Saturday, June 9, 2012

DIY InStyle Closet Make-Over

IHeart Organizing
When we built our home I had grand visions of a walk-in closet outfitted with shelves, whisper slide-drawers, mirrors, and a place for everything a la the California Closet ads, the genius use of space as seen at Ikea or better yet like the decadent spreads of celebrity closets I fawn over in magazines like Instyle. See the below dream closet.

Source: via Stephanie on Pinterest

Alas, I got the walk in closet, minus the accoutrements. Budget and time rendered it the last thing on our list and then it was just forgotten or rather forgone. For the last few years I’ve been making do with a single shelf, some bins, hanging shelves from IKEA and piles. Lots and lots of piles. I declare that piles are the enemy of efficiency and organization.

I’m going for both of those especially in the morning. Rooting through and eventually dumping a heap of clothing on the floor to get to that one shirt I’m looking for does not a swiftly dressed and ready lady make. But for now I will have to make do with what I’ve got.


Turning to the March issue of InStyle as my guide ---- (I’m perennially behind on my magazines. That pile is stacked high and I usually don’t get to reading them until a month or so later- usually all in one big go, but if you no longer have this issue or didn’t to begin with often times articles are printed online or your local library may carry back issues. My cousin had a spread that I missed so I went to the library and lo and behold it was there! You can also ask a friend (like me) if they have back issues…if all else fails, often there is an option on the magazine’s website to get a particular issue.) I loosely followed the “Whip your Wardrobe into Shape” article starting on page 271.

1.    Purge & Organize

I emptied the closet in its entirety. I asked myself in earnest if each garment was worth hanging onto. Yes or No? If the latter it went into a rag pile (and there were a fair number of items only fit to be turned into rags) or a donate pile.

I tend to be a bit of a minimalist in theory, but in practice think, “Well, I might fit into it again someday” or “There might be an occasion where I will be able to wear that…someday.” There is no time like the present and if I’ve been using those excuses going on more years than I’d like to reveal, then it is time for the old heave-ho.


I tend to balk at decision making (abusing my freedom, I know, forgive me) so I assigned several articles to a pile that I made myself promise to try on and wear within a month’s time. If at the end of the day I felt good in that shirt, dress, etc. then I’d reunite it with its hanger in the closet, if not, it’d go by the way of Sally-Ann’s (aka Salvation Army.)

2.    Evaluate
I determined what my favorite clothing had in common. In other words what made it my go-to wearable, feeling good kinda garb. Soft and comfortable was key…yoga pants were forbidden. Long slender jeans, fitted shirts that balanced my top and bottom and a neutral color paired with something a bit bolder. 

All I can see for miles are piles!

But I can do this!

I systematically resorted my clothing and returned it to the closet. Making a new space for linens, beach towels and bathing suits, stored winter clothing, a new shoe space and some clutter-free area.

Getting there...

Sort of organized pile.

Little hiccup in the process. I was wondering why the photos were so hazy. What happens when you drop your phone/camera in that little lady's water bowl.

Thankfully solved with hair dryer. It was fun watching the mist recede.

3.    Get Inspired
This issue of Instyle was three quarters of an inch thick. Yes I measured. In its pages I found loads of great outfits and turn to Pinterest for more inspiration.

I found plenty I liked, from denim by Lucky Brand to nautical stripes to spring polka-dots.

Source: via Ladies on Pinterest

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

Items to add to my wardrobe and/or replace include: new swim suit and cover-up. I can’t get away with donning a dress I’ve outgrown and calling it a cover-up just because I didn’t have the heart to pass it on. A sun-dress or two- preferably polka-dot. A nautical tee, colored denim. A skirt, but haven’t decided on the style.  

5.    Shop

*Okay. Fine. I’ll only do it because Instyle told me to…it’s number five on my list and I’ve got to complete the list!

6.    Create your outfits
Easier said than done, but this one will be a work in progress.

Shoe area and basket for clothing that I will wear and if not donate within the month.

From mess to success.

*Not only was my closet in dire need of a makeover, but so is my wardrobe. However, the truth is my current budget will necessitate that I shop in the newly organized shelves and racks of my own closet. Not as fun and a heck of a lot more creativity is required, but I can do this, I keep telling myself.  Using my Pinterest faves as inspiration I set about creating seven new outfits from my old clothes.

The rule I made for myself is the items I am putting together can’t have been in this particular configuration before and I have to actually use some of the accessories I’ve accumulated. They tend to be desired and loved, but rarely worn. Does anyone else have that problem?

Like I said the article was a guide and in theory I used the principles for their intended purpose while saving some green and being green…don’t get me wrong I will at some point get me a pair of brightly hued jeans and a sharp tee with blue and white stripes, but for now I feel like I can breathe a breath of fresh air in my new-organized closet space.

Now as for my two dressers, those are for another day.


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  1. I am about to do the same thing today! I'm glad you stopped by 'oh so nifty' so I could find you! I've got the pile thing going on too! ...and I almost never wear my accessories either! Well, I'm going to go get my purge on. ;)

    1. Glad you could relate...I always have the best intentions to get out of my "outfit sans accessories rut" but it just wasn't working. Now with things organized I'm far more inspired.

  2. I'm moving soon and definitely need to do this before I go. Thanks for the inspiration! I'll be saving this post for reference!

    1. Document the before and after for your own enjoyment or for a post- it was gratifying seeing what I started with and what I ended up with.
      Thanks for commenting! <3

  3. Good job :) I wish I could get started on clearing my closet. It's high time LOL.

    1. It is so worth doing- especially before summer! Good Luck!


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