Late spring is crazy, really crazy. The weather is crazy, our schedules get crazy, there are a crazy amount of events. And, as if on cue crazy stuff starts to happen in my life. For example, last Friday I spend from 9pm -3am at an emergency veterinary center because one of our senior aged beagles suffered a ruptured abscess of her anal gland. Yep, seriously, couldn’t make this crap up if I tried. A whopping bill and several bottles of medication later she is on the mend. Oh and by the way did you know the proper name for “the cone of shame aka the lampshade” is an Elizabethan collar? I know because it’s on the invoice. Nice try but that name isn’t working to dignify the result.

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Annie is not a fan of the cone.

My point is that when Springtime becomes crazy you absolutely need simplicity in your life. What do you do every single day? Get dressed. If that goes well you are off to a good start. If that is frustrating and annoying there is a good chance someone will ask you who pissed in your cheerios as you carry your bad attitude with your during your day. Stop the madness and start a revolution right in your own closet. This isn’t about revamping your wardrobe and making over your style.  In the immortal words of Sweet Brown “Ain’t nobody got time for that” , at least not right now. This is about how to better organize what you have so you can get dressed and get out the door.

Number 1 – If you can’t wear it on your body then it doesn’t belong in your closet. 

This is the most important step! If it isn’t clothes than it doesn’t get to earn a spot in your closet. Think of your closet space as a private jet with room for only your closest friends. Throwing a bunch of extra stuff of the plane would take room away from the people you wanted to bring. Your closet is the same as the jet, it’s a first class ride for the things you love to wear, so don’t waste space with boxes of photos, kids art projects, old electronics, exercise equipment, etc. All the other stuff in there is physically taking up room in your closet and visually cluttering your space. It’s easy for your closet to become a black hole dumping ground for odds and ends. Remove the extra clutter and stop unwanted guests at the door. And don’t get caught up in sorting what you take out. Put it all in a bin and go through it another time.

Number 2 – Buy matching hangers. 

I know it sounds like a splurge but when everything looks nice you will want to keep it that way. You know how when you take a t-shirt off of a wire hanger and you put it on, only to notice you have two dents above the shoulders. You then have to either put it back and find something else,  get out an iron and an ironing board (way too much work!), or go with the I have points on my shoulders look.  Plus how annoying is it when there is that one shirt that is constantly sliding off of the hanger onto the floor, curling up into a ball to be rendered useless or forgotten. The right type of hangers (no slip velvet slimline for delicate  and lightweight items, wooden for jackets and shirts, and slides or clips for your pants) you will save time and it will look cohesive.

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Number 3 – Put like with like.

Let’s face it, stores like Anthropolgie, while devastatingly beautiful, are hard to shop. If you are out shopping for a dress there is no dress section. If you need a blue sweater there is no area where blue items are. You then find yourself sorting through each and every rack, leaving with an absurdly expensive but delicious smelling candle, but sans dress or sweater. Your closet can come close to looking like an Anthropologie store, minus the creative displays and good smelling merchandise. If you have to go through piece by piece to find a certain white tank top, then it is time to create departments. There is no hard and fast rules for this because it has to work with your brain. Think of stores that you do like shopping in. How are they arranged? By color? By type? By purpose? Some clients find they need all their work clothes separate from their weekend and casual clothing. Other clients do best when everything goes by color, regardless of the material or purpose. Sometimes this takes a little bit of trial and error but if you listen to your instincts you will figure out what works best. Below are pics from a before and after for a client.

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Number 4 – Upgrade your lighting.

Can you imagine shopping in a windowless dimly lit store? Because that is the equivalent of most of our closets. Next time you are in a smaller store look up at the lighting. It’s bright, really bright, usually some kind of track led or halogen. This is because they burn longer, brighter, and the track allows you to point different lights in different directions. A chandelier is a beautiful and feminine touch, but make sure you have additional sources of light.  If overhead lighting isn’t an option consider a floor lamp with an angled or adjustable light. You can’t get dressed if you can’t see your clothes.

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image via suziegaffney.com

Number 5 – Put it on display.

If you can’t see it you probably won’t use it. Most of us are visual by nature and when crunched for time we grab and go. Think about what your Spring essentials are and place them front and center. This is the time to take heavy sweaters and scarves either out of your closet or put to the back or up high. Shorts, flip flops and summer handbags should be front and center. This is exactly what the stores do all year. If temperature start to soar you can guarantee Home Depot will put air conditioners on display front and center. Snow shovels get pushed to the deep dark recesses until the meteorologist warns of snow. And don’t worry about something getting ruined because it is out. I have many clients who are very careful with their accessory investments, whether it be shoes, handbags or jewelry. They always want to keep these items in their boxes or the dust jackets to protect them. The problem is that when Spring fever hits we forget what we can’t see. When the season is over they go back to hibernating in their dark resting places, much like the shovels at Home Depot that had to make room for the grills and lawn furniture.

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Images above via suzie gaffney wardrobe consulting

*Insider Tip – Shop your closet.

The owners of clothing boutiques select the clothing for their store. The buying process is equally as important as the display because no one wants to display stuff they don’t even like. This is where you need to become ruthless and look at everything in your closet as if you were buying it for the first time. YOU get to decide if you want to keep it in YOUR boutique aka your closet. Don’t settle for just “eh” type pieces. You have invested money in these items and the only way to get a return on your investment is to wear them, so make sure you love every item!