My closet swap-over was on Thursday, my regular day off, so I could do it all without interruption. The cleaners came in the morning and once the house was nice and tidy, I tootled off to get groceries, then procrastinated a bit, mentally psyching myself up for the job ahead. Cleaning out my closet is a physically taxing task - it takes about 5-6 hours to do it all, and that's not including my jewelry, which I did on Friday while/after doing L's closet. I put music on, and take a couple of ibuprofen, as I'm always stiff and sore the next day.
Let's get 'er started, shall we?
Sheila's Closet: Before
I'm not an especially tidy person, but I do prefer things The Way I Like Them, so I'm not averse to order. There is a place for everything in my closet, and I make an effort to return things to their homes when I'm done wearing them/have washed them. But I don't try too hard to fold perfectly or hang just so. Sometimes the best you can do is just shove it in there!
Here's a look at what you would see, peeking into my closet. It is a walk-in, but it's not giant; it's the size of a small bathroom, about a 7-foot-per-side space. I had it custom built around 15 years ago when I first lost weight (I dropped from a size 16-18 to a size 6) as I had to replace my entire wardrobe (except socks), and I hated how it used to look. It only had a rail on either side with a single long shelf above those, and a shallow set of shelves at the end. Totally insufficient for my needs, and it was always a disaster, since I could barely reach the shelving.
Angled look at the right side - my Tower of Power shoe storage! It goes right to the ceiling. It contains 16 cubbies, which can hold 2-3 pairs of shoes each, plus I line up flats on the floor.
Starting on the left side at the ceiling.
Below those shelves are my blouses, long skirts and trousers.
The other half of the left side, which is my "long-hang" bar, for dresses, jumpsuits and kimonos/dusters.
Above the long-hang are my archive boxes and fancy party gear.
Opposite side now, on the right as you look in. That orange square has a poppy tile on it. Of course I have art in my closet! My short skirts live here and I shove all "one and done" clothes (i.e. wear it once seasonal/Christmas stuff) and off-season purchases behind them. I use every square inch of my closet now!
Below the skirts are my jackets and blazers.
I don't have a ton of room to move in there! Me, plus one other person if we're having a "party visit" or I want to show them something. Ah, I miss the visits to my closet during parties - I didn't have to
Folex any drops of wine out of the carpet this season!
Folex any drops of wine out of the carpet this season!
Speaking of my off-season purchases, these are all the new/new-to-me things that I pulled down from behind the short skirts.
You may be wondering about now - Where is Vizzini?
"I'm having nothing to do with these shenanigans!"
He went into hiding until I put the vacuum cleaner away.
Swap-Over: In Progress
So, how do I clear out my closet? I work left to right, top to bottom, and pull out every item that I deem to be now off-season. Here, the sweater shelves have been done, as have the blouses/long skirts/trousers. That's what I intend to keep out: in reality, I usually have to ransack each section and put more stuff away as I've run out of room/hangers for the seasonal things that need to come back out.
- Colour: I sort of stick to the traditional season palettes; I have a lot of autumn colours and more blacks and dark colours in the cold months, plus spooky/theme-ish things for Hallowe'en and sparkly/party clothes for Christmas (and Valentine's and St. Patrick's). For the warm months, I have a lot more bright colours.
- Material/fabric/weight: For fall/winter, I have thicker materials - lots of wool, leather and cashmere in bulkier knits, vintage double-knit polyester (very warm) or fleecy items, plus velvet. In spring/summer, I have more cotton, linen and lighter-weight knits. I have silk in both seasons as it's a natural insulator.
- Tights-compatibility: My very short skirts and dresses (I do love my minis!) usually only work for me when I can wear tights, so they are kept out for the cooler months. Some of my skirts/dresses cling to nylons and tights, so can only be worn in bare-legs weather. This can also apply to shoes that only work with/without socks or tights.
