If there’s anyone who knows what a messy closet looks like, it’s me. Living in New York City and being an avid fashion lover has presented itself with many problems, wardrobe space being one. I grew up in Michigan, where space was abundant, and can fondly say that my childhood closet (from when I had far less clothing) is the size of my first Manhattan apartment that I shared with a roommate. Even though I’ve moved my way up in the city and now have three closets, I’m still busting at the seams and have always struggled to figure out which items to get rid of. Last week, I brought in a professional, and my apartment was changed forever.
Shelfie is the NYC-based wardrobe-organisation duo that transformed my space in record time. They completely broke down my current system and made me realise so many amazing things that I could do with my space. The display case I used to show off my Chanel boots is now filled with denim organised by fit. Crevices that I could never get uncluttered are now comfortably fitting my favourite items with room to spare. How did they do it? I’m still asking myself the same question, but first you need to see the results for yourself.
What’s the best advice you have for a busy person who likes to stay organised?
“Keep your wardrobe staples toward the front of the closet and statement pieces toward the back. This will give you easy access to what you wear the most often.” — Sara Losonci, Shelfie Founder
How can people stay organised after completely revamping their closet?
“The systems we put in place are for the long haul. I always organise for the lazy person. For example, as long as you throw the tank tops in the tank top hole, you’ll be able to find the tank tops. Adding labels will make it a lot harder for you to put a shirt where pants go.” — Losonci
How do you suggest finding storage options for small spaces?
“Think outside the box. For example, the cabinet where we put your shoes is what people will think is a media cabinet. If you go in the kitchen aisle at the container store and you look for plate dividers, they actually make for a good stand for your shoes. Always look for an opportunity to purge. Be really real with yourself about what you’re holding on to.
“Invest in Elfa, the Container Store’s closet system. We regularly swap out the standard closet system and put in the Elfa system that’s modular, which means they can change over time. We like to see what you have and design a closet based on what your actual possessions are.
“Use vertical space, build up, and have full shoe storage and sweater storage to the ceiling if you’re someone who needs it. When you don’t have a lot of square footage, you need to use the height that you have. Be creative.” — Losonci
Now, here are the seven things the professionals suggest you avoid keeping in your wardrobe.
“Stained items, items with holes, stretched-out necks, anything that is piling—if it can’t be mended or cleaned properly, get rid of it. Cashmere pills, and people say it’s cashmere, so they don’t want to donate it, but it’s pilling, and it looks bad, so you just have to get rid of it.” — Losonci
“Ask yourself, ‘Which one do I pick first?’ Choose the one that you wear the most often. Go with your gut instinct. You have to emotionally check yourself. If you want another pair, you’ll buy another pair so think about making more room for the things that you want. If you run into a space issue, then you’ve got to purge.” — Losonci
“We have a lot of people who have a lot of things with tags still on. We get it, you spent money on this, you don’t wear it. Use it as lesson learned. Don’t do it again, and let’s make space for the things that you need. It has more resale value with the tags, so sell it.” — Losonci
This is my biggest vice because when I love a pair of shoes, I don’t care how much they hurt, and I attempt to still get a good wear out of them at least once a year, but that’s not enough when you’re dealing with New York real estate.
“Wide-leg jeans are back in, and when I was 13, I was wearing them with black nail polish and going for an emo look. I would never try to hold on to those things for too long unless it’s a nice designer bag. They’ll make a more modern rendition.” — Losonci
“So many people invest in fast fashion, and it’s usually the first stuff that goes out the door. That just tells you fewer, better things.” — Losonci
Instead invest in brands like Ninety Percent that give back and create timeless pieces.
“Be real with yourself about what size you are. We have a client who worked in fashion. She still has a whole wardrobe of her size-10, nice, high-end pieces. She’s had two kids, and she’s now a size 16, and that’s okay, but she’s taking up three closets in her apartment because she can’t let go of the things that are never going to fit again.” — Losonci
This is one of the items that the Shelfie team encouraged me to invest in, and it has come in so clutch with organising miscellaneous items that end up getting shoved into corners. Now that I can see everything out in the open, accessorising has never been easier.
Not only are packing cubes handy for holiday, but they can also be used to help store pieces you’ve taken out of your wardrobe rotation this season, helping them to stay fresh and last longer.
They might not look the chicest, but hanging storage like this can be a real space saver!
This post originally appeared on Who What Wear US.