Closet Revamp {Part I}



Wouldn’t life be splendid if you had a closet like that?

I’m currently in the process of gutting my entire closet. It’s one of my birthday gifts to myself. Are you scared for me?! You should be because it might suck me in and I’ll never see the light of day again. Anyone who knows even a tiny bit of information about my wardrobe knows this will probably wind up taking far longer than it should. I often say the amount of clothes I own should be illegal. So, arrest me.

But a couple weeks ago I had the Today Show on in the background and heard a preview for the next segment, Declutter your Closet and Simplify Your Life, promoting Jill Martin and Dana Ravik’s new book I Have Nothing to Wear. I actually ended up DVRing the segment since I had to run to off to work and I’m really glad I did because there were some crucial points made about revamping your wardrobe and closet.

First, Jill said any time you utter those words “I have nothing to wear” you most likely need to get rid of about 75% of your wardrobe. I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard this and the first thing that came to my mind was “Mmmk, am I going to have to walk around in my undies now?!” For some reason, I feel like most people who say they have nothing to wear always go out and buy more clothes just because it seems easier. Doing so basically prevents you from taking inventory of what you already own. But the more I thought about it the more I realized the clothes I do wear the most are classics, basics mixed with fun accessories, or a select few current pieces. And to be completely honest, I hardly ever wear anything that’s buried in the bottom of my drawers. Which technically means someone could go into my bedroom and steal armfuls of my clothes and I probably wouldn’t even notice they were gone because I have no idea what I even own. All I do know is that the amount of random t-shirts, absurd amount of jeans, and any clothes I bought years ago that still have tags on them have got to go. Quickly. As in before the Fall starts because there’s nothing I love more about Fall than the clothes and I’m ready to make room for ones I’ll actually wear.

I also think anytime someone is looking through their closet and says “Ohhh, I never knew I had this!” or “Ohhh, I forgot all about this!” it means it’s time to revamp the closet!

So here’s my plan of attack:

Jill suggests starting by making three piles:

• Keep

• Donate

• Maybe

I’ll probably scratch the “maybe” pile because I know anything I toss in that pile will wind up in the “keep” pile because I can’t make a decision if my life depended on it. I’ll substitute the “maybe” pile for a pile called “Bring to Second Time Around or a similar consignment shop that buys used garments so I can try to make a little moolah off of my clothes”. I’ll try to abbreviate the name of that pile before the time arrives 😉 Like I said, I have several items that still have tags on them or are in perfectly good condition but if I’m not going to wear them (or have never worn them) I’m forcing myself to just get rid of it. This will be tough. Hold me.

After the piles are made I’ll immediately bag up the clothes that need to be donated and the clothes that are being sold just to get them out of the space. On the Today Show segment Jill went to a girl’s apartment to assist her in cleaning out her closet and they wound up with 13 bags of clothes to donate. THIRTEEN. Dear goodness.

Now comes the organizing part and actually putting things back into the closet. I’ve been a fan of Huggable Hangers for years now ever since my grandmother sent me a bunch for Christmas one year (currently on sale at Container Store for $6.99/10) and that’s what Jill recommends as well. These hangers are nice and thin, which conserves space, and prevent clothes from sliding off and falling on the floor.


And I’ve always, always, always been envious of people who have stellar shoe organizing skills. Please note: this is mostly people in magazines as I’ve never met a real live person who has such skills. You know what I’m talking about. The polaroid pictures on the clear storage bins. Dare I say I’m going to do this? Well, I can promise I will do the plastic shoe bins part because they’re only $1.79 at The Container Store. Which means I can easily afford to house all of my shoes in style.


While visiting my brother’s new dorm I saw that he put one of his dressers in his closet which is an idea I might have to steal. Not only does it save space on the floor of your bedroom but it helps keep the closet organized and prevents those annoying piles from forming on your closet floor. I’m throughly enjoying these 3-drawer carts ($19.99, Container Store) that I’d probably use to store linens.


My goal is to give myself a week to get this done. And I fully plan on sharing the results with you all mainly because it will hold me accountable. Yes, I will be posting before and after pictures. I know for sure it won’t look nearly as good as the first photo of this post because I rent and I’m not about to install an intense closet system. But I fully intend on working with what I have, getting creative, and getting rid of loads of clothes so the ones I keep can have space to breathe.

What are your tips for maintaining your wardrobe and closet space?


19 Responses to "Closet Revamp {Part I}"

  1. I also saw that Today Show segment and really need to take a day to do that type of work! I always feel like I have nothing to wear and it is definitely related to my disaster of a closet! Do we get to see a before and after shot?

  2. Joanne says:

    My closet is definitely in a state of disaster at the moment. I don’t even want to THINK about how many bags I’d likely have!

  3. Sam says:

    I saw that segment too and started working on my closet too. So far I’ve gotten rid of one bag of clothes. I need to make another sweep. Probably with a friend, just like she recommended.