- Layer-ability: Some of my clothes only work on their own, like tops that don't layer under a blazer (for colder months), so they come out for spring/summer when I don't need a topping piece. Some pieces (like my leather/suede/wool slip dresses) only work with layering pieces, so they appear in the fall/winter.
- Seasonal twins: I have a lot "twins" in my closet: the same thing in a heavier fabric version for fall/winter and a lighter version for warm weather. Examples of seasonal twins: teal slip dress, cream blazer, black skirts, yellow skirt, purple skirt, grey trousers, grey jacket, etc. etc.
Shoes, so many shoes. I pulled out all of the shoes from the Tower of Power, and started setting them up in the hallway. I'm a visual organizer, so I need to see them all to help me decide which pairs to keep out.
I clean my closet as I go, using Murphy's Oil Soap on the natural wood shelving, and glass cleaner on the mirror. I vacuum once all the stuff to be packed up has been pulled out.
I've moved my party shoes/boots around a bit on the top shelf, and found my yellow waxed canvas Fluevogs in a box on the top shelf.
What happens to all the stuff I pulled out? I start folding and making stacks for things getting stored for the season. The hangers get tossed to the side in a pile (I like the noise and the clatter of them - it's like demolition/construction).
Things that I know I'm done with or that I'm not feeling anymore gets put into the giveaway pile - I probably put about 10% in this year. Some years, when I feel my style shifting, I do more.
What about the spring/summer stuff? Oh, we are getting to that!
I also pulled this big tub out from under the jackets. At this point, I have already hung up all my new-to-me items and put them in the appropriate sections, at the front so that I make outfits out of them first.
Three flatter tubs live under the bed - they get hauled out and dusted off. I check for evidence of little paws digging in the sides (none) and for moths (none).
I take several small bathroom/tea/internet breaks as I go, and often check in on Vizzini. I discovered him snuggled under my robe on the bed.
"Not the flash, Woman!"
How else are we supposed to see you, buddy?
Sheila's Closet: After
And now...it's all done! The closet alone is about 5 hours of work and I've been on my feet almost the entire time, and I'm exhausted at the end. This is work!
Shoes first, starting up at the top on the right side.
Two more shelves full of old friends.
Two more shelves. As I did last season, one shelf is empty and has my new-to-me soft tops and accessories.
L zeroed in on the chunky orange shoes in the top right. "What are these ugly things? Why don't you wear them in the fall?"
And the shoes on the floor, which are walking/shopping-friendly.
On the opposite/left side, I have two pairs of boots that I kept out.
Walking booties and brown boots because I felt like it.
Still on the left, here are the party/sweater shelves all nice and tidied.
Below that, my sweater shelves.
Below the shelving, here are my long-sleeved blouses, long skirts and trousers.
To the left of those, my long-hand with my dresses.
Now onto the right side - here's that top shelf with my ginormous black hat, a couple of fascinators, and my two pairs of party boots.
I have a lot of jackets and blazers for spring/summer, far more than for fall/winter.
Are you still doing the Hanger Trick? Yes, I am! When I hang up my clothes, I put all the hangers backwards (hook facing towards me). As I wear items, I put them back on their hanger with it going the "right" way (hook facing away from me). This helps me see what hasn't been worn yet, and has been a game-changer in my goal to wear all of my clothes at least once. As a Maximalist, I don't just want to be a collector of cool clothes: I want to love and wear everything that I own.
In addition to my clothes, I also swap over my accessories. It helps me ensure I wear everything, and keeps these sections from getting over-crowded. I need to see them!
Even my belt tubs and obi box get a swap-over.
I rearrange my tights, pulling all the bulky/thick/fleece ones into a rolled-up shopping back to live in the bottom shelf of my lingerie chest.
I dusted off the top shelf of my lingerie chest and rearranged my things. Painting by Hazel, miniature ramshackle version of the lingerie chest by L (he gave this to me instead of bringing the full-sized shelf to Powell River for Christmas).
