Ways to Revitalize Your Closet Without Buying More

By Jane Stoller


Getting organized should always begin with the closet. I used to think I liked starting with the closet because of my love of fashion, or because it excites me to see racks of freshly ironed color-coded shirts. Now I understand that the reason I always start with the closet is because closet organizing goes much deeper than making sure your shirts are color-coded. The best organizing schemes always start with the closet because the closet is a symbol for your life. In my first book, Organizing for Your Lifestyle, I devote a long chapter to organizing the closet, and provide tips on how to organize almost everything inside it. Organizing your closet takes dedication and a bit of money to set-up, but maintaining it only takes a few minutes a day. It will save you endless hours of rifling through racks, drawers, and messy piles for a pair of heels you haven’t worn since that last office party. I stand firmly behind my belief—informed by experience and client testimonials—that the closet represents and propels your entire approach to organizing your life.


Unlike many organizing books that focus either on organizing “things” or “processes,” I focus on both. I believe that if you start your day choosing clothes from a laser-focused closet, you’re well on your way to a structured, system-driven office space. No one’s home or office needs to be perfect. I don’t strive for the “magazine perfect” look, as that’s often not sustainable, and doesn’t usually fit individual lifestyles. Your closet should reflect your personal priorities—the life you want, and the things you want to accomplish.  

photo: Carly Ingram

photo: Carly Ingram

My top three tips for revitalizing your current closet without buying more clothes is to review and assess your current space, invest in the right tools, and declutter quarterly.

SPACE

Your closet system begins with space. However, don’t fret if you don’t have a lot of space; having less space to work with is sometimes more conducive to being more organized. Most of my personal organizing experience comes from living in small apartments and having to adapt to small spaces. I believe that as more and more people move to cities and face smaller living quarters, we’re increasingly challenged to do more with less. When living in a small space, being organized becomes a central part of any quest to becoming successful, having time for meaningful relationships, and maintaining a healthy body and mind. You may think I’m exaggerating, but getting and staying organized will improve every aspect of your life, and smaller spaces leave less room for organizing errors.

In order to effectively organize your closet, you still need to understand your current space and ensure your clothes have enough room to be put away properly, with easy access and viewability. The faster we can see and access our clothes the less time we waste—makes sense, right? Keeping clothes stored properly will also save time and money. I employ the 80/20 rule, and make sure the clothes I wear 80% of the time are up front and center. This depends on your lifestyle. If you work in an office five days a week, 80% of your clothes are probably business related. Whereas if you’re a freelance writer with a passion for yoga, 80% of your clothes might be stuff from Lululemon—it just depends on how you live, and what you love.

photo: Carly Ingram

photo: Carly Ingram

I employ the 80/20 rule, and make sure the clothes I wear 80% of the time are up front and center.

TOOLS

Like any other system you employ, or any other office space you design, you usually start designing the space, and then move onto the furniture. So, we can’t forget about closet furniture—aka hangers.

If your perfect closet is filled with wire hangers from the dry cleaner, then it’s not where it needs to be. Wire hangers don’t make your clothes happy. If you are still using wire hangers, I would strongly advise you to round them up, and bring them back to the dry cleaner. If they don’t take them back, donate or recycle them. The most important thing is to get rid of them, as quickly and decisively as possible.

Before photo: Jane Stoller

Before photo: Jane Stoller

CLOTHES IN YOUR CLOSET

Now that you have the basics down—evaluating your space and improving the tools within that space—you need to fill the space. If you’re anything like me (or, as many surveys tell us, most women), having enough stuff to fill a closet isn’t usually a problem; it’s having too many clothes that gets you into trouble. I won’t go on a big rant here about decluttering, but I will urge you to be aware of what you have, what you’re buying, and what you don’t use. There are many decluttering strategies out there, but I think the best is to evaluate your closet quarterly. If you can’t find the time for that, twice a year will also do. I keep boxes labelled Donate, Sell, Toss, and Repurpose (Tailor) near my closet, as there are always items in need of these labels. This way, I’m constantly reminded to declutter.

After photo: Jane Stoller

After photo: Jane Stoller

You can learn more about my organizing tips and tricks by taking my new online course, called “4 Weeks to Organized Success” - available at organizedjane.com.


photo: Carly Ingram

photo: Carly Ingram

Meet Jane Stoller– a Swiss-Canadian life-biz organizer, speaker, author and university instructor whose passion is in de-cluttering spaces and organizing business processes. Jane wrote her first book Organizing for Your Lifestylein 2016 to help friends get more organized. It ultimately gained international attention, and this allowed Jane to turn her passion into a profitable business, Organizing Jane.Stoller travels all around the world working with clients ranging from individuals looking to revamp one space, to large corporations needing a complete business overhaul. Her favorite spaces to tackle are closets and helping clients pack for trips – yes, Jane also organizes suitcases!

To make her organizing tips and tricks more accessible, Stoller has launched a four-week online coaching course called, 4 Weeks to Organized Success. Stoller also offers one-on-one consultation calls for those looking for advice.

“My goal is not to turn someone’s home into a magazine perfect image, it is not sustainable,” says Stoller. “I work around a client’s specific lifestyle, or an aspect of their life they want to focus on, and develop a custom an organization system from there. The end result? Reduced stress, increased productivity and happiness.”

When Stoller sets down her pen and paper, she puts on her teaching hat. Stoller lectures at Vancouver Island University in Canada for part of the year, helping students learn management skills.

Prior to launching her organizing business, Stoller worked for cement giant Lafarge, which allowed her to live all over Canada and Europe. Jane had an invaluable experience, but decided to make a nerve-wracking jump to entrepreneurship after realizing she wanted to live life to its fullest and follow her passion for organizing. However, Jane still has one foot in the construction world, as she also has a tech start-up, FideliumTech, which is in the process developing a construction industry game.

Stoller is currently writing her second book, teaching, working with individual and corporate clients, and can next be seen speaking at Touching Innovationstech conference in Berlin in 2019. 

In her spare time Stoller enjoys traveling to exotic destinations, spending time with family, and staying active via skiing and pilates. Stoller currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and has a secondary home in Exuma, Bahamas.