When we edit and reorganize closets for our clients, we come across two kinds of people: ones that organize by type and ones that organize by outfit.
The “typers” are SO much easier to organize for because the process of reloading the closet requires so little thought. Short sleeves with short sleeves, pants with pants, sweaters with sweaters. (I personally like to organize my closet by type because it helps me to get the clean laundry off my bed and back where it belongs!)
However, the “typers” always run into one major problem that the “outfitters” avoid — overstock. They’ve fallen into the trap of buying random pieces because they liked the feel, shape, pattern, you name it, but they rarely have plans to put their new found pieces into use beyond the full-length mirror. So the pieces sit. And collect dust. And our “typers” are burdened by the fact that although their closet is well-stocked with beautiful pieces, they’ve still got nothing to wear.
If you’re a “typer” (like me), don’t fret. There’s a proven solution for loving your wardrobe AND sorting it by type. You simply must define your outfit possibilities.
Start by snagging your favorite top and asking yourself a lot of questions. Which bottoms work best? Would it look better with a skirt or does it belong with trousers? Do you even own the trousers in the right color and cut to pull that top off? Asking questions means being brutally honest. Your pieces are guilty of not belonging until proven otherwise, so be merciless if you really want to create a closet you love.
Try on everything to ensure that each outfit works in reality, not just in theory. As you edit, you’ll naturally develop a pile of pieces that simply don’t match anything else in your closet. You could totally donate all of those right off the bat (…nobody is going to be mad about that brand new blouse with tags ending up on a rack at Goodwill for a FRACTION of the original cost). You could also take one more pass through the pile and decide if any of those pieces could be put to use if you invested in one more foundation piece. (A foundation piece is like the bottom brick of a tall building — it matches with everything else and is used frequently. Foundation pieces typically include the classic black pant or white collared shirt.)
Bottom line is the “outfitters” have a leg up on “typers” when it comes to getting dressed and feeling great. You don’t have to organize your closet like theirs, but you should always take the time to think like them to ensure a winning wardrobe.
-Lauren Flint, Upstate Clutter Coach