ORGANIZING: Clothing and Accessories

Earlier this month, I started on overhaul cleaning my bedroom. The mess is mostly clothing, so the closets needed a major reorganizing. Everything had been very messy and semi-organized for years. I have a great organizing system in place, but my wardrobe has outgrown that system. I've spent a few hours at a time this month working on controlling the mess and redoing my organizing system. I have a MASSIVE wardrobe, so this is a time consuming task. However, better organizing makes me feel better and makes finding things much easier! I have a walk in closet that was created by my dad and I in the odd loft area of my bedroom. Since this is a loft style space, there is an opening that goes to the living room. I've covered this opening with 3 dark red curtains. We also have a double closet, for which I have my dresses, dress shirts, dress pants, and jackets. I'm pondering finding a way to add two bars in my walk in closet, to accommodate this clothing. Also, I want to add curtains to close off the closet better. My makeshift ones weren't working well. I'd like my husband to be able to solely use the double closet how ever he wants to.

So messy! You can see a small area of clean floor. The 1st thing I did was purge a lot of old clothing. All of it was too small for me, so most of it went to my daughter. This was mostly hoodies and t-shirts, but there was one Betsey Johnson skirt that she claimed...because she'd been eyeing it for years and noticed I'd never worn it. Don't fret, it was 2nd hand from a friend who had bought it at a thrift store. However, she also got a lot of Guess clothing, which makes her a lucky girl. The piles you see are dresses (back left), shirts (front left), too small clothing (back floor), dirty clothes (front floor), and skirts (chair). It's not a great way to keep things, but is good for sorting to put it away...which I did do different days. That white bookshelf to the right is for bags. It will also get a my daughter...and major reorganizing.

The clothing purging freed up some shelf space. The white baskets you see are full of shoes. The baskets are small laundry baskets from Dollar Tree. I've sorted my shoes into color, but in some cases (like the sandals and slip on sneakers) by type. They have been sorted like this since shortly after we moved into this house about 8 years ago. I shifted the shoes around based on which ones I wore the most often at the bottom to least often at the top. This freed up a whole shelf and two quarter sections.

With that freed up space, I moved what remained of my sweaters (as my daughter got many small ones) to the lowest shelf. The 2nd shelf is my maxi and mini skirts, and regular length cardigans. For the maxi skirts, I sorted them by casual, straight, and fancy. The fancy ones have two piles, since many of them are tiered and thick when folded from their fabric volume. All the mini skirts are in one pile, with the most worn at the top. The cardigans I split into two stacks...heavy and light weight, because of the current season. They are both still easy to access any time of the year. I tend to wear the light ones more year round. The 3rd shelf has 3 baskets of shoes, a ruffled striped shrug (which will eventually be moved into an antique wardrobe with other costume pieces), cropped cardigans and shrugs, and casual pants. I put the cropped cardigans and shrugs above the regular cardigans for easy finding. I wear these a lot during the warm months. The pants don't get much wear, because if possible I wear skirts and dresses. I have 3 pairs of jeans...and only 1 gets a lot of wear, a faded black pair. The last shelf is shoes that don't get much wear...though I should probably figure out how to shift the basket with sandals, for the coming Summer. There is one sweatshirt between two baskets, and some shoes between the baskets that are meant to go into those upper baskets, but I'm not tall enough to get them into the baskets while standing on the floor. I do have a chair in my closet.

This is the other wall in that corner of the walk in closet. This side has a lot of clothing. Ignore the scroll with hair accessories you see. I hung it there temporarily as I cleaned the bookcase full of bags. It normally hangs there. The bottom of this section has a bar that is attached to the bottom shelf. That bar has all my knee length skirts...minus the few dirty one in the laundry pile. These are all sorted by colors and neutrals. The neutrals are towards the right side, because I wear them the most. Many of these got more wear when I worked in stores, and offices. The 1st shelf has nice blouses and shirts. They are sorted by colors and neutrals. The black section is sorted by tops with and without sleeves. There are a lot of colors, but that scroll blocks that view...sorry about that. Though I normally wear mostly neutrals, my favorite colors to wear are reds, greens, and blues. The 2nd shelf are casual tops. This is sorted from right to left by tanks, t-shirts, and long sleeved shirts. Each small section is sorted by colors and neutrals. There are 9 total stacks. The top shelf has my pjs, a box containing swimwear, and 3 baskets of shoes.

Like I mentioned before, I also use part of the joint double closet. This is the section that I use. There are a lot of dresses in here. They vary in style from gowns, costumes, casual maxis to minis, vintage, LBDs, etc. I have them sorted by neutrals and colors, but also length for the black ones. The least worn things are at either end. Those are gowns, vintage robes and nightgowns (my moms), PVC dresses, and costumes. The longer black dresses are to the left (though you can't see them because of the closet wall) and the shorter ones to the right. As you can clearly see, there are way more neutrals than colors. For colors, I have more red, blue, and multi-colored than any other color. For sorting each mini section, it's normally by style or fabric...laces, velvets, prints, and cottons sorted together. This makes finding the casual and fancy dresses easier. Since it's getting warmer, I made sure most of the casual maxi dresses are together in each section...back into sections for easy access. On left closet door is a bar that I hung. It helps with me hanging dresses up to put away, putting together outfits to wear or pack. It's a metal rod that sticks out from the door, with ridges for hangers to sit, and then a hook at the end. My description isn't very good, so check out this INTERDESIGN Orbinni Over The Door Chrome Valet. I've heard it called a "Door Valet". It can hang on bedroom or bathroom doors too, but I find it the most handy on the closet door. There are other variations with multiple hooks, but mine doesn't fit on my doors very I bought the valet version. On the right closet door are two maxi dresses that I need to add straps to. I should probably get on that, with the clothing alterations I've been doing.

