Closet Case: How to Transition Your Closet for Spring

Deb Lee of D. Allison Lee Professional Organizers

Deb Lee of D. Allison Lee Professional Organizers

It’s no secret that this winter has been brutal — but it’s finally time to ditch the heavy coats and piled-on layers for lighter-weight garments in vibrant hues.  But before you take your warm-weather wardrobe out of storage, there are a couple things you should do to prep your closet space for the spring transition.

Deb Lee, a certified professional organizer with the National Association of Professional Organizers and owner of D. Allison Lee Professional Organizers, shares six quick tips to help fashionistas easily swap out their winter threads for warm-weather fashion:

InterDesign Axis Scarf Holder, $12.