    The biggest thing I’ve done in the past to help organize my closet is picking up a set of tiered hangers for my pants and skirts. They’re extremely helpful.

  4. Simply Life says:

    ooh so many great idea!

    p.s. I just posted about a recipe I’ve been hanging onto from your blog!

  5. Kate says:

    I definitely need to go throught my closet as well! One thing that has worked for me though, because my closet is pretty small, is putting a wire 3-shelf unit (think of something you might see in a pantry/kitchen) on the side wall of my closet. Sweatshirts, heavy sweaters and the like get put there. I also use those clear bins for shoes, but fit, depending on their size, between 2-4 (flip-flops) pairs in a bin and stack them on the shelf at the top of the closet. One of my friends does the 1 pair per container with a picture thing – I’m jealous, need to get that organized!

  6. Amy says:

    This was the one thing we didn’t pay attention to when we bought our condo…the closets are tiny! And I have tons of clothes. About 2x a year I try to overhaul my closet and 6 months later it is a disaster again. Back in the spring I tried a new approach and I’m using lots of bins, baskets (eg, I keep a wicker basket on the floor to hold my go-to summer shoes currently), to try and keep things more organized. I’ve managed to keep the dreaded ‘clothes pile’ at bay. It seems to be working but I think it could definitely be better. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do and maybe get some new ideas!

  7. Michelle says:

    I own a LOT of clothes, shoes and purses. Like you, I simply forget what I own! When we were packing for the big move, I did a major overhaul and donated at least five bags of clothing, purses, shoes and jewelry. I have less clothes but I know what I have and I think this makes me have an even more diverse wardrobe! Good luck with the closet overhaul. It is a big task but SO worth it!

  8. Chels says:

    @lauren YEP! I mentioned in the last paragraph that I’m doing before and after photos in the Part II. Nervous to show the befores to the world hahaha [chels]

  9. Ok, you’ve inspired me! I am in the same situation and don’t even know what’s in my closet. Love the shoe container idea with the pictures! Good luck on your project!

  10. Janel says:

    I saw that segment too!!! We’re lucky to have a LOT of closet space here, but it’s actually a bad thing because I’m compelled to fill every closet! Every few months (and definitely every season) I collect a bag of clothes, etc. to give away but I still need to really simplify my closet. It’s getting out of hand. Veterans will also pick up your bags of clothes for freeeee! It’s super easy to set up. Ok, I’m with you…starting closet overhaul project NOW.

  11. Courtney says:

    This segment must have totally struck a cord… I saw it too and immediately jumped into my closet to start clearing. I am not done and easily already have 4-5 bags worth of items. And not even things I’ll miss. I am also trying really, really hard not to buy new things… the bottom line is, I have enough clothes. Probably for the rest of my life, but certainly at least for the next year. I’m sure I’ll buy some things, but I am trying to make them more meaningful. I’m sure my closet and my bank account will thank me. Can’t wait to see your progress! It’s tough, but you can do it!

  12. Good luck! Such a great feeling to have a lovely closet. I always try to re-organize mine but I tend to let it go after awhile and it turns back into mess. sigh.

  13. Those Hangers are the BEST! They created all sorts of room in my closet and in Boston where storage is at a premium, I switched everything over!

  14. Lauren says:

    I need to do this … my problem is with tee shirts. I can get rid of a ton of stuff, but my tee shirt collection is sentimental! Arg…

  15. Caitlin says:

    75% of your closet! Wow, I thought I purged my closet when I moved in June but I guess I’ve got a lot more to do. I’m hoping to get a massive summer clothes purge done in the next few weeks when I transition my closet into fall/winter mode! Can’t wait to see before and after pictures. Good luck on your closet quest!

  16. kellypea says:

    You don’t want to see my closet — but I do have some organizational skills that keep it manageable, like hanging things by color. It actually works. I like those hangers — mine are similar and yep, they create tons of space. Also, I donate to charities about 3x a year. It’s a nice write-off and helps others find great clothes for less. Closet makeovers are on our to-do list. Racks, drawers, and all. Can’t wait!

  17. Kim K says:

    i bought a custom made wardrobe from Ikea – it’s huge – and i was able to pick sliding drawers, baskets, jewelry drawers, regular shelving, etc. that houses all my tshirts and workout gear, underwear, jewelry, and purses. my closet i have organized by colors and try to stick to a keep/donate/maybe schedule. my shoes are housed on shoe racks in the closet – and out of season shoes are tucked away in storage tupperwears. i do need some better hangers though!

  18. Hehe for a sec, I thought that first picture was your closet. I was like… wow, go Chels! Anyways, it’s going to feel awesome when you’re done. Totally worth the effort!

  19. Usually once a year I go through my clothes and get rid of stuff I haven’t worn. I realized recently that I have a lot of dress clothes, and I wear jeans and t-shirts to work. I kept a few basic pieces in case I change jobs or have an event to attend, but other than that, I got rid of a lot. Now my boyfriend has more clothes (and shoes) than I do. 🙂

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