Hello, friends! I’ve got a treat for you this week on the blog. I’ve partnered with Samantha Tobia, Professional Organizer and Owner of Demessify here in Denver, to ask the most common questions I get from clients about wardrobe organization. I interviewed her to find out what she recommends most frequently for closet organizational supplies, how to best organize small closets, and the challenges she addresses most often with clients who hire her to set up a longterm solution in their wardrobe.
What I love most about Sam is her commitment to meet clients where they are in their wardrobe (and home!). She doesn’t get caught up in the fussy pretty-but-doesn’t-function-well style of organizing (a trap I can easily fall into!) but is more interested in learning about YOU, your lifestyle, and what makes the most sense for maintaining a clutter-free and CALMING space inside your wardrobe. Her primary goal is to set up a space that will function LONG term for your day-in and day-out needs, rather than simply design a nice area for storing your clothing.
Without further ado, meet Sam!! She’s SUCH a gem, and I hope you’ll enjoy learning from her as much as I have. If reading this blog sparks any interest in speaking with her further, make sure to navigate to THIS page for a direct link to get in touch with her!
Q: How should I be organizing my closet?
Personally, I’m a big fan of not “shoulding all over yourself”. How you organize your wardrobe is completely dependent on your own life, values, and goals. I’ve helped folks downsize in preparation for #vanlife, and at the same time helped others move into a fully organized, color coded, labeled walk-in closet. We all have a different relationship with our clothes and have different needs. That being said, regardless of who you are, how you dress, or how “minimalist” you want to be, your goal should be to make getting dressed on a typical morning as easy as possible. For most of my clients, this looks like:
First, always DECLUTTER. Give yourself a challenge - can you donate at least 10% of clothing items that don’t fit you, aren’t flattering, aren’t comfortable, or haven’t been worn in more than a year? Only AFTER you’ve decluttered should you move onto the next step - organizing what you want to keep.
Group “like with like” together (all casual tees together, all jeans together, all shorts together, all professional wear together, etc).
THEN color code each of those groups, IF it makes you happy. If it’s not a system you can maintain, then don’t worry about it. The important thing is that you group “like with like.”
Note: Unlike some organizers, I’m really passionate about meeting clients where they are and taking their whole life into account. This means that if you really don’t care about having a pinterest-perfect wardrobe, and you just want to have some semblance of order in your closet, I won’t ever force you to fold or hang clothing is a specific way. As you’re setting up an organizational system, be honest with yourself about whether you can realistically manage this system during a busy week. Ex: Do you really think these yoga pants will stay folded and organized perfectly when you have a crazy week at work? Do you want to put the pressure on yourself of maintaining this new highly organized system? Or should we just toss them in a “yoga pant drawer”, where they will be easily accessible? The closet organization process shouldn’t be putting MORE pressure and tasks on your plate in the future, it should be making your life easier.
Q: What organizational supplies do you most often recommend to your clients when it comes to closet?
Surprisingly, I often find that the unique closet organizers can sometimes end up creating MORE mess and don’t make life any easier! I’m a much bigger fan of putting things like tank tops, scarves, or anything else that doesn’t need to be kept completely wrinkle-free (and can be folded!) in simple acrylic plastic or mesh drawers OR simple bins/baskets where you can easily see the contents inside. Typically when I leave sessions where we focus on the closet, my clients are surprised they don’t need to buy a lot of additional supplies and can easily use baskets, bins, or small drawer sets they already own to stay organized.
Q: If you have limited (or no) space to hang items in your closet, what's the best way to store clothing/accessories so you can see everything you own?
This is a great question! I always work to ensure clothing and accessories can be seen, accessed easily, and organized in a way that’s easy to put back in the future. This is especially relevant to my clients who have ADD or ADHD. It’s easy to forget about clothing at the bottom of bins and drawers (out of sight out of mind, right?).
Here’s some common ways I solve this problem:
Label the inside lip of drawers or dressers with its contents (yoga pants, socks, t-shirts) so you can easily remember what’s inside each drawer.
Add mesh or see-through drawers like this.
Add wire/mesh bins and baskets so you can easily see what's inside.
Add hanging shelves in part of the closet or simple cube shelves on the floor for sweaters and jeans.
Add an over-the-door pocket organizer behind your bedroom door and use it for storing shoes, scarves, belts, and other accessories.
File fold clothing in dresser drawers, if that’s reasonable and practical for you. It’s not practical for lots of people, and that’s okay! Personally, I only file fold my t-shirts and pj’s so I can easily see them in one of my deep drawers. I don’t file fold my underwear...call me a rebel, but I don’t have time for that! ;)
My online store features many of the storage solutions I mention above as well as other favorite solutions for keeping categories of clothing and accessories separated! Click here to check it out.
Q: Where should I donate clothing I’ve spent money on and hardly worn?
Personally, I love Peak Thrift in Denver! The proceeds from this higher-end thrift store go to support Urban Peak, a homeless youth shelter in Denver. You can read more about Thrift Peak here (it’s also a great place to shop!). ;)
Q: What organizational challenges do you see the most and how do you address them?
I see lots of small shared closets in old houses. It’s easy in this situation for your wardrobe to be strewn across multiple rooms and closets throughout the house to compensate for the lack of space in the bedroom closet. In this scenario, I recommend:
1) Keeping clothing items you access frequently in your bedroom dresser and main closet. It’s okay to keep some clothing in other rooms if you’re short on closet space - just make sure it’s clothing items you don’t need to access as frequently (i.e. formal dresses, scuba gear, halloween costumes, etc. don’t need to be easily accessible).
2) I also encourage my clients to get creative and fill the vertical wall and door space in their closet. Over-the-door shoe or hat racks, lots of simple wall hooks for hats, purses, and bags, or wall-mounted jewelry racks take advantage of this space that otherwise sits empty.
Q: Maternity clothing and clothing post-baby can be so frustrating. How do I keep my closet and wardrobe sane during this otherwise chaotic time of my life?
Great question! Of course, each person’s closet and scenario is different, so the specific way I serve each client differs slightly here. Depending on where the client is in their pregnancy or post-delivery, I typically work with them to set aside one section of the closet or one drawer for maternity and nursing clothes. I try to make this section SUPER accessible because chances are, you’re going to be wearing items from that drawer daily and already have a lot going on in your life! We want you to be able to grab whatever items you need as easily as possible.
Sometimes, depending on closet and drawer space, this may mean clearing out space of lesser used clothes and storing them somewhere else while you’re pregnant (maybe the formal dresses go somewhere else so we can make space for maternity/nursing clothing in the closet! Or maybe we move the drawer with ski and rock climbing gear into storage and make that the maternity/nursing drawer). Remember to focus on keeping the clothes you’ll be wearing most frequently as accessible as possible.
Curious to learn more from Sam? Don’t miss out on her FREE resource for tackling the paper chaos in your home (this is amazing!)! Click here for access.
When you book with both Sam and myself, we’ll give you a 10% discount on BOTH our services! Don’t miss the chance to get strategic with your wardrobe AND closet space.
You can also see several real-life examples of work Sam has done with clients by clicking here.
Contact Sam directly by sending her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.