Secrets to Achieving Closet Nirvana

There’s no more valuable real estate in your home than your primary closet space.


You know, the closet attached to your bedroom – the one you begin and end every day in. I’m pretty sure the world would be a better place if everyone owned a custom closet but, alas, a closet custom-tailored to each person’s particular needs isn’t a birthright. Yet.

Until then, here are some simple steps everyone can take that A) don’t cost any money, 2) can be done in short little spurts of time over a period of weeks and, Roman Numeral III) are certain to reduce the number of daily acts of jackassery perpetrated on society by frustrated, disorganized humans everywhere.

Secret # 1 – Everything in your closet should be wearable, right this minute.

• Find another storage area for your out-of-season clothing. There’s no reason to paw past wool blazers and long sleeved cardigans when it’s 98 degrees outside. I flip the closet twice a year, typically in late Spring and late Fall. This is a great time to evaluate your wardrobe. Discard, donate or resell any item you haven’t worn.

• Reposition shoes, handbags and accessories, putting the current season’s items in the most accessible position. In summer, your sandals and straw bags should be easier to get to than your boots and knitted scarves.

• Designate a place (probably in or near the laundry room) for clothing that requires mending or ironing. Once items are cleaned, pressed and ready to wear, they can graduate to your closet.

• If you feel an item is worth holding onto but doesn’t quite fit for whatever reason, it can live with your out-of-season clothing until it, miraculously, does fit. After a few years, no matter how much you splurged on it or how great a deal you scored, you’ll tire of seeing that designer blouse hang there unworn season after season. Eventually, you’ll take it to the repeat boutique in your area and sell it for cold, hard cash.


Secret #2 – Hang like with like

• All your tops should hang together. Likewise, your jeans, trousers, skirts, jackets, and dresses.

• Once you have these five categories established, do what I call a ROY G. BIV. Remember the old mnemonic phrase to help little kids memorize the colors of the rainbow spectrum in order? Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet = the gentleman’s name, ROY G. BIV. Brilliant.
Hang the clothing in each category in this order, adding a section in each for white, black, grey and brown. This is the single most valuable tool you can employ to make your closet look more organized, as well as, actually, be more organized. If you’re not willing to ROY G. BIV, you might as well walk away from the whole project right now.

• Do a quick re-arrange of your tops within each color section according to sleeve length. In other words, your white tops will be grouped from sleeveless to cap to short to 3⁄4 length to long sleeved. Do the same with your black, gray, brown, and the rest of the ROY G. BIV. This final step to Secret # 2 may, at first glance, seem particularly persnickety. But believe me, if you’ve made it this far your closet will be looking so fab you’ll surely want to persnick the heck out of the joint.

Let me state once more – this project needn’t be a huge, sweaty, existential nightmare to be completed all at once. Do a teeny bit at a time and, eventually, you’ll get there. Once your closet is in order it will be extremely easy to maintain. Things that are out of place will stick out like a sore thumb and you will naturally get used to putting things where they belong. And the best part? The next time somebody commits an act of frustrated jackassery, there’s a big chance the somebody might not be you.

The next installment of Achieving Closet Nirvana includes a riveting discussion regarding hangers. As you may have guessed, Joan Crawford was correct.

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