Monday, February 27, 2012

Tackling home organization - one shirt at a time...

Back in March, I showed you my new closet interiors.  And at the time, I wasn't ready to talk about my obscene number of clothes, which is most certainly out of control.  But I have finally decided to stage my own intervention.

I have WAY more clothes than I need, but I have zero ability to part with anything - even if I haven't worn it for 2 years and it doesn't fit.  But lately the sheer mass of clothes has been bugging me more and more, and I'm noticing that there are tons of great pieces that I never wear because I don't see them through the chaos. 

(Why do I have so many clothes? I used to work at an office that allowed casual clothes, so I accumulated comfortable shirts and sweaters. Then I switched to an office with strictly corporate attire, and I had to rebuild my wardrobe quickly with a bunch of frumpy office clothes. Then I learned how to make corporate attire work with more fashionable and feminine clothes, so I started to incorporate some better pieces... but still have all the frumpy that came before it. In all of these cases, the clothes are not really "out of style" now, although, they are not really "in style" either. They just are.  I admit that I am a clothes hoarder.)

So yesterday I decided to finally start the overhaul, first tackling the overabundance of tops.  I have two shelves of tops: t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, sweater-type shirts, and so on.  And this doesn't even include the hanging rod of blouses, and another shelf of hoodies and sweaters. 

Previously, they were sorted by sleeve length (short/long/three-quarter length).  The rationale being that I choose a shirt based on weather.

However, there are many work-appropriate shirts that I never think to wear to work, since they are in the "t-shirt" pile, which I generally assume is all casual. 

So yesterday I changed the whole system.  I sorted the tops into two piles: work-appropriate and not-work-appropriate, each getting its own shelf.  Then, I arranged by sleeve length and colour within those shelves.  I'm hoping to now make broader use of all the clothes I own, since it is more obvious what their use can be.

But this doesn't solve the quantity issue.  Since I have such a hard time parting with old clothes, I need real, viable reasons to get rid of them.  So as I sorted them yesterday, I tried everything on.  Anything that didn't fit, went to the donation pile.  But there's a catch - I won't get rid of anything that's too big or too small, because I tend to fluctuate within a 10-pound window of body weight, and need to allow that variation without shopping for all new clothes.  I am ridiculous, I know.  So for now, I only got rid of things that I don't like the fit of.  Like shirts that show my midriff (why was that ever acceptable?) or pants that flare too much (I don't care if fitted/skinny jeans go out of style, I'm committing to them for life, they are WAY more flattering). 

Next, I implemented the hanger trick, which I'm sure you've all heard of.  I turned all the hangers around so they are facing forward, and as I wear something, I will turn the hanger to the "normal" position, of facing backwards.  After a reasonable period (6 months?  One year?), I will have a look at what hangers haven't been turned around, and these are obviously clothes I can live without. 

It's harder to come up with a system for folded clothes.  But I figured it out!  As I folded and organized everything, I put a safety pin through/around the label of each item.  As I wear the clothes, I will remove the safety pins, and will apply the same rules as the hanger trick - if the clothes still have the pins in place after a year, then why am I keeping them?

I think this is pretty ingenious if you ask me!  I also will try and make an effort when choosing an outfit, to choose things I haven't yet worn.  I'm pretty sure that I currently wear the same 7 outfits over and over again, on rotation.  So this will be a way of livening up my outfits too!

Here is what the closet looks like, with everything neatly organized and folded:

Isn't it beautiful?!

Next up is pants and sweaters.

How do your sort/organize YOUR clothes?  Do you have trouble getting rid of old items too?  How do you decide what/when to donate?


  1. I am so proud of you!!! I didn't think you'd ever tackle that huge pile of shirts. It must feel so great to have it sorted.

  2. Thank you! I'm proud of me too! I am actually looking forward to getting the pile slimmed down now. It will feel good to have a smaller, but more refined pile of clothes.

  3. I shared this post at Thrifty Decor Chick's Link-up party! Check out other great closet makeovers and overhauls at