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Closet Geeks: Organizers Who Drive Us Crazy

November 1, 2012No comments

You know them, people we read about who like to touch fabric and refold sweaters obsessively. They are the ones who mutter “no wire hangers,” and talk about “plastic’s un-breathability.” Their closets look like Gap store shelves and their boots are buffed and stuffed with cedar shoetrees.

Well organized closet

Fold well and organize by like items and color

Who are they? Those who live by the Dewey Decimal System of perfect library-like closet organization. They alphabetize their music collections and draw outlines on their peg walls for scrap booking tools. They do not have expired food dates on a single item in their refrigerator or bags of batteries and light bulbs sitting around for the county recycling program, either.

I’m talking about super closet organizers with perfect wardrobe storage. If your drawers don’t have glass fronts, or pull out bins and you find moth holes on occasion — there’s help for you here. Follow this easy step program to style your own wardrobe storage from a professional stylist.

Clear Out

Every closet has those hidden “hidey holes” that store a scrounged up sweater or t-shirt. Empty every single nook and cubbyhole onto your bed and pile every thing by category. All t-shirts in one pile, all blouses in another, and all sweaters in another. Take all the hanging items and do the same thing by separating into piles by type.

Remove all the shoes and stack by function, meaning all boots together, all pumps together, and/or all athletic shoes together. Or group by work shoes and casual shoes.

Review Keepers

Go through every pile and examine each item that is there and ask yourself these questions:

1) Does this fit me? If not, donate it.
2) Is this repairable? If not, donate it.
3) Is this in style? If not, donate it.
4) Is this collectible? If not, donate it.
5) Have I worn this in the last two years? If not, donate it.

Cause Donation

Check in your community to see if there is an organization that is looking for slightly used wardrobe for those in need. Otherwise, donate to various charity groups such as Salvation Army or Goodwill and look into a tax write off with your tax accountant.

Sentimental Journey

Tightly packed closet

Keep like items near each other in your closet.

Limit yourself to five or six items to keep for the long term such as bridal gowns, couture clothing, or that first date sweater you wore. Take them out of your daily closet rotation and store them elsewhere for safe keeping. Allowing yourself a few mementos should relieve the tension of giving away others that are not as important to a worthy cause. Take a picture of these items for your tax returns and for your memory file — it will help relieve the urge to store them for sentimental reasons.

Repair and Refold

Every single item needs to be refolded or re-hung and placed back into your closet with care. Make sure every item is clean. So now your reduced pile will feel like a gift — the smaller the better so that everything will fit back into your closet without stuffing them into a cramped space. Leave room for new purchases throughout the next year.

It turns out that wire hangers aren’t the best for clothing because they are thin and droop after a while. The best hangers for jackets are broad shouldered versions in either wood or plastic and the best for delicate fabrics are fabric covered hangers.

At the very least, buy a couple of packets of thicker plastic hangers, which can be found at the big box retailers. Recycle all your wire hangers at a local drycleaners. Recycle all your dry cleaner bags because yes, the closet geeks are correct: plastic is not a good option for storing clothing long term.


Hang like items together and stack shoes and t-shirts so you can see them. One of my shoe-obsessed friends took a Polaroid of every shoe she had and taped them to the outside of clear organizers so she could quickly find her shoes. Another one of my friends stuffed every shoe with rolled newspaper to absorb the smell and help the shoes hold their shape. Boxes are great for stacking but cardboard can attract bugs so keeping them in fabric or plastic bins for the long term.

Guess what? The fact that you just reorganized your keepers in your closet will mean that you will wear more of your items more frequently. Suddenly, it’s as if a wardrobe stylist just downsized your stuffed closet to a manageable and very wearable collection. Looking for more tips? Check out this recent article “The Great Divide” from the New York Times.

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