Alexis Nielsen Interiors

Spring Organizing: Part II

Greetings! If you followed part one that was posted earlier, you should now have a nice clean closet, perhaps some money in your pocket from selling a few items, and lots of extra room from donating unused clothes…Yay! Time to go shopping! Fill up that empty space! Nature abhors a vacuum! Etc! Etc!

Wait! While I love shopping as much as the next gal, and firmly believe you should always have some new things each season, hold off on that urge to shop for just a bit longer. By organizing your closet before you shop, you’ll know what you need and what you don’t need, saving you money and time in the long run.

Here are a few simple steps to get ready for spring:

Step one: If you have a lot of spring and summer clothes, shoes, bags, belts and other accessories that you carry over from year to year, go through the same steps outlined in part one. Weed out the clothes you don’t wear, or that don’t fit, or that need to be retired for good. Once that’s done, you’ll have a good basis from which to start.

Step two: A popular way to organize your clothes is by color and piece: all the red skirts together, then the orange skirts, etc.  I think this is a great way to organize and it looks nice, but it may not help you save time getting dressed in the morning if you have trouble putting together outfits. You could put together an outfit the night before, but if you’re like me, at the end of the day you are probably pooped and you’d rather spend time with your family or with Bravo TV and a glass of wine than paying homage to your closet every night.

So a great way to solve this issue is to organize your closet by outfit. Put together great outfits now and hang those pieces together. It may take you awhile to figure out the outfits, so set aside some time to do this. Get a full length mirror and make sure you have good lighting and then play dress up! Don’t forget your accessories: shoes, bags, jewelry, scarves, etc.

This process has two purposes. First, you’ll have your outfits together so you can spend a lot less time getting ready in the morning. Second, you’ll know which pieces you have that don’t really go with what you already own. If you have a jacket that you love but it doesn’t go with anything you currently have, then finding pieces to go with it might be a shopping priority. But be honest with yourself: only buy something to wear with it if you are really going to wear it. If you aren’t sure, then consider getting rid of the item, especially if it’s been in your closet for more than two seasons.

A note on hangers: I love wood hangers. I think they look great together, they help make a closet look great, and clothes hang better on them. I purchase them from IKEA because they are super cheap. But they also tend to take up more room than plastic or wire hangers, so keep that in mind. If you do have a lot of wire hangers and you want to switch to wood, bring those hangers to the dry cleaners so they can reuse them!

Step three: Make a list of what you want and need for the season. You’ve put together your outfits. Yay! Now make a list of the things that you might be missing. Say you would really love a certain color top to go with the jacket and skirt outfit you just put together. Then that top is something to put down to shop for. Or if you need a pair of brown flats to go with a pair of trousers. That is what you write down. By no means does this preclude you from purchasing a fabulous item that you see and would love to have. But this process should help you weed out a lot of unnecessary purchases, i.e. purchasing another pair of black flats when you already own three pairs.

Step four: the best part: shopping! As a decorator, I do a lot of preshopping before I purchase, and I highly recommend it here. Not only does it help you figure out where to go, but you can also figure out which place has the best value. I do a combination of online and in-store preshopping. Spend some time preshopping, then figure out your shopping plan and take your list and go!

A note on setting a budget: setting a budget before you purchase is key. It really helps define what you need and how to get what you want. Set a budget, make a commitment to stick to it, and figure out how to make what you want work in your budget.  You’ll feel so much happier about your purchases, because you know you can afford them and that you didn’t waste your money.

Now go forth and shop and have fun!

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