Posts Categorized: organize

Closet Organization Pros and Cons

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No two closets are organized in the same way. Even closets that have identical fancy organizing systems installed are going to be used by different people with different needs and different ideas of what should go where and why. And as someone who has tried many different ways of keeping my own wardrobe in order, I’ve realized that just about every tip for making your closet more functional has pros and cons. Don’t believe me? FINE! I’ll prove it.

Keeping everything visible

PROS
- Forces you to see the depth of your wardrobe
- Allows for spontaneous inspiration (colors, patterns you otherwise wouldn’t have thought to combine)
- Can help prevent accidental acquisition of doubles, triples, etc.
- In the case of decorative options (using your hats as wall decoration, etc.), can warm up your rooms and add personality

CONS
- Exposed items may fade or gather dust
- Requires an enormous amount of space
- Can be overwhelming if you attempt to process the breadth of your choices on a daily basis

Storing off-season items

PROS
- Frees up closet space
- Protects items from damage (as in wool that gets stored in moth-proof containers)
- Forces a seasonal re-evaluation of what is worth storing and what should get donated

CONS
- Can enable accidental acquisition of doubles, triples, etc. (Items are often still in storage when the SHOPS begin showing us coming-season items.)
- Requires extra space/storage
- Allows you to stash items that should probably be donated

Sorting by color

PROS
- Makes it easy to find items if you have a color scheme in mind.
- Is visually pleasing. Really. Just ask your local Goodwill.
- Helps you easily identify wardrobe holes. If you keep reaching for a gray cardigan that isn’t there, you can bet that buying one will be a good use of your cash.

CONS
- May prevent seeing unusual color combinations
- Allows you to gravitate toward your favorite or dominant colors, and skip over the rest
- Can make all items in a color range blur together

Sorting by frequency of use

PROS
- Keeps your most useful and best items front and center
- Helps in quick outfit assembly, since your guaranteed winners are close at hand
- Can aid in culling, as items that drift to the back and never get pulled out eventually seem like natural additions to the donation pile

CONS
- Creates closet orphans by hiding more challenging items from view
- May cause beloved items to wear out faster since they’re getting top billing at all times
- Discourages mixing well-loved items with hard-to-style ones

And so on. Just goes to prove that what feels perfect for one closet will be irritating or impractical for another.

How do you organize your wardrobe? Do you store off-season stuff? Try to keep everything visible? Are there any methods you use and love, but also see some disadvantages to utilizing?

Image via Apartment Therapy.

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The Value of a Mid-season Closet Purge

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Many people – myself included – do quarterly closet evaluations and purges. And because changing weather prompts us to reconsider our wardrobes, these activities typically take place as the seasons are beginning to change. Which is fine. Looking at your winter or spring items with fresh eyes after a year of not-wearing them can give you great perspective, and you can often tell at a glance if you’ve outgrown or out-evolved certain pieces.

But there is also a lot to be said for doing your purges mid-season. Including:

You can evaluate in real-time

Some folks can look at a cardigan that’s gone unworn since last season and tell IMMEDIATELY if it’s going to get worn again. But some folks need to experiment for a while and then make a decision. Doing a mid-season purge is helpful because you’ve been living in the season for a while and know what’s getting worn and what’s getting passed-over. If you’re passing over an item that got passed over an awful lot last season, too, that’s a good indicator that it’s time to move on.

You can tease out explanations

Purging at the beginning of the season forces you to make some educated guesses and trust your gut. Sometimes you can look at a pair of pants or a dress and hear this extremely decisive voice in your head saying, “No WAY.” And you listen and you donate and you move on. Without pausing to sit down with that extremely decisive voice and say, “Well, yeah, but why?”

When you purge in the middle of a season instead, those explanations become self-evident. You’re not wearing that pair of pants because they’re too short for heels and too long for flats. You’re not wearing that dress because you have absolutely nothing that works as an outer layer. You know these things because you’ve been dressing within the confines of the season for some time now and have fresh memories. Helpful, no?

You can be ruthless

The beginning of each season holds a little bit of romance. You’re excited for new weather, new clothes to wear, a new you! And this sometimes translates into wardrobe romance and going soft on items that should be ejected without mercy. Mid-season? The romance is gone and replaced by a desire to wear clothes that fit, work, and feel great. Purging now means cutting more chaff.

Whadoyathink? Would you consider shifting to a mid-season purge? What about sticking to the seasonal cycle and adding an evaluative pass once you’re in the thick of it? Could this work for you?

Image courtesy enchantée.

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Packing: Five Days in New York in July

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I’ve been traveling more this year than in years past, and since packing posts always seem to garner lots of interest, I thought I’d start sharing my packing plans for recent trips. Naturally, I never pack without the aid of my feline assistants, shown above.

I’ve traveled to New York in the summer several years in a row, and although we experience 100-degree days and high humidity here in Minneapolis, I must say that it doesn’t compare to the temps and heat index I’ve experienced in NYC. A few summers back I got heat rash. All over my abdomen. Other summers, I just suffered. The buildings and subways are air-conditioned, but the sheer amount of unavoidable walking that takes place while visiting New York means that lightweight, breathable garments are essential. So, as you’ll see, I went for washable, sleeveless dresses. Exclusively.

And, as is the case with all packing, I selected my footwear first and built outfits from the ground up. I learned the hard way that even a small heel becomes an implement of torture during long summer days of walking in New York, so it was comfy flats all the way.

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On my arrival day, I tootled around Chelsea with a dear friend, then went to see Kjerstin on the Colbert Report. Knowing that this dress and necklace played well together, I packed them as a unit, adding my beloved Clarks Concert Choir flats to the mix. I do closed-toe flats in New York because the streets and subway stations are typically pretty dirty. Disadvantage? In hot, humid weather my feet do swell and I will get the occasional blister. Band-aids and blister-block also get packed.

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Day two was spent eating, shopping, and chatting through Park Slope with one of my best friends in the world and her adorable son. We grabbed dinner early in the evening, then went to see her husband in a series of short plays. For this, I wore my new favorite Article 23 dress – lightweight cotton with ventilation! – and swapped out the espadrilles I wore in that outfit shot for my Hush Puppies Achelle flats. Much sweating was done in this outfit, but the dress still looked adorable after 14 hours of wear.

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Day three, I had lunch with my Huffington Post editor, met with Alison and the Foxcroft team, had a lovely dinner, and then a meetup with Sarah, Cynthia, and amazing reader Emily. You may have noticed that I mostly packed outfits that I’d already tried and tested, but this one was totally new. It helps to switch up footwear from day to day, so I wanted to do the black flats with this outfit, and used the black and red scarf to tie everything together. Wore it as a belt. This dress is amazing but fairly wrinkly right out of the dryer, so I sprung to get it professionally pressed upon arrival. Spendy, but made SUCH a difference in how the dress looked, even toward the end of a very long day.

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Day four was the Foxcroft photo shoot. I had planned to wear the white floral dress shown below, but realizing I’d be featured in some of the photos and that the campaign was for fall, I swapped in this darker outfit instead. It’s a variation on this one, with a black belt instead of the zebra. This dress is fluid jersey and SO comfortable, which made it ideal for 9 hours of styling, walking, tweaking, and clowning for the camera.

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Day five was my last day in town, and I managed to squeeze in coffee with Molly AND breakfast with Kat before heading to the airport. This dress is a longtime fave that looks best on its own, so I wore it very similarly to how I styled it here. Since I’d planned to wear this to the photoshoot then changed my mind, this dress also got professionally pressed.

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I don’t often do this, but since there were many meetings on my travel days and since my “work clothes” weren’t ideal for 3-hour flights, I wore different outfits in transit. This was worn on the flight out, basically a summerized version of this outfit with cropped leggings and flats. For the flight home, I swapped in this dress and my denim jacket, but the scarf, shoes, and jewelry remained the same.

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I don’t often do THIS either, but I brought multiple bags for this trip. The black Rebecca Minkoff Logan is a crossbody, which is my preferred style of bag when traveling. I used this one the most. But I also brought along my Ellington hobo, which is very lightweight and worked well with both outfits featuring the bronze flats. In years past, I’ve used my Manhattan Portage DJ bag – small, lightweight, and crossbody – but felt like I wanted a bit more polish for this trip.

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I’m not much of a stickler for packing procedures, since I nearly always check my bag and it gets thrown about so much that most techniques do little to keep my items in order. In addition to the outfits above, here you see my PJs, umbrella, toiletry kit (which I leave 95% packed at all times), and a gray tote which contains my flat-iron, hair products, and miscellaneous makeup stuff. I’ve taken to putting my jewelry in sandwich bags so I can remember which items get worn together and although you see them thrown on top here, I generally tuck them into their folded, assigned outfits. The giant Marimekko necklace was placed inside a shallow scarf box with a folded pillowcase, then rubber-banded shut to keep it from breaking. Most of my jewelry can take a beating, but more delicate items get special consideration! My suitcase is a rust-orange Tumi roll bag that has held up to some serious abuse over the years.

In most cases, I recommend a capsule wardrobe for travel, but in this case dealing with the heat took precedence over creating swappable outfits. I did follow my own advice and bring a backup outfit – this simple dress – but didn’t end up needing it.

Related posts:

Ever traveled to New York – or another big city that gets hot and humid – in the dead of summer? What did you pack?

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