I shared a “before tour” of my closet with you when I started this clothing & accessories organization series back in May in my Closet Clean Out post. I am happy to report that I am finally ready to share my “after” look!
I’ve just completed a major purge of my wardrobe, weeding out items from my twenties and (yes, it’s true) late teens that I no longer felt suited me now that I am in my thirties. While I did do quite a bit of spring and summer shopping in recent months, I am making it a point to keep whittling down my wardrobe so I only have pieces I truly enjoy wearing. A great tip for keeping the size of your wardrobe under control is to remove an item for each new thing you bring in. While I have not purchased anywhere near what I recently purged (eight large trash bags full of clothes and several shopping bags filled with other items all to charity!), I plan on sticking by this rule as I already have well more than I need.
While I took my time with the purging process, going through my wardrobe a little at a time over the course of several months, I was able to complete the actual tidying and organization of the closet over one weekend. Once everything I no longer wanted was gone I found it very easy to go through my closet in one fell swoop. Having a great organizational structure already in place helped a lot. After some consideration, I decided not to change “the bones” of the closet at all. I am referring to the Elfa setup I designed and installed when we first moved into the house seven years ago. While I did change it up a bit a few years ago in my previous closet overhaul, I felt that the current design really suits our needs right now. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
To say this closet, which is located in our master bedroom, is large is an understatement. It’s really pretty massive and I love having so much space to work with! We could definitely store a lot more in there, which is nice because that means there’s room to grow if we need extra storage someday. Even so, I’ve arranged everything in such a way so the closet look full. I find this makes everything easy to locate and access. While I didn’t make a lot of big changes, freeing up some space allowed me to tidy up and tighten up the organization I already had in place.
The layout of the closet is very long and narrow, which is why I’ve fondly dubbed it “the bowling alley.” Unfortunately, this layout makes it pretty tricky to photograph or even film, but I did my best to give you a sense of how I am using this space for storing both my and my husband’s wardrobes, as well as all of our travel gear and some of my bulky filming equipment.
When you walk into the closet there is a deeper alcove on the right side. This is the perfect spot for my husband’s things, as there is plenty of room for the 18″ shelves I installed there. This allows more space to comfortably store his clothing, which is much broader and longer than mine. I haven’t changed the organization of his wardrobe since I first installed the closet seven years ago with the exception of a few minor tweaks. I keep most of Don’s folded clothes out on shelves, which is the way he prefers it for easy access. The only items of his I store in boxes are his dress shoes and backup items such as new undershirts and socks. I use Elfa components to keep his accessories in order, including the Gliding Tie & Belt Rack that clips right onto the shelf. I drilled the Hangmate Belt & Tie Rack as well as the 5-Hook Rack right into the walls for his belts and hats.
I keep a few other items tucked into this area, as well. There are several clear storage boxes for holiday clothing located on the very top shelf. I am using one my my beloved Reisenthel Fabric Storage Boxes for my gym bags and swim gear which I stow on a low shelf. Our Walnut 2-Step Wooden Stool rests against the wall for easy access. Don is very happy with his portion of the closet, which comfortably holds all of his clothing in a way that appeals to both him and me (not necessarily an easy feat!), located right at the very front where he can easily access his things.
I keep all of my things on the left side of the closet. I take up quite a bit more space since I have a much larger wardrobe than Don. It works out well for me to store my clothes and accessories on the wall with more shallow 12″ deep shelves. I have a few hooks on the back of the closet door for robes. I also use the Elfa Hangmate Belt & Tie Rack and 5-Hook Rack drilled directly into the wall for my belts and hats. Having these tucked more on the side makes sense for me since I don’t access these things as frequently as my husband uses his like items.
I store my footwear in a few different ways. I love my Flip Flop Hangers to keep my flip flops organized in an easy to see, easy to grab fashion. I keep the majority of my heels, wedges, flats, and sandals in clear shoe boxes organized by type with my least worn shoes on the top shelves and my most worn everyday style shoes lower down. I have one shelf for my Uggs and short boots, which I use boot shapers to help maintain the shape. I use the same boot shapers which also have handy hangers attached to hang my tall leather boot collection on a low rod. This keeps them off the floor and easy to access. Plus, it looks great!
