In every shopaholic's life, there comes a moment where it's time to face the facts: You need to clean out your closet. For me, the breaking point came when I returned home one night to find all my clothes had exploded out of my closet thanks to a collapsed closet rod.
This is what it looked like:
So then this happened...
Right away, it became clear that my cat was more than happy to sleep (and shed) on the heaps of clothes now piled up on my floor—what's up with cats and piles of stuff?—and I knew that swift action was necessary.
Here's what to do when your closet rod throws in the towel:
1. Call in for reinforcements. These clothes aren't going to move themselves, so it's time for some heavy lifting and an honest evaluation of what stays and what goes.
For this part of the task, invite over your most-honest friends (the ones who aren't afraid to tell you that your butt does look kind of big in those jeans). Ply them with wine and snacks if necessary.
2. Try everything on. Ask yourself the following questions: Have you worn the item in the past year? Does it currently reflect the image you want to project? Is it flattering? If the perfect opportunity to wear the item arose, would you choose to wear it?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is "no," give the item away. We're all guilty of holding onto clothes for sentimental reasons—or in the hopes we'll one day be that size again. But styles change, and so do our bodies. Photo albums—not our closets—are the place for storing memories.
3. Out of season? Out of sight. This means if it's the middle of summer, there's no reason to have all those bulky sweaters and coats taking up valuable real estate. Under-bed organizers are great for keeping things dust-free and out of the way, while vacuum sealed bags help further maximize space.
4. Fixable finds. During my closet excavation I came across a few gems, including an amazing vintage dress from the '50s that's always been a little bit big in the waist and a tad too long. With a few tweaks, it will be perfect to wear to a wedding. A pencil skirt with a broken zipper and a cocktail dress with a hole in its seam can also be salvaged.
5. Analyze accessories. Even more so than clothes, shoe and purse styles tend to change. Heel width and toe shape are rarely the same from one season to the next. Case in point: The Spice Girls may be hot again, but those platform boots are not.
6. Get industrial strength rods and support beams…just in case. I'm not saying that I'm going to back to my hoarder ways, but stranger things have happened. So, should my shopping habit rear its ugly head, this support rod should help prevent another fiasco.
7. Use your space wisely. Rather than just hanging things horizontally, look for items like this closet doubler, which allow skirts and shorts to hang on one rod, while blouses hang above them.
8. No more wire hangers! No wonder Joan Crawford hated them so much. Is there anything worse than stretched out shoulders on a cashmere sweater? While those luxe velvety hangers can be pricey (why spend on hangers, when I could put that money towards clothes?), buying in bulk helps defray the cost.
9. Sorting system. Organize clothes by item and color. The pieces you wear most frequently should be front and center (think work clothes), whereas things like sparkly cocktail dresses can be relegated to the corners. Unless, of course, you're Cat Deeley and wear sparkly sorts of things on the regular.
10. Finishing touches. Little things like lighting can go a long way. I dream of one day owning a walk in closet with track lighting, but until that dream becomes a reality, I found these stick on lights help illuminate the far reaches of my closet. Meanwhile, these make accessing bras and belts much easier.
At least some of us enjoyed ourselves.