March 2014

Home Section: Out of the Closet

Author: Rebecca Edwards

Quick Quiz:
-Has your closet taken on the personality of the Muppet character Sweetums?—You know the large, hairy ogre who towers above his human and Muppet co-stars with his bulldog-like lower jaw, thick eyebrows, and threatening expression that belies his more or less genial nature?

-Do you find you are constantly digging—seemingly archeologically—for stuff like a pair of mittens, that photo album from high school or the cuff links to your once-a-year-obligatory tuxedo?

-Feel the need to wear a hazmat suit (due to dust bunnies) or helmet (in fear you might be impaled by an overhead container or piece of luggage) when rummaging through your closet?

-All the above?

Okay, it’s cool. You’re not alone. But for the sake of all that’s organizationally holy, get out of the closet and into the modern age of organization. Contained within the confines of the Hilton Head/Bluffton area there are some super spick and span and spatially gifted people to help you get there. For one, there’s Stella Lee-Anderson of Nitty Gritty (nittygrittyorganizing.com). “As a family, we moved a lot–over 30 times,” Lee-Anderson said. “Suffice it to say, I spent many hours playing in the garage with my boxes of treasures. In my teens, I started volunteering for different causes, which created my love for helping people to solve problems.”

Then we have Christa Conley (facebook.com/christa.l.conley). “My purpose in all is to empower, inspire and boost self-esteem and to make others realize just how much they are to this world,” Conley said. Conley helps her clients transform their closets into “personal boutiques.” She encourage you to try wallpapering the walls, matching fabric, hiding clothing racks, having a color scheme, camouflaging jewelry safes, installing a wine fridge or coffee maker, and putting greens around. “You name it. It’s all about making your closet more organized and more personalized. Oh, and don’t forget your swanky chandelier for any-sized closet—small and inexpensive are easy to find. And, add a rug.”

Last but certainly not least, there are Jennifer Kronimus and Dana Spires of Just Dress Me (facebook.com/JustDressMe). “We just want you to fall in love with your closet and your wardrobe,” Kronimus said. “We want your closet to be an extension of you. We want you to spend time in your closet, feel comfortable, maybe even pour a glass of wine and enjoy getting ready there.”

Collaboratively, these de-cluttering divas have helped compile a list of closet makeover tips that will transform your closet into a haven of tidiness. (Hasta luego Sweetums, hazmat suits and helmets. Hello, your new favorite happy place.)

10 Tidy Tips

Make the most of rings, hooks and hangers. Lee-Anderson hangs her purses on shower curtain rings and advises you to “hang up once-worn clothes to air on a hook.” As far as hangers are concerned—satin for delicates, wooden for blazers or heavy jackets and check out felt Huggable Hangers®. “Use the same hangers for each section, get rid of yucky hangers, and if it’s a classic piece spend the money on a good hanger, like a velvet one,” Kronimus added.

Be seasonal and situational. Put out-of-season clothes up and away and have a few go-to outfits already assembled and on the hanger. For their clients, Kronimus and Spires create a “Go To” section of ready to wear outfits matched with accessories and (get this!) a look book of you in the outfits.

Peg or pin it. A mounted pin or pegboard inside your closet doors will give you an accessible, yet out of the way accessory station. One of Kronimus’ favorite elements in her closet is “a piece of burlap framed by a black distressed frame. It was from TJ Maxx or Marshall’s and cost $20. It’s super cute and great for displaying my jewelry.”

Think like an architect. Build your palace of organization with baskets, boxes and bins. Also, remember this jingle “shelf dividers prevent leaning towers” for all folded items. Kronimus added, “Think about how to also build around your garments—for example high bars for long maxi dresses.”

Reduce and reuse. “Having up and down sizes? Put away the clothes for a year. If you have not met your goal by then, consign the clothes for ones that fit you now. Holding onto clothing that doesn’t fit is just another guilt creator. Feel good in your clothes as you are now!” Lee-Anderson said. “Try not to have redundant items in one place. Too many rolls of scotch tape and scissors are unnecessary. Instead, put them in a container as supplies and put in your office area or storage,” and “use what you’ve got because you’ve got a lot.”

Go easy on the eyes. Try transparent containers and make everything visible and reachable. “You forget what you have,” Kronimus said. “If your closet isn’t very big, only put out the things that mean something to you. Also, think about how you stand in your closet and have items face the same way and toward you.”

Be creative. “Use the walls,” Conley said. “Crown molding for high heels, crates and baskets on walls for scarves, bulletin boards for jewelry, and shelving above racks.”

Love your label maker in moderation. Label makers are a great way to classify things but “try to avoid the sub, sub, sub, sub categories,” Lee-Anderson warned.

Capitalize and categorize. “Using your vertical space is definitely a must. There is a lot of wasted space in closets,” Lee-Anderson said. “Sometimes I will chime, ‘Which one of these is not like the other’ when I’m organizing.” Put every inch of your closet to work and strategically arrange your items by season, color or type of garment. Your doors are also fair game for over-the-door racks, a mounted full-length mirror, etc.

Step it up. Stow a stepladder to get to hard to reach items. 

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