This IS actually a lot less messy than the 1st photo was. The pile of shoe boxes you see are empty ones destined to be used for craft supply storage in my eventual studio. As you can see the dresses are gone from this closet. I hung them all up with the other dresses. I also put away all the clothing that was laying on the bench, baskets, and most of the chair stuff. What remains on the chair is a few skirts to be hung up. I went through all the shoe boxes that are under the shelf, and pulled out empty ones that we're needed anymore for shoes. With that extra space, I rearranged the remaining shoes, and made two stacks of boots in their boxes. I sorted two baskets worth of random shoes and clothing. The clothing I put where it belonged. The shoes got either put away where they belonged, boxed up for donation or sorted into the baskets based on what they are. I made one basket for sneakers and one for shoes that need repairs. I also took time to go through all my belts and nicely put them back into their basket. The loose fabric belts from clothing and shoe laces when into a smaller box, that fits inside that basket. Currently, that basket is under the bench with the basket of socks...not shown in this photo of course, because the objects in the photo have been moved since the photo. I still need to sort through the basket you see that has some clothing in it. That is mostly costume pieces, robes, and crinolines, which all need to be hung.

You might notice that the bookcase that was full in the 1st photo is empty in the above photo. This bookcase is use for bags and desperately needed reorganizing. It was such a mess and hard to find anything! In order to overhaul it, I had to empty it. I my husband's horror, this meant that I put all the bags on the bed. While I was removing the bags from the shelves, I sorted them. The back is a stack of tote and messenger bags, and 1.5 rows of handbags that are either hard or soft. In the three shoe boxes you see, I sorted the clutches and pouches (and a random eyeglass case...sans glasses). Since I had a lot of empty shoe boxes, I put 3 different sized ones to use to hold the bags in a way I could easily see them for use. To the left of those boxes is a stack of small bags that have long straps. On the right side is all my hard purses. Most of these are novelty a boombox, an enameled coconut, wooden half circle, vintage lunch box, Chinese take out box shape...etc. In the foreground, you see a red sunhat. Under that are several other sunhats. This stack of sunhats normally sits on top of decorative storage boxes on the top of the bookcase. Beside the bags is a small stack of large flat bags.

In case you are curious, this collection of bags are a mix of new, second hand (mostly from mom and thrift stores), vintage (which is often second hand too), old, and hand made. My favorite is the large brown one you see in the center. That one was my paternal grandma's. It was the only thing of hers that my mom could find after both her and my paternal grandpa had died. I'm sentimental about objects, so something like this links me more to my past and people who I loved. Speaking about her, I'm normally snuggled on the couch under two quilts she made. It's like she's constantly with me...20 years after she left this world. 

I shut the cats out of the bedroom, as I did this last part. They were too curious about what mom was doing while I was moving the shelf. They pretty much wanted to sit on the bottom shelf or constantly circle the bookcase while I was moving it...which is cute, but dangerous. I moved the bookshelf from one side to the other...which took a long time because this bookcase is old and crappy. After I got it in the correct place, I started filling it with bags. In the bottom shelf, I put two large reusable style bags. Inside one is all the other reusable bags I have. In the other, I put several soft tote bags. This helps sort these type of bags easily. Beside those, are stiffer tote and messenger bags. On the 2nd shelf are the soft, small, and flat handbags with a few stiffer ones. The next shelf has stiff handbags that are mostly doctor bag style. Above that shelf, I'm going to add one for the boxes of clutches to sit. Above that is a shelf with the hard novelty bags. On top of the bookcase is a couple decorative hat boxes with costume accessories and wigs in them. On top of those boxes is the stack of sunhats. Beside that is two vintage suitcases and 1 vintage train case. The suitcases are empty, but the train case has my delicate scarves in them. Between the bottom box and case is a folded up soft floral sunhat.

That's the closet organization so far. The other thing I wanted to share was how I organize my statement necklaces. This is an easy way to store them in a decorative way. In our bathroom, along the wall beside the vanity are two plastic expandable hangers for hats or mugs. There are 10 pegs per expandable hanger. I bought these two at Dollar Tree. They are screwed into the wall. I've never had a problem with them. I can really speak to their durability, since we have trains that pass beside the house at least twice daily, making the house shake. I have most of my statement and some delicate necklaces hanging here. I have the necklaces sorted by neutrals, metals, and colors. These necklaces are a mix of new, old, vintage, ones I've made (mostly very nice ones), and second hand. One rack has my neutrals, and metals. The other has my colorful and delicate ones. In addition to these two racks, I hammered a few long nails in the wall space at the end of the 2nd rack. These are for my delicate extra long necklaces. This way of storing statement necklaces is inexpensive and durable, as well as providing an interesting decoration.

That is it for now. Hopefully, there will be more progress on the organizing this week. The stirring up of dust is bothering my allergies. Still, it's nice to see it all coming together. Hopefully, this project gives you some inspiration for organizing your own spaces.


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