Category Archives: Closet Cleaning Tips

Tips on how to keep your closet in perfect order

What to do with your unwanted clothes

image from LookingFly

Can you believe it’s the middle of March already? I’m not complaining, but wow, the months just fly by. This got me thinking about spring cleaning and how my own closet could use a spruce-up. Which then got me thinking of what I’m going to do with my unwanted clothes. I often opt for donation–which I also recommend to clients–but there are other choices out there for sure. Cue the list!

1. DONATE.

Stores: Goodwill, Housing Works, Out of the Closet, local thrift stores

The deal: This option is best if you just want to GET RID OF IT. You can get a tax deduction for your goods if you ask for a receipt, but that also means you have to roughly itemize and price out what you’re donating. This can be time-consuming, especially if you have bags and bags of stuff. Some locations offer pick-up services, but you have to check on whether this is offered in your area.

Upside: it’s for charity, they take almost anything, will sometimes pick up

Downside: no cash back

2. SELL.

Stores: Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, Beacon’s Closet

The deal: If you’re looking to make a little cash back from the items you spent money on, there are a few ways to go about this. First is a ‘cash for fashion’ option like the ones listed above. These are re-sale stores that will pay you in cash or trade on the spot for the pieces they are willing to accept. But know going in there that they are not obligated to take anything… and some can be a lot snobbier than they seem. For example, hipster haven Beacon’s Closet won’t take Gap. But they love Diane von Furstenberg. Also, the money or credit you receive is not even close to what you probably paid retail. But at least it’s better than nothing. Be sure to call ahead and ask which seasons they’re currently accepting before carrying everything over there.

Upside: you can get cash or credit (albeit a penance)

Downside: no pick-ups, they can be picky/bratty about what they take

3. CONSIGN (in store).

Stores: Michael’s, Fisch for the Hip, 2nd Time Around

The deal: A consignment store will take your goods, sell them for you, and offer you a (small) portion of the sale. With this option, you can often get more for your item than you would by selling it to the store right away. However, your item has to be bought by a customer in order for you to get anything for it.

Upside: more $$ for your stuff

Downside: they often prefer designer items, your piece has to sell in order for you to make money

4. TAKE TO THE INTERWEBS.

Sites: The Real Real, PoshMark (app)

The deal: Consigning online is becoming increasingly popular, mainly because it’s so much easier than schlepping your stuff to a brick and mortar store. The Real Real is a site that re-sells your items online.  You can either send your stuff via mail, or choose their ‘white glove’ pick-up service if you live in NY, LA, or SF. The Poshmark app is a little more hands-on, allowing you to photograph and post items in your closet for sale.

And there’s always good ol’ eBay. Pretty self-explanatory, but can be challenging if you are a first-time seller, as you won’t have a score that potential buyers can reference (to make sure you’re not shady).

Make your closet a happy place

I talk a lot about closet organization. It’s a huge part of my job. A thoughtfully edited, organized wardrobe is crucial to your style health. That said, the state of your actual closet space (sans clothes) needs some TLC too.

I recently re-located to the West coast (still serving clients back East, rest assured) and am in the midst of unpacking boxes and decorating my home. I’m lucky enough to have more closet space than I did in NY, but these closets need a lot of work. This got me thinking–and Pinteresting–some good ideas for how to make the space a happy, pretty place.

If you have a Saturday afternoon free and want to get a little artsy craftsy, here are some ideas to try. Just remember to improvise with the space that you’ve got!

COLOR. Paint is quite simply the easiest way to transform the look of a room, or closet in this case. Experiment with painting the walls and/or shelves in a bold color. Or if that’s too much of an effort, try just painting the rod. This will offer a fun, unexpected pop .

1

PRINTS. If you want to take it a step further, wallpaper is an exciting option. You can wallpaper the closet walls, or just use as a shelf lining. I’m partial to black and white prints, like this funky bamboo one.

INSPIRATION PICS. One of my clients did this in her closet and I thought it was pure genius. She reserved a space on the inside door for all the magazine tears that inspired her style. That way, she had a daily reminder of what she loved.

