Preparing for a Closet Makeover

   Congratulations. Customizing your closet is a big step, and a very rewarding one. Closets rank as the second most desired dream home feature — second only to a state-of-the-art kitchen — and a fabulous, functional closet can turn the chore of getting dressed in the morning into a pleasant, confidence building experience.

   But before you can create that new dream closet you have to prepare the existing one for its transformation.

   Here are some helpful hints:

   Getting your space ready for your new custom closet install is like cleaning out your closet, but not exactly. You want to empty the closet in stages. This will make setting the closet back up easier, more efficient and a pleasant experience.

   Start by cleaning the room that your closet is in completely before you tackle the contents of the closet. If you have a bed in the room, make it up so that it can be used to lay clothing on to help with decisions.

   Resolve to stay strong. Put aside time in your calendar to go through the closet when you can be uninterrupted. Don’t answer the phone or texts or allow yourself to be distracted.

   Be ready to try on your clothes.

   Plan on dividing and conquering. Most people don’t have the stamina to go through their entire closet effectively in one sitting. By the end of a marathon purge you’ll either be saving everything, or pitching everything because your decision-making process will shut down. Instead, do shoes in one sitting, pants in another, sweaters, etc. Do as many categories in a row as you can, as long as you can do it completely and your decision-making process is still sharp. Sometimes even a short break is all it takes to get back in the groove.

   Pick everything out of the closet that you already know you absolutely love (in the category that you are focused on). For example, pants that you know fit, that you love to wear, that you have things to match, etc.

   If you love it, but won’t need it while you are preparing for your closet install go ahead and bin it. Label the bins by season and by type of item (pants, shorts, etc.). Store them out of the way.

   If you love it but will need it before the closet install is finished, move it to another closet or temporary rack.

   Now for the hard part. The stuff you don’t absolutely “love.” Make these categories by putting a piece of paper labeled like this around the room in different containers or boxes:

    a. Keep
    b. Donate
    c. Swap
    d. Sell
    e. Trash
    f. Move to another location/room in the house [you’d be surprised what you might find in your closet!]

   Have a charity in mind that you’d like to donate to. Keep it simple, maybe Dress for Success for the nicer stuff and an organization that will pick up at your doorstep for the rest.

   To decide if it’s a keeper ask yourself—Do I love it? Is it flattering? Is it the image I want to project? If I were shopping right now, would I buy this? Do I feel confident when I wear this? Have I worn this in the last 12 months?

   If this is damaged in any way (e.g., piling, rips, stains, missing buttons, broken zippers, fading, etc.), will I actually make the effort or pay the money to get this repaired in the near future?

   If it’s for “cleaning,” “mowing the lawn,” etc. limit it to only 1 or 2 of those items. You don’t need a bin full of grubby “just in case clothes.”

   Remember, this is a closet for your current wardrobe, not for memorabilia. Photographs are how you remember those sentimental outfits. You don't need to physically hold on to the item if you're likely to never wear it again.

   Try to keep the piles as separate as possible. Box the donations as you go, bin the things you are keeping, etc. The more organized you are as you go, the less overwhelmed you will be.

   If you get stuck on a piece, put it aside to ask a friend about, and move on to the next.

   Remember, if you can see it, you’re more likely to wear it. Less is more. During this sorting process you will most likely find things that have been lost or misplaced in the closet. By using these organizational tips in combination with your new custom closet, lost and misplaced items will be a thing of the past. You will find it much easier to stay organized in the future. Everything will have its place. This newly designed and organized space is where your day will begin and end, bringing less stress and a sense of balance and harmony to your day!

   Stay focused, the closet of your dreams will soon be installed.

   Once you’ve finished, dream about your new closet. Remember to pick up items you’ll want to use to decorate with, such as, matching bins, mirrors, etc. Matching hangers will bring a cohesive look to your space. Your new closet is going to be fabulous!