Being Overwhelmed is never a good feeling…well maybe overwhelming Joy. But most often the word is describing someone who is almost paralyzed because of whatever is overwhelming them. I happen to be overwhelmed by clothes~
I love clothes! There was a time in my early married life where we were on a very tight budget. So tight there was no room to purchase anything outside of food and even that was “plain label” as it was called about 36 years ago. We had enough money for our bills and our food and our gas. We literally would get down to $50 in our bank account each month which was kind of scary. I wore the same clothes for several years not buying anything new.
Now things are much more relaxed. My husband got out of school and built his business and I have a thriving vacation rental business as well. I don’t shop at real expensive stores, it is just not my idea of fun. I get excited about a bargain. However, I don’t have to look at tags before I check out. There will be money to cover it at this stage in my life. Consequently, shopping has become a hobby for me. It is often Retail Therapy as we say. Having a sad day? Find your self a new outfit and you’ll feel better. If I have an event or a trip, I buy new clothes. The problem is, I don’t need new clothes!
I have too many clothes and that means work. Keeping all of these clothes hung up and easily accessible is difficult. If you have more than you need, you forget about some that you really love because they are in storage… in a closet… in a garment bag out… of view.
The strange thing is I can often go to my closet and stare at it and not find anything to wear. I know it sounds crazy to some people but I also know there are many out there who know exactly what I am talking about.
When that happens, I start trying things on, taking things off…not hanging them up again and laying them across my vanity or dropping them across the tub. Within minutes I have a pile of clothes and still nothing I am happy with.
Disorganized or REALLY Organized
One of the first Horder shows I watched they determined that the young girl’s issue was actually that she was a perfectionist and because it would never be perfect she was not able to keep things organized and put away. It again probably makes no sense to many of you, while I sort of understand it.
If my former boss would have spoken with my husband and the issue of organization would have come up, I believe they would have thought they were talking about two different women. At work, I had things color-coded, filed and labeled and books in chronological order not to mention I met deadlines and my brain was more like a computer when asked what CD or songbook a certain song was from. But at home, my husband’s kind term for my stuff was and remains today “Debbie Piles”.
I have gotten much better over the years but I am a work-at-home gal now so I have much more time to be organized. Even still there are plenty of “Debbie Piles”. They occur on chairs, table tops, at the steps (stuff to go up or come down), on the steps, and on the vanity to name many.
My husband finally saw the other side of me when we started our Vacation Rental Businesses. Not only did I label every cabinet shelf for our guests in the kitchen, drawers in the vanity, storage for the housekeepers. I have supplies and welcome baskets extremely organized. I also have files and calendars that stay perfectly organized.
How can someone like that have a messy closet?
I honestly think it is TOO MUCH STUFF!
My Former Closet Organization System
So here is how I laid out my previous closet organization.
I grouped like clothes items. Slacks hung together, Capri’s hung together, Sleeveless Tops, Short Sleeve Tops, Long Sleeve Tops, Jackets, and Dresses. It is how they are typically organized at the store. However, I purchase by the outfit. I learned one great lesson years ago, don’t buy something because you like it unless you have something in your mind, in your closet to go with it OR find something now to go with it. Otherwise it hangs lonely in the closet because you can’t go out half dressed!
Next, within those segregated categories, I grouped by color and let the colors blend. So I may start with Black, then Gray, then Blue, then Navy, then Green, next Yellow, Orange, Coral, and Red.
The closet looked great! I use one kind of hanger. My preference are the velour covered flats. I buy them in Black.
The problem was not only what I mentioned above about not knowing what to wear each day and making a mess. It was that about once a month I was having to completely go through my closet to get it cleaned up again. Ugh!
So the other day I just had enough. I thought not only do I waste tons of time every single day wanting to have something to wear and not knowing what that will be, I also waste my time about once a month having to clean it out all over again.
I took everything out.
Clean slate! Now that really Feels Good!
I gave it a lot of thought and considered
What Do I Want To Accomplish
- I want to keep my closet organized for the long run.
- I want to know that I have things to wear everyday.
- I only want clothes in my closet that fit me and I love.
- I want my closet to work FOR me not AGAINST me.
My New Closet Organization System
With my goals written down. I now have a place to start as I decide how to put clothes back in my closet. But oh my…there are clothes, shoes, purses, luggage and hats all over my bedroom floor and bed.
I always tell my husband it has to get worse before it can get better. Fortunately experience has shown him that it is true when it comes to me cleaning out closets or cabinets or drawers.
I decide that I am going to make outfits. Then I am going to look at my calendar and see what I am doing for the next two weeks.
I start building a wardrobe for my life.
I selected jewelry and looped it around the hangers and made sure the shoes I would wear were also beneath the outfit or near it.
I continued making outfits for 15 days. My closet looked great!
Next, I needed to hang up some work-out wear because I go to Pilates 2x a week. So I put three active wear outfits together. Then I hung them in another section of my closet.
I also wanted to put 3 -5 short dresses and 3-5 maxi dresses in the closet so I had something prepared if I had a dinner out pop up or some other event.
I selected purses that I will use with these outfits as well as shoes and placed them on the shelves.
Lastly I placed my weekend luggage on a shelf, a couple of my summer hats and a few nightgowns with robes.
I did a Facebook Live of my result…hopefully there is a link here. If not, go to my FB page and click on more and then videos.
Closet system that works for me part 1….got disconnected.
Posted by Debbie Stolle on Thursday, June 23, 2016
My FaceBook Live Part 2…because I got disconnected 🙂
The Rest of the Mess
Okay, so that was simple and fairly quick. Problem is that I have tons of clothes left over everywhere! I still had items in my off season closet in garment bags and boxes and on hangers that I neglected to get out this year. Instead I just bought new clothes.