JEWELRY ON DISPLAY. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. Use your jewelry as art! Put it on display in or near your closet. There are so many ways to try this. You won’t be disappointed.

FLOOR CANDY. Finally, think about a small rug on the floor, if you have the room. For walk-in closets, this can keep your feet warm while picking out the day’s ensemble. If you have a smaller closet, a rug can serve as an exciting accent.

Do you have any cool ideas for making over your closet? Do share!

In the closet with Dr. Oz’s YouBeauty

I did a closet overhaul for Dr. Oz’s YouBeauty to showcase my insider tips on how to re-style your closet… and it’s live today!

Check it out, along with a whole gallery of cool pics.

YouBeauty’s writer, Rachel, was a dream client with an already fabulous closet, so I can’t take credit for all of it. She was open to all of my new ideas, and we ended up making a bunch of fresh ensembles for both work and play.

Are you interested in getting your closet re-styled? Contact me for a complimentary consultation. I will answer all of your burning questions, and discuss with you the best route we should take. Fall is swiftly approaching; you don’t want to wait it out a whole other season, do you?

Thanks, YouBeauty!

Closet fantasies

Pacific Heights Residence traditional closet

Do you know about Houzz.com? I’ve mentioned it before when discussing jewelry storage options. It’s a great site (and app!) for interior design ideas. I came upon this post on ideal closet situations for the serious fashionista. While a luxurious walk-in is a fantasy to most, there are some good guidelines that those of us with barely a foot of closet space can abide by.

Here are the things you really do need:

Full-length mirror.

If you don’t own one, you should. Even if you are going through the ‘I don’t want a full-body shot of me right now’ phase, it’s still crucial that you get the head-to-toe glance of your ensemble before anyone else does. Think of it as a safety precaution. You have to make sure there isn’t anything stuck to the seat of your pants before the dude behind you on the street is obligated to point it out. To his friends.

Light.

The post mentions natural light as the ideal source, which is true. However, if you can’t achieve that, then get a bunch of lamps for different areas of your bedroom. And be sure to put one either in or near your closet so you can look at your clothes clearly every day.

Overall organization.

Whether this is achieved by a carpeted walk-in or some Container Store add-ons, keep the organization going. It will help with morning stress.

Shoe and jewelry display.

I’ve already discussed the importance of seeing your bling, but it’s also crucial to see and access your shoes easily. The freestanding shelf is a good idea, as is an over-the-door organizer. If you like to keep shoes in their boxes, then consider taking a Polaroid of the shoe and taping to the outside of the box.

Feeling bad about the toss pile

I will be re-posting from TRS’s archives throughout the week. This post first appeared in May 2011.

During my last closet cleaning session, the client expressed to me her feelings of guilt over getting rid of so much stuff. I hear this A LOT, and understandably so. You spent all this money on a few items that you’ve never worn, and now you’re just going to give them away.

I advise my clients to think of it this way: the money is already gone. It’s a done deal. You’re not going to magically make that cash back by having an item you never wear take up coveted real estate in your closet. By getting rid of it, you have the benefit of not only freeing up room, but also eliminating that annoying daily reminder of how you spent your shopping dollars.

You can also consider this a really great learning tool. Before putting in the donate bag, take a moment to look at the item and remember your thought process when you first picked it up in the store. For example, did you think, this is not my style, but it’s the trend right now so I should have it? Take mental notes, so next time you’re in the store and something trendy catches your eye, you’ll remember how this didn’t work out so well the first time.

In the end, tossing items you know in your heart are meant to go will free up your closet, conscience, and ultimately your wallet as you learn to make better choices in the future. And keep in mind that you’re getting rid of stuff you DON’T wear, not stuff you do.

Thanks CityMommy!

CityMommy just posted a review of a session I had with the NYC Director, Amanda. We had a fun-filled four hours of closet cleaning and re-organization, and at the end, I showed her some new ways to wear the fabulous clothes she already had.

You can check out her whole write-up here.

Amanda explained how she would always choose silver jewelry to go with cool-hued tops and gold to go with warm. She was excited to learn that this doesn’t have to be the case! I offered up some guidelines that would help take her out of her fashion comfort zone.

