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Your Personalized Dressing Room
by Dana Lynch

Whenever I give seminars, I’m always asked “what is the best way to organize my closet.” Since it’s spring and time to make the seasonal closet switch, this month’s tip is devoted to closet organization. If you have a tiny closet that constantly frustrates you, you might consider a remodel; however, the tips I’m offering up today are ones anyone can use to create a more Zen-like closet.

There are certainly a lot of benefits of an organized closet, but the best one is that when you can easily see all of your clothes and access them effortlessly, it is infinitely easier to get dressed in the morning! Hence, taking the stress out of getting dressed!

Never forget, your #1 goal in closet organization is to make everything visible and accessible in your closet.

Imagine your closet as your personal dressing room. It should only be filled with clothes and accessories that you love and that reflect you.

Take everything out of your closet that isn’t wardrobe related, i.e. vacuums, sporting equipment, luggage, photo albums, etc.

If you must share your with your significant other, make sure his things don’t start creeping into your designated space. (If possible, see if he will use another closet. It can’t hurt to ask!)

Be totally prepared!

The first step in a closet organization is to make a list and shop for all of the things you’ll need for ultimate efficiency. Your list might include:

-Shoe rack
-Hangers
-Step stool (so you can actually reach those shelves above the hanging bars)
-Under bed storage box for storing out of season clothing.
-Clothes hangers
-Belt hanger
-Scarf hanger
-Hooks/mug rack that can be mounted on the walls for hats, purses, etc.

The Container Store has everything you could ever need and then some! (Similar items can also be found at Target and on line.)

Get to Work

To really see the space you have to work with, take everything out of your closet. While it is empty, vacuum, clean the bars and shelves, and consider painting the walls a beautiful color.

Be sure to get rid of all of your empty wire hangers and the plastic dry cleaning bags. You’ll be surprised how much room you’ll free up when they’re gone. (Wire hangers are terrible for your clothes!)

If getting rid of the wire hangers would leave your clothes on the floor, you’ll need to buy some hangers. Crystal clear plastic, black plastic or wood hangers are best for your clothes. Be sure to get enough for your tops, jackets, skirts and pants.

Store your out of season clothes and shoes somewhere besides your working closet. If you don’t have an extra closet or basement, storing the seasonal things in clear, plastic boxes under your bed is handy.

Organizing What Stays

I suggest hanging your clothes by category. Within top and jacket categories, organize by sleeve length from sleeveless to long sleeves. Next organize each garment type by color-light to dark, then prints.

An alternate way to organize your closet is by outfits, hanging all garments of an outfit together. Be sure to document the outfits to remember them after laundry or dry cleaning.

When you only have one straight hanging rod, start with sleeveless tops at one end working to jackets, then skirts and finally pants.

If you really want to simplify getting dressed in the morning, be sure to segregate your “weekend onlyapostrophe and formal wear. It doesn’t make sense to flip through things you’ll never wear to work when you’re in a rush in the morning.

Accessories Access

Put your shoes on a shoe rack. Your space will dictate the type you choose. If you have enough shelf space, you can use clear shoe boxes labeled with a description or a photo of the shoe. The main point is to get them off of the floor, where they can easily get mixed up.

Hang your scarves on a scarf hanger. It’s difficult to remember to wear scarves when they’re in drawers.

If accessorizing is difficult for you because you can’t see what you have, consider putting all of your accessories and jewelry in your closet, a.k.a, your dressing room. A very easy solution is to put the jewelry you wear with a specific outfit in a heavy duty zip lock bag and hang it over the hanger’s hook. Another solution is to hang a cork board or bulletin board in your closet, and hang your jewelry on decorative push pins.

The Finishing Touch

Once your closet is super organized, you can dedicate your time to making it attractive and comfortable, so you will be that much more motivated to create new outfits from what you already own.

Here are a few ideas:

Store loose items such as tights in fun hat boxes.
Hang pretty pictures, favorite quotes or photos of your favorite outfits.
Add a pretty chair and light fixture.
Check out http://gracemagazine.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/a-peek-inside-celebrity-closets/ for more inspiration and dare I say over the top decadence. A girl can dream! (While I believe wardrobes that large are wasteful, the closets are still beautiful.)

While every closet has its unique challenges, I hope I’ve given you some ideas to get started with your closet make-over. When you have everything organized and easily within reach, you’ll find yourself better dressed. You’ll be inspired by your clothes, able to accessorize with ease, and you’ll get dressed each morning stress free and ready to conquer the day!

About the author:

Dana Lynch is the owner of Elements of Image and a wardrobe consultant specializing in taking the stress out of getting dressed and teaching professional women how they can use the power of image to gain an edge in the workplace. Visit http://www.elementsofimage.com/ for more information and to subscribe to Dana’s e-Style Tip of the Month or contact Dana at 303-463-4839.