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How to Reorganize Your Closet to Feel Like You Have Your Life Together

There’s nothing like the first day of school to make you feel like your life is a mess! If orientation didn’t quite orient you or you’re preparing to show up to every section of art you possibly can because you need it to graduate, the hot mess of first week comes for us all.

There’s so much you can’t control about school starting, but this weekend I have faith you can control your closet.

Be Marie Kondo

The first step is to launch a Marie Kondo-sized attack on your closet. Warn your roommates and your loved ones: things are going to get worse before they get better.

Start taking pieces out of your closet and making piles: keep, donate, sell. Be ruthless with your clothing. If it doesn’t fit well, if you still can’t get that stain out, if you haven’t worn it in a year and you haven’t figured out where to actually wear it, it is time to donate them. In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo writes that the pieces in every part of your life should spark joy. This is especially true for your closet because clothes are a source of expression, confidence, and comfort.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month so I recommend taking your donation pile to your closest women’s shelter. Many also take unused makeup, feminine products, and other products which might be helpful for when you catch the cleaning bug and tackle the other closets in your life. If you’re in Chicago, Margaret’s Village is by 73rd street.

For clothes that don’t quite fit right, but are still in style, you can sell them using sites like Poshmark or throw a clothes swap party with your friends.

Now Put it Back

Your next step is now to take Keep Mountain and put it back in your closet. Start by putting in the stuff that you can’t see yourself using in the next month. Whether the pieces are out of season, your “Real Adult” work pants, or your formal dress from last spring, these are the pieces you want to put at the back of your closet.

Exercise gear, potato t-shirts, underwear, and your frankly-impressive collection of leggings go in next. They need to be easy access (but maybe not front and center). I have a set of drawers and baskets that keep them organized, but still useable.

But Make it Fashun

At this point, you should be left with the clothes that you grab every day for class and brunch with friends. I grabbed a bunch of ~matching~ hangers and hung these shirts (even the graphic tees) along with fun pants and skirts that don’t fold well. Any dresses and my jumpsuit went to the middle of my closet, where they were accessible (but also covered the plastic drawers of heavy winter clothes).

The shirts were hung by color and sleeve length within each color, which makes it easy to find and pull the right shirt. The jeans and other pants that fold neatly were placed on the rack above the hangers.

I may have a slight shoe problem, so I had to find the right home for them. With some expandable, stackable shoe racks, I managed to hide some of the sandals and work shoes underneath the shoes I use more often. My apartment is a shoe-free space, so I always keep a couple pairs in the closet by the door with my jackets for the mornings that I’m not quite awake enough.

What’s Missing?

Once you’ve been through your closet, it actually makes it really easy to see which pieces you’re missing so you can be more thoughtful about your next purchases. You’ll notice that most of my closet is in neutral tones because it helps streamline the clothes selection process in the morning and to add more color in my shoes, jewelry, and jackets.

I’ve been working with a transitional summer to fall capsule wardrobe for most of the summer (purely because I’ve been living out of my suitcases). Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if you’d like to learn more about how I put it together.

Did you see that super cool 25/7 hat? Check it out here.

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