Re­or­ga­niz­ing your closet can add room to grow

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

CLOSET , a home look min­i­mal, yet max­i­mized.”

Pin­sky be­gan tack­ling Small­wood’s closet as she does all projects: by sort­ing all of the items in one place. “You have to take every­thing out to see what you ac­tu­ally own,” Pin­sky says. This means sort­ing by cat­e­gory, not by lo­ca­tion. Take shoes, for ex­am­ple: Women of­ten keep dressy shoes in their bed­room closet, boots in a coat closet and ev­ery­day shoes in a mud­room. But when or­ga­niz­ing, you want to see all of your shoes in one place so that you can edit out those items that you don’t need. Pin­sky warns, “Do not put any­thing back un­til you have com­pleted the en­tire sort­ing process.”

When it came to edit­ing, Small­wood fol­lowed (and still fol­lows) Pin­sky’s rule: If you haven’t worn it in a year, sell or do­nate it. Most items Small­wood was able to sell on the Real Real, an on­line lux­ury con­sign­ment shop. Pin­sky also rec­om­mends sell­ing items on the web­site Tradesy and do­nat­ing to lo­cal thrift shops.

After edit­ing, Pin­sky as­sessed the re­main­ing items, group­ing clothes that needed to hang to­gether and those that needed to be folded or stacked to­gether. She then set about re­work­ing and max­i­miz­ing Small­wood’s space. “We got rid of all ex­ist­ing shelv­ing and built a new sys­tem that used the full height and width of the room.” For a cost-friendly op­tion, Pin­sky rec­om­mended us­ing Ikea’s Pax sys­tem. By cre­at­ing an ef­fi­ciently de­signed frame­work that in­cluded hang­ing space, shelves, draw­ers and bins, Small­wood even ended up hav­ing enough room for a van­ity area.

Once the closet ar­chi­tec­ture was in place, Pin­sky and Small­wood or­ga­nized the items by cat­e­gory: tops, dresses, jack­ets, pants, skirts, shoes and bags were each given their des­ig­nated area and within each group­ing, the items were ar­ranged by color. Pin­sky says if you make sure ev­ery item has a place, then you have no ex­cuse not to put it back.

For hang­ing items, Small­wood in­vested in all new co­or­di­nat­ing hang­ers, which help cre­ate vis­ual or­der and sym­me­try within the closet. “It’s crazy how much eas­ier it is to get dressed in the morn­ing when you start your day with a sense of calm,” Small­wood says. “I am no longer frus­trated by not know­ing where to start.” As for Pin­sky’s part­ing words to Small­wood, she thinks they were, “Do not bring any­thing into your house that you do not need, love or will have no use for, even if it was free, a good deal or a gift.”

The ex­er­cise had a pro­found ef­fect on Small­wood: “I think we of­ten don’t re­al­ize how much our en­vi­ron­ment plays such a big role on our mood, our self-es­teem and even our style and the way we dress. By or­ga­niz­ing my closet, I can now cre­ate looks I had never put to­gether be­fore and I don’t dread that mo­ment ev­ery day of de­cid­ing what to wear.”

Pin­sky adds, “When you are or­ga­nized, every­thing in your life be­gins to feel more ef­fi­cient.”

But, she cau­tions, “you have to be ready to make the change. You have to be ready to let go of things.” Eliz­a­beth May­hew is a free­lancer for The Wash­ing­ton Post.

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