I keep all of my hanging clothes as well as some folded items in the middle my side of the closet. I have a stack of ten Linen Drop-Front Shirt Boxes that I purchased (on sale!) several years ago where I used to store my massive sweater collection. I actually parted with more than half of those sweaters in my recent purge and freed up some space to keep my jeans and leggings folded. I haven’t been a fan of having my pants on hangers for awhile now and this is the perfect solution to keep them accessible and easy to see thanks to the clear windows. I have both my sweaters and pants organized by type in these boxes.
I keep my hanging clothes organized by type as well, as I find that’s the easiest way for me to navigate my wardrobe. On the top rack I have tops, flyaway cardigans (so challenging to fold!), and jackets. My sweatshirts, athletic gear (some cold weather running layers as well as my golf and tennis clothes), slacks, and skirts are on the lower rod. I picked up a great tip to switch around the hangers of items you are uncertain of keeping so they are hanging with the hooks on the rod backwards. If during my next spring clean out I find these hangers still backwards, I’ll know I did not wear that item and it’s time to let it go. I’m doing this with most of my skirt collection, which I haven’t been interested in wearing in some time. We’ll see what stays and what goes next year!
There is ample room to hang both my short and long style dresses, which I have also organized by type and by season. While I love using the beautiful Walnut Wood Hangers I’ve had for almost ten years now for the majority of our clothing, I prefer Huggable Hangers for my dresses to prevent slippage.
The far end of the left side of the closet is my favorite part, because it is wear I store my handbag collection and accessories. I am definitely a bag lover! I love the Elfa Hanging Drawers for accessory organization. I keep my bags stored by type in their dust bags (if they came with one) in the bottom six drawers. The next level of drawers is where I store my wallets, wristlets, and extra pouches. I recently divided all of my smaller accessories into clear accessory boxes. Six of these fit perfectly inside one drawer! I also have two more of the Elfa 5-Hook Racks drilled directly into the back wall on either side of a full length mirror where I hang my scarf collection, organized by season.
I have three woven boxes that I purchased from Crate & Barrel about ten years ago (sadly no longer available) where I stow away special jewelry and watch boxes for my nicer pieces that I want to keep. I have two clear boot size boxes on the next shelf up for my special race wear as well as our Disney World gear. Lastly I have a couple of pillows that I use for different seasonal bedding on the very top shelf. There’s actually a lot of shelf space left on the upper portion of my side of the closet. While I tried to space out my wardrobe to fill most of the space on the wall, I didn’t have anything I needed to store up top just now. Having room to grow is always nice!
The closet narrows after the partition where Don’s wardrobe is on the right side. I installed 20″ deep shelves in this space since I knew I wouldn’t need it for hanging storage. I used to keep a large collection of collectibles from my childhood on the top two shelves, which I have recently moved to another space while I decide what to do with those items. This freed up a ton of space for me to reorganize our travel gear and add in some bulky items such as filming and photography gear that I do not need to access frequently. I also keep my wedding dress, which is preserved, and my wedding day accessories on the top shelf.
One shelf is lined with eight large Reisenthel Fabric Storage Boxes which house a variety of things, including much of our travel gear and packing accessories. I keep our large collection of luggage that we’ve accumulated over the years on the bottom two shelves. Everything feels much more well spaced and less cluttered now that I’ve opened up the top two shelves! I keep even more travel-related items in two of the large Storage Lockers I have tucked under the shelves on the floor. I had purchased these wheeeled heavy duty plastic trunks ten years ago when we moved into our condo for our storage area in the parking garage. I recently cleaned out all of the collectibles and memorabilia I had stored in them to make room for bulkier items, including our now massive collection of extra hangers thanks to my huge wardrobe purge. The fourth trunk is empty, meaning more room to grow if needed!
I decided I will put up a separate post sharing how I organize all of our travel gear for my upcoming travel series. Check back next month if you’re interested to see what I keep on hand for our travels and how I store those items!
Here are a few of my favorite closet organization aids from The Container Store:
I go through each part of the closet in more detail in my coordinating video if you’re interested in a closer look:
I would love to hear how you organize your closet if you care to share. Check back next week for a look at how I organize my large size vanity where I stash my makeup and jewelry.
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