving your heart, mind, and home open for new, wonderful experiences.
This was really hard for me to comprehend! I don’t consider myself a “hoarder” per say, but I can always think of an excuse to keep a piece of clothing. As a fashion blogger, I am always trying to re-style an item in a new way. That said, if it doesn’t fit, if I haven’t worn it etc. it really should get kicked to the curb…so we started to take everything out of the closet to determine what I was going to KEEP, GIVE AWAY, OR DISPOSE.
This got easier and easier. When we first started going through things, I was really hesitant. That said, as I started to say “donate” or “giveaway” I felt a sense of weight being taken off my shoulders making the process a lot more fun! I was clearly concerned about this skirt…which I haven’t worn in over a year and a half!
Debating over a denim jumpsuit…note the wine ;)!
This took a little over an hour and a half. Finally, we had made our piles. Now was the time to vacuum the closet and start putting the “keep” items back in. Molly has a great system for this which I also shared below:
Create a home for each object that you keep. If it doesn’t have somewhere to go, then it’ll probably end up on the floor! (I can attest this totally works!)
My Organizing Advice:
- Store like items together.
- Use, buy, or make products that help you store items so you can SEE them. If you can’t see it, you won’t wear it!
- Store clothing vertically so you can easily view all your items and so you don’t mess up piles when reaching for something at the bottom.
- Store items in the color of the rainbow! It looks pretty and you can find things quickly.
- For off season clothing- use clear tubs or bags. (Again, so you can quickly see inside if you need something!) You can also get labels- or both if you’re feeling fancy!
- Include moth prevention treatment for winter sweaters.
- Make sure your items are not stuffed to the max into one certain area. Your items will get wrinkled, they’ll be harder to see, and you won’t want to put them back after doing laundry! Try a new spot for that group of items or buy a new storage option that fits everything you have.
- Organizing is like a puzzle. Sometimes you have to try a few strategies and can be a bit frustrating at times, but the final product is so fulfilling!
TIP: DO NOT go out and buy tons of storage boxes until you’ve cleaned out your closet. You may get rid of lots of things or you may be able to use things that you already have. Once you’ve paired like items together you’ll know exactly what you need to buy. (And don’t forget to measure your space so you know it will fit!)
Piles of clothes and shoes were organized and slowly and surely we began to put things back in! I let Molly work her magic and watched as she completely re-did my system. She asked me questions about what I wore the most to make the system work best for me. Are you ready to see the finished product?
Molly took my sweaters and organized them between my two clear boxes. She also taught me that folding vertically is better than horizontally. This way, you can easily slide out the sweater or shirt you want to wear without disturbing the others. BRILLIANT!
Molly was able to clear up so much space in my closet, that all my nice bags fit perfectly a top my closet shelf!
I no longer have to stack my sweater boxes on top of each other. They now fit perfectly right next to each other. There is even room for that big sweater I had just chillin’ on the left side of my shelf!
Molly took my belts and organized them into a drawer console. I also am storing some of my clutches and extra jewlery!
We added a shoe storage unit that hangs down. Molly was also able to free up a ton of space on the left of my closet to store all my boots and not-as-often worn shoes!
I am so thrilled with the results and I couldn’t be happier with the transformation. Thank you Molly for all your hard work. For those of you in the New York metropolitan area, please reach out to Molly for all your organizational needs. Her rates are the most affordable in the market and her work is totally worth the investment. You can check out her website here. If you mention my blog or my name, you get 25% off!!!
As always, thank you for visiting my blog. I really hope you enjoyed this post and learned a little more about organizing and spring cleaning. My life has been CHANGED. I can honestly attest that it has been a full week since this transformation and my closet still looks like this!!
Finally, I linked out some of the organizational items we used to transform my closet in case any of you want to tackle this on your own!
I hope you found this post helpful! Make sure to follow @theorganizingact for even more organizing tips and inspiration!
Photography by Mackenzie Bell
Thank you to Molly Emerson of The Organizing Act for partnering on this post