For example:

Opposites attract. If you are wearing dark on top, try a lighter color on the bottom, or vice versa.

When choosing jewelry, opt for warmer (gold) to go with cooler colors, and cooler (silver) to go with warmer colors.

Stay away from shoes that match too closely with your outfit (i.e. you don’t have to wear black shoes with a black dress). Neutrals are always a safe bet (nude, blush, metallic), or you can have some fun and go with a bolder color, like red.

If you’re looking for own wardrobe re-vamp, browse my list of services, or contact me directly with any questions!

Friday’s closet clean and cocktails

I had such a fun session with a client this past Friday… Prosecco and all!

(To all future clients out there, I do not make it a policy to booze it up during a session. But if you offer, I will not decline. Just saying.)

I went over to Jennifer’s fabulous new apartment in Hoboken to help her sort through her closet and create some new ensembles for her fabulous new job with Teach for America.

After an initial closet clean, I created a bunch of outfits from what she already had in her closet. We came up with OVER SIXTY new ways to wear what she already owns!

Check out her full review at StillJennyFromTheBlog’s Blog.

And semi-un-related, if you’re an animal lover, hop on over to Jennifer’s Animals in Baths photoblog. Just be prepared for a crippling dose of cuteness.

How to keep your jewelry out of the box

After coming across this issue with several clients, I think it’s the perfect time to discuss cool ways to organize your jewelry–none of which involve a box!

It’s REALLY important that your jewelry be both visible and accessible. Consider your jewelry and accessories to be an integral part of your look. This means they should be kept near the rest of your wardrobe and in your line of vision when deciding on what to wear.

Some ideas for how to do this:

A recent client had a bulletin board area already in her closet, so we switched out the pics that were hanging, and used pins to display her necklaces and earrings. I think the mom banner adds a ridiculously adorable touch.

Another option I found on houzz.com (their app is a great time-waster if you’re into interior design) is a clothesline-type system on the wall of your closet.

Jewellery rack contemporary closet

You can also use the back of your closet door (prime real estate!) and attach either a bunch of individual hooks, or an over-the-door organizer. Both do the trick, it just depends on what style you prefer.

Or, why not use your jewelry as art and put it on display? I use a similar method to the one below– a radiator grill within a frame contraption that shows off my necklaces and earrings. Another thought is to use a bunch of different hooks, bowls, and plates and set them all up on your dresser. Kind of like a sculpture garden. Kind of.

Bottom line: out of sight = out of mind. If your jewelry is stuck inside a box on your dresser, it will always be an afterthought when getting dressed.

TRS on Lady and the Blog

My closet cleaning session with Vera Sweeney was just posted on her site, Lady and the Blog–which, by the way, you should be reading/following/checking in on regularly. It’s funny, smart, honest… the list goes on.

The experience was great fun, so read the play-by-play from Vera’s point of view!

And here’s some video footage of me discussing spring skirt lengths. Check it out and watch me single-handedly alienate Mormon wives who read fashion blogs! And there’s a really cute dog at about 0:36. Her name is Jill and she steals the show.

Stay tuned to my brand spankin’ new YouTube channel, where I will begin adding videos of helpful fashion tips every week. As soon as I get over my awkward in-front-of-a-camera stutter.

A big spring clean!

I had the pleasure of hanging with the amazing Vera Sweeney of Lady and the Blog (and I’m Not Obsessed and Getting Gorgeous Events… she’s busy to say the least) on Friday, where we did a big fat spring closet clean. Her whole experience with me–including videos–will be featured on Lady and the Blog, but here are some quickie preview shots from the day:

Here’s Vera taking a pic of the ‘before’.

And this is the ‘Another One of Those’ pile that had us completely cracking up. It came out of all of Vera’s hanging-around-the-house tees that we kept discovering as we went through her closet.

She already had her shoes in clear plastic boxes–a huge plus–so we worked on getting them stacked, organized, and easy to access.

At the end of the session, Vera had a ton of stuff ready for the Goodwill.

Stay tuned to LATB, where Vera will give her first-hand account of the whole experience. I will let you know when the post is live!