I also cleared off, dusted and rearranged my bag/shoe shelf. All my party purses and my two beaded Birks belts live here, where I can peruse them at leisure.
And here's the two bottom shelves, full of my shopping shoes.
I packed away my seasonal masks.
I pulled out some bright from last season. Will we still be doing masks come September? Probably.
And lastly, I redid the hall coat tree/bench thing.
My share of the storage. I cleared out some of the older scarves/gloves, and as I did with L's, I packed away the really heavy stuff in a tightly-tied shopping bag underneath these. Storing things underneath helps these bags be easier to see and access.
It was around this point that Vizzini appeared, to scope out the uncluttered closet. He is always trying to get behind the clothes or up on the bags.
"This is MY closet!"
We have "lost" him more than once when he's gotten in there (sneaky bugger) and fallen asleep behind my dresses. I keep the door shut at all times because of him in general, but it's always a surprise to see the black paw snaking out from under the door if he wakes up before we find him.
The Giveaway Pile
I always seem to find things that can go.
As we still can't get pick-ups for donations, and I can't have a clothing giveaway at home or at work, I just sorted them into their bags in the library.
"Would you please remove this junk from my cuddle benches, Woman?"
I can always change my mind down the road, and pull out regret-me-nots!
Found Things Interlude
I discovered my race-walk medals when I tidied up.
I also did the Royal Victoria Marathon, and got a Completer's medal, which my mom gave to me when I crossed the finish line in the pouring rain.
I also had an instance of "Where the Heck is that Darned Cat?" I looked in all of his known hidey-holes, no sign of him.
"Oh, hello, it's you."
Looks like he accomplished his goal of sleeping on my clothes! Due to fall/winter clothes being bulkier than spring/summer, I have to store the overflow in cloth shoe-bags under the bed.
You little monster!
"This is a lovely bed you've made me."
He is at least within reach here - we try to keep the underbed area set up so that he can't wedge himself in a corner.
L's Closet Swap-Over: Before
I collapsed on the couch when L got home from a brutally long 13-hour workday on Thursday, but we both had Friday off for the stat holiday. After a leisurely sleep in, L tackled his closet and I did my jewelry swap-over.
L is messier than me (no judgment, although sometimes it drives me nuts).
Like me, he pulled out all things he deemed weren't right for the spring/summer. I stay out of his way for this, as I'm a details person and he's a big-picture person - it's like oil and water. We find it hard to collaborate. I'm available for questions and advise...if asked.
L's Closet: After
Look at that, all nice and tidy and hung up!
I dusted his dresser and rearranged his belt buckle collection.
As with my clothes and other accessories, I need to be able to see all of my jewelry. I also like it neatly organized with everything having a home, so I've evolved a few solutions over the years, including swapping my jewelry out seasonally.
All of my stored jewelry is in this bag and box.
What's in it, Precious?
Loading in everything I've unpacked and things I wanted to keep out.
Ooh, shiny things! Let's look.
This is a revamped Altoids tin that I store some of my vintage but seldom-worn things in.
The disarray begins. I started by emptying out all my containers. The big jewelry box belonged to my Gram S - I keep mostly vintage in it.
Loading in everything I've unpacked and things I wanted to keep out.
Ready to accessorize!
I also have this giant Bombay Company jewelry box, with all the drawers pulled out. My spring/summer necklaces have been hung up on the sides. The outer doors don't close because I have Big Necklaces.
Here are all the drawers from the jewelry box. The big one on the left contains bracelets.
The box is ready to go away, and the bag is packed tight.
Here's the After.
And everything is dusted and tidy, ready for another year.
Well, my friends, there you go - another Closet Swap-Over in the bag. I hope you enjoyed seeing all my stuff and hearing how I actually do it.
"Woman, this was all about me. Rub my tum!"
I hope you all have a relaxing and chill weekend, and if you're able to see family/friends, please do it safely!
Thank you so much for stopping by! I'll be back on Sunday/Monday with tales of adventure.