STYLE: The Perfect Closet and Wardrobe

I’ve noticed a lot of articles and blog posts out there that have an exciting headline advertising how to minimize your wardrobe down to only so many hangers or how an author purged almost everything they owned from their closet. After reading and researching how to actually accomplish this, I was fairly disappointed with the information available. I mean, this is a hard task! It’s daunting. It’s downright scary! So I took a little bit of information from here and there, tried it all first, and then compiled a complete how-to for everyone out there that wants to finally clean out their closet, get rid of the old stuff, and organize it properly once and for all.

The Perfect Closet

I recommend dedicating a weekend to accomplish this project from start to finish. With this how-to you can reinvent your wardrobe and organize your closet all at once. Start your favorite playlist and let’s get going!

STEP 1: Take Everything Out
Take everything out of your closet. Everything. The best advice I can give for this initial step that will set you up for success is this: borrow a clothing rack from a friend or snag a cheap one from a garage sale that you can resell later. Hang all your clothing up, lay out what you have to on the bed, and line your shoes up against the wall.

The neat freak in me almost fainted after Step 1 was completed, but it has to be done. There’s no going back at this point.

STEP 2: Fix Up Your Space
Now that the closet is empty it’s time to fix things up a bit! Wipe down your shelves and baseboards. Fix anything that is broken and freshen things up with a nice coat of paint.

My AC unit is over my master closet (great spot for a leak, by the way) so I had my annual service completed while the closet was empty. Once the AC was all fixed up, I fixed the broken shelf I’ve been conveniently ignoring for 2 years. I then cleaned the baseboards and shelves. After that, I touched up the paint on the shelves and I painted my entire closet with a fresh coat of paint. The last thing I did was treat for pests with a common household pest spray.

STEP 3: The Initial Purge
This is where it starts to get overwhelming for a lot of people but I assure you it is easy if you just follow the basic rules.

The Rules: What Has to Go

1. Damaged Items – Anything with a rip, tear, or any other damage should be removed from your wardrobe.
2. Clothes That Don’t Fit – Clothing that doesn’t fit should also be removed from your wardrobe.
3. Lifestyle Changes – If something doesn’t fit your lifestyle anymore then it needs to be removed as well.

That’s it for this step! Just go through everything piece by piece and look at it with a critical eye. If you wouldn’t buy it in the condition it is currently in then it needs to go into the good-bye pile!

I know you’re probably wondering what to do with those items you’ve purged. Just hold onto them for a few more steps!

STEP 4: Reimagining Your Wardrobe
At this point a lot of people would just throw their stuff back into the closet. But, if you want to have a truly functional wardrobe with half the clothing then there’s more work to be done! I like to follow Audrey over at Putting Me Together’s advice on wardrobe building. Her advice is to have key pieces in your wardrobe that are interchangeable and mixable. Shop from your current clothing and find the following pieces to add back into your closet.

The Starter List

1 – 2 neutral colored tops
2 – 4 solid colored tops in your color palette
2 – 4 patterned tops in your color palette

everyday jeans in medium or dark wash
1 pair of neutral colored pants
1 pair of neutral colored pants or 1 pair in a secondary color

1 solid neutral colored skirt
1 solid neutral colored skirt or 1 skirt in a secondary color
1 – 2 printed skirts in your color palette

1 solid neutral colored dress
1 solid neutral colored dress or 1 dress in a secondary color
1 – 2 printed dresses in your color palette

Completer Pieces
2 neutral completer pieces
2 completer pieces in your color palette
denim jacket

If you follow this list, you should have 26 items max in your closet at this point. The rest of your clothing that goes back into your closet should be versatile, fit your lifestyle, and be in good shape.

I highly recommend Putting Me Together if you need wardrobe help. Audrey is amazing!

STEP 5: Shoes, shoes, SHOES!
You know, for someone that doesn’t have a lot of shoes, I sure had a lot of shoes. I went through my shoes and kept only the ones that were in good shape and then got rid of half. I kept 5 pairs of heels: black evening heels, black casual heels, brown heels, a wedge, and a conservative heel. I also kept my flats for work, 1 pair of Chucks, 1 pair of Nike’s, 2 pairs of sandals, and a pair of flip flops. All 4 pairs of my boots made the cut because, well, I love them all!

I kept only the shoes I wear consistently (even though it is a lot of shoes). There are a ton of “Must Have” lists out there for women’s shoes but the best thing you can do is keep the ones you wear often, enjoy wearing, or are comfortable.

STEP 6: Accessories
Now that you have your wardrobe completed and your shoes picked out it’s time to minimize the accessories. Look at belts, bags, and scarves. If something is unworn or damaged then it’s time to get rid of it. If you have duplicates then just keep one.

My belt collection was a little heavy so I thinned it down to four and kept a black one and a brown one for pants and a black one and a brown for dresses. I only kept three bags: an animal print cross body, a medium size black purse, and a striped bag. Those three coordinate with everything I own so I have a bag no matter what size I need. I got rid of all but 4 scarves. I kept two fashion scarves and 2 winter scarves and all are in coordinating wardrobe colors.

STEP 7: Storage Solutions
You should carefully consider storage solutions now that you’re ready to put your clothing and accessories back into the closet. Check out my favorite solutions by following the affiliate links below.

Shop Storage Solutions

Padded Hangers – Ideal for delicate fabrics.
Velvet Hangers – Perfect for saving space.
Wooden Hangers – Used for suit jackets or blazers to maintain the shape.
Plastic Hangers – My personal favorite is the versatile crystal cut hanger.

Baskets & Boxes
Basket Set – Ideal for belts, scarves, and shoes.
Closed Storage Box Set – Perfect for shoe storage. 
Open Storage Box Set
 – Storage for easily accessible daily items such as belts, scarves, or clutches.

Scarf Hanger – A hanging solution for numerous scarves.
Over the Door Hooks – Multiple hooks for ample storage.
Over the Door Hook – A simple over the door hook for a bag or tomorrow’s outfit.

Jewelry Organization
Closed Over the Door Storage with Mirror – A large storage option complete with mirror.
Open Over the Door Storage – Ideal for showcasing accessories.
Hanging Organizer – An inexpensive option perfect for closets with bi-fold or sliding doors.

Storing everything properly will ensure that you can see it and utilize it. Properly storing your wardrobe will also decrease the chances of wrinkles or damage.

STEP 8: Hang Clothing Accordingly
Every closet is different and so is every person. You’ll have to carefully consider your space when organizing your closet. The best general advice I read is to treat your closet as a store front or boutique and organize it accordingly. By keeping clothing spaced out you will be able to see what you have and picking what to wear will become easier.

I put my everyday shoes and bulky boots down low for easy access and my heels up high. My work clothing was given prime real estate down the longest side of the closet and was organized into sections by clothing type and then each section was ordered by color. Tee shirts were hung down low to deter daily use. Sweaters and jeans were folded and accessories were put where they made sense. Belts are used daily and often so they are easily accessible by the jeans and dresses while purses went up high since I don’t carry them often. A small jewelry box was set on a shelf to store necklaces. rings, and earrings.

STEP 9: Decorate
Set your shoes and purses out like a boutique. Hang your jewelry up. If you have space, hang a fashion print or inspirational quotes up. Decorate your space just enough to make it feel inspiring and important. Being happy when you dress yourself is a great way to ensure a fantastic day!

STEP 10: What to do with Everything Else
Remember your good-bye pile from Step 3? Now it’s time to take care of that!

Sell what you can and get some money back! People are making more money than ever by selling through Facebook Yard Sale Groups or at a resale shop. There’s always traditional garage sales, eBay, and Craigslist. Donate to your local shelter, dress for success program, or Goodwill and help someone less fortunate. Trash the things that are damaged or stained.


One Final Thought…
I was able to get rid of half of my clothing by using this intense closet clean out method. I now have only 40 hangers dedicated to my work clothing, 3 hangers for special occasion dresses, and only 10 hangers for weekend tee shirts. I have so many more outfits to find and wear now that my space is usable and organized. I truly hope that this how-to helps you declutter and organize better as well.

Did this help you out? Don’t forget to comment below and share!