Closet Space

Closet space is an issue for many people, especially the fashion-addicted. I’ve been dealing with a lot of my own closet space issues lately, and I understand how incredibly frustrating it can be.
You see, my closet is like a very small cave. It’s very narrow, very dark, and very deep. The only source of light is a flashlight on a nail that’s batteries keep draining way before they’re supposed to. You have to trip over the stuff on the floor to reach the back, and that only fits about half my stuff. The other half of my clothes are very nomadic. They’re forever travelling between my bed, the laundry (since the cats love to sleep on them and make them all hairy), Mike’s closet, an old chest, and my friends, who thoroughly enjoy shopping in my room. I never know where anything is and I can’t sleep in my own bed anymore. It’s a good thing I’m not single. You’d think by all this I was a hoarder, but I’m not.
I love to get rid of stuff. It sounds horribly cheesy, but I deeply love sharing. I share everything, from stuff to knowledge, and the thing I share most often is clothes. I loan them out and give them away all the time, and quality is pretty important to me, so hoarding isn’t an issue. Needless to say, it’s been very important that I get more space. What’s a girl to do?
I contacted professional organizer Jamie Novak of ivillage to see what she had to say. First of all she said it was great that I was clearing out things that I didn’t wear, so start there. You’ll be surprised to see how small your wardrobe is when you get it down to only the stuff you’ve worn in the past year. You may even discover some great things you forgot you had. It’s like finding 20$ in your pocket, very awesome. I recently found an old Heavy Red skirt from many years ago with straps and D rings to tie it up in the front. I had put it away waiting to find someone who could fix the zipper and completely forgot about it.
What do you do with the stuff you’re no longer keeping? First of all, give it to your friends! A clothes swapping party is a great idea for getting great new stuff while getting rid of things you don’t wear anymore. They’re budget friendly and very fun. This is especially great for when you or a friend has lost weight or become pregnant and suddenly needs lots of stuff in a new size. My friends and I are actually planning on having one ourselves very soon.
A thing about hand-me-downs: don’t dismiss them automatically. You can get some really great stuff from other people. Clothes don’t always have to be new. Once you start wearing them they’d be “used” anyway. Old clothes are like old friends, and they have a history. Just make sure they’re clean!
So you’ve gotten rid of everything you don’t wear, made your friends very happy, and now your wardrobe is about a third its old size. But you still don’t have enough space. What else did Jamie have to say?
Re-think your bar. If your closet is deeper than it is wide, see if it would make sense having it go from front to back along the side. Also consider if it would make sense to add another bar on the inside of your door, if it isn’t the folding kind. Hooks are of course always a good idea; I can never get enough of them. I especially love the removable hooks with the sticky backs that are for hanging coffee mugs etc. in your kitchen, just check to see how much weight they’ll hold before you buy.
A rolling clothes rack inside your closet is another idea. It’s like a rotating tie rack on steroids. This way you can completely fill your closet, but have easy access to everything without stuff getting lost and forgotten way at the back.
And finally, as Jamie said, “think outside the closet.” Out of season clothes and shoes can go into chests and trunks, or storage tubs under the bed.
After reading all this great advice, I still went ahead and bought the armoire I’d always wanted. Jamie said she didn’t believe this was the answer, but I wanted one anyway to fill out my room and look pretty. It’s a beautiful dark wood 3-door armoire with a row of shelves down one side for shoes, bags, and other things. I’m really excited about it. So that’s my solution, what’s yours? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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