How To Create and Maintain A Lean Closet II

March 7, 2014


(from the Cuyana Lean Closet Movement week 3)

 part of my wardrobe

The Perfect Physical Space: Your wardrobe. We’re renting the place we live in at the moment so I haven’t got the luxury of designing my own closet. Molly Graves (from Neat Method) suggests having a look at what you have (post wardrobe cull) to determine what your wardrobe needs are. I don’t have much in terms of clothes, but the same can’t be said for shoes. Molly suggests thinking about the type of person you are – shoes, jeans, dresses? As well as considering if you are a ‘hanger’ or ‘folder.’ Having an understanding of these things will help you determine what your physical space will need. Krissy Tiglias (deputy editor at Real Simple) recommends accepting your space for what it is and thinking through what will work in that particular space. Great products aren’t great if they don’t fit your space or your wardrobe requirements.

Hanging and Folding: I have a walk in wardrobe and one of the first things I did was ensure we had hangers that were all the same colour – black plastic ones. I have 12 hangers of a different colour on a clothes rail that lets me keep tabs on what needs dry cleaning and/or can be re-worn, like coats and jackets. I bought open shelves, those cube type things, but this was probably a mistake. I don’t really like folding clothes, and some items, like tshirts and tops can be annoying and messy. I’d much prefer a chest of drawers for these, next time.

my shoes are currently either on shoe racks or in their original boxes

Racks or Boxes: I would love to store my shoes in clear plastic boxes but I haven’t got around to purchasing them. I think it’s a good idea to decide early on how you would like your shoes stored. Boxes would work in my current wardrobe because I have a fair bit of shelf and floor space. I keep some of my more expensive shoes in their original boxes but there are others that could definitely benefit from individual storage containers. I’m curious, with your more expensive shoes, do you keep them in their original boxes and dust bags? I currently do, and doubt that this will change.

Organising Your Clothes: Krissy suggests organising clothing by type, which is what I currently do. I begin with tops and blouses and then short dresses, long dresses, jackets and coats. Some people prefer to organise by colour, I think it’s important to find a system that makes getting dressed easier for you. By type suits my lifestyle at the moment because of all the layers I have to wear. It’s easy just to go through, long sleeve top, button up blouse, knit, jacket – done. I’d be rather daunted going by colour, and honestly, there really isn’t a whole lot of colour in  my wardrobe anyway.

a cheap little piano keys coat hook to keep my necklaces organised

Accessories: I think we sometimes forget about the little things that we later realise actually add up to a lot – scarves, belts, jewellery, bags. I hang my necklaces on a little rack with hooks, my watches go in a little bowl, and my more precious pieces remain in their boxes. What I do have trouble storing are my bags. Getting them to ‘sit’ properly can be tricky. The Neat Method have these pillows that you pop inside your bags to help position them properly. These would be easy to make, and are on my to-do list.

Out-of-Season: We’ve all heard it, stow away clothes that you don’t need for the current season. What I enjoy about this process is that it lets you identify what you have and what you may need for the current season. I’ve just realised that I probably need another pair of flat ankle boots, a tall boot, a winter coat, base layers and some knits. This probably sounds like a shocking list, but I am currently in a place where it is 7 degrees during summer.

Easy Access: One of my favourite ‘new’ tips was from Krissy who suggests having a bin or a basket on the floor in which you can put things that you reach for the most. This could be scarves, hats and gloves in the winter or light scarves, bikinis and flip flops in the summer. I also think this tip could work nicely for the family, having a basket in the hall way, or by the door for things you’re likely to forget but quite likely to need!


  • Carly Webber

    I love this series and the fewer better things philosophy Vanisha. So grateful to have come across it. I really need a WHOLE new wardrobe after having and nursing the kids, but with a pending shift to a colder climate, I'm inclined to put off redesigning and buying anything for my wardrobe. This has certainly made me more concious of planning and choosing what I will fill it with though. Minimalist. I like it!!!
    I do love knee high boots though (haven't owned any while in QLD but looking forward to wearing them again in NZ!). I used to roll up a newspaper and slide in it each boot to keep them 'straight' and will do so again to keep them in good condition and also to save space and tangle while stored.
    Thanks again for your tips!

  • Kristian

    These are great tips- I LOVE the idea of the colors of hangers keeping track of what needs to be cleaned how.

    For boots, the best tip I've found is to put empty win bottles in them to help them stand up and keep their shape.

  • Anne

    Great post Vanisha…I will be leaving a basket in the hall I think, as most of mine step in the door and right out of their shoes!!

  • Lulu Abruzzo

    I just had a major clearout of my clothing and accessories. Bagged up and off to charity. Trying to focus on a pared down, classic wardrobe.

  • Diana Mieczan

    I also organize by clothes by type and sort them by season. I totally need to do a huge clean-up of my closet. I feel like I have tons of things I am not wearing and never will again:) Time for spring cleaning, I guess:)

  • Mother Down Under

    I am a hanger girl. I hate folding and I think things get lost in drawers…I can't see what I have and I end up only wearing the things on top.
    I keep my expensive shoes in dust bags but that is only because I don't have room for boxes!
    I really need to do a big clean…my friends at home are all talking about their spring cleans and I think it is rubbing off on me!

  • Sam

    This was such a helpful and informative read, your wardrobe is very neatly organized and i really like how you displayed your shoes on racks, I prefer this method of storage because its easy to see what you have right in front of you. I do keep my fancier heels in clear boxes but it isn't very space-effective to store. I also like the idea of hanging up necklaces, it won't get tangled that way. I have an easy-access scarf drawer and thats been really easy and functional. Great post hun!

  • fashionpas

    Really enjoying your posts on this. It has been really helpful to find out about Cuyana and the Lean Closet movement and I can't wait to work on my wardrobe!

    I personally like to keep my more expensive shoes in their dust bags and in the box – even if I'm wearing them frequently (e.g., twice on a given week). I just make sure the box is accessible.

    I also organise my clothes by type and always store away out-of-season items. I seriously can't handle too much stuff so this is a necessity for my mental well-being!

    Again, thank you for putting this post together. It just makes me quite excited/happy for some reason 🙂 xo

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