So I continued to build outfits out of what I had left. Eventually I had my second string of clothes. So, if I work through these two weeks hanging in my closet. There is a whole other batch ready to take their place. I hung these in one of my guest bedroom closets.
Still I had more clothes.
My next thought, as I kept finding things I love, was to add a second top to all of my outfits hanging in the closet. Two reasons I thought this was a great idea.
- I hate routines of any kind, so this still allows me to make a choice…which top do I FEEL like today.
- You may need to change your top from day to evening.
- Some of the tops were more casual while the other was nicer or one was sleeveless verses sleeves which I may select based on the weather.
- If the top remains, it is ready for the next two weeks…just hang the bottoms right back up with it.
Also if I had long pants as an outfit, I hung a pair of capris with that selection so I again had a choice based on the weather or what was going on that day.
Still I had more clothes.
I made a third string of clothes with another set of outfits. Now grant it, these are not necessarily as great looking as the first string but they are still decent looking clothes.
That was it. I needed to purge the rest.
I still have some in the off season closet that I have not addressed and need to.
Is The New Closet Organizing System Working For Me?
Well it has been one week today.
Looking back up to what I wanted to accomplish let me determine if this is working.
- It’s a little too soon to tell if the closet is going to stay organized for the long run but it is perfect for one week in!
- This has been awesome! I have had something everyday that I was proud to wear and didn’t have to go through outfits or toss things on the floor. I simply pulled an outfit out and put it on! TaDa!
- Check! I just mentioned that in number two…love what I am wearing and of course it fits. I tried it on before hanging it up.
- It is working FOR me and not AGAINST me.
Goals Accomplished. Wow!
The only thing I can say that is not as I planned is that I am not taking the clothes in order. I am just not that person. I have to have choice and so I pick the outfit that works for my activities yes, but also because that is the outfit I feel that day.
So there you have it. My simple system to remove the “overwhelmed” from your closet and from just getting ready in the morning. You now have the tools to take back time you would have lost in the future and you are going to look and feel amazing doing it!
What do you think? What system do you use? Is it working for you? Can you identify with me?
Actually I got invited out spontaneously on Friday evening to a wedding catering sampling with my future daughter-in-law and knew exactly what I was wearing because it was one of a few maxi dresses hanging in my closet! No pressure, no worries, just dress and go~
That is a great system! Kudos to you for sticking with it!!
Thanks Susanne, whatever works! One week is not enough to tell if I will have finally found the answer for me, but so far I am enjoying the fruit of my labors…I forgot to mention this project took close to 5 days to complete~
Hi Debbie, That looks like a great system, I think you did a super job. I get overwhelmed by many things and I too need to have choices, just not too many. I’m happy you were able to go to the catering sampling with your future daughter-in-law, someday soon we will have to have a chat about those things. Funny thing is, that I didn’t realize who you are until I went over to see the video of your previously live post, and saw your last name and our mutual ‘friend’ who liked it. I’m kind of slow sometimes! That was a really fun way to get to know you.
Getting back to your project and blog, it looks great. You did a very good job on the broadcast, I can see you have a knack for that. I may have to incorporate some of your ideas into my life and see how they help me. I’ve been trying the “only keep what brings joy to your life” method and it is HARD.
Thank you Kathryn! I am probably just as slow, but I think I have it figured out as well. Had such a great time at the sample food night…really great food and Paula seemed to be enjoying herself and in her element making plans for the special day! I was thrilled to be able to stand in for the groom to be.
As for the video…yeah, I like talking…a lot! So put me in front of a camera where I can’t tell if anyone is really listening or not and there you go!
Looking forward to meeting you~ Debbie
Pamela List says
Good job on creating a system. I have never been a dress up kind of gal so keep my stuff pretty limited when it comes to shoes and clothes. But kitchen supplies, have mercy.
Your pick with the cute necklace and earings is adorable.
Thanks Pam. We all have our weaknesses don’t we?
Your closet looks great Debbie!! I hope it works for you- I am the same way, I organize and then slowly over time it becomes very unorganized. Please let us know how it’s going after a couple of months! Also, your photo is gorgeous!!
Thank you Melony. I will update and be brutally honest about it. I want it to work.
Susie | The Chelsea Project says
You are too cute for words. Love your organized closet.
I don’t know if there is a way to write it other than the word…chuckle :). Thanks Susie~
sally shelton says
Thank you for sharing your organization process! Your article speaks to me. I too have piles everywhere and even though it looks messy, it’s actually organized. I see where you’re coming from on the perfectionist angle.
I’m in the process of getting rid of my piles and it has been very productive so far. Next challenge: my closet!! I’m going to take on your technique for this one.
Since you seem to have similar tendencies, I want to ask about how the maintenance went post-organization. Any tips for success?
Thank you for your comments. I have actually moved which is why I haven’t been posting for a while. We are in a two year downsize move but we actually had a closet system installed which even made my organization better. Also, I started working very part-time at a clothing boutique which means I bring home clothes all of the time. I still find that hanging my clothes in outfits is the best for me. I had since tried the tanks, tops, jeans, etc way and it is too much struggle. Having outfits ready to grab saves time, makes me feel great when dressed and overall the closet looks amazing. I did change the system of hanging them in a two week period since I am working I have need of work outfits now, so I hang them like we do at our store…color coded. So my navy outfits, then my black and white, my fall tones all hang together. Best wishes as you conquer your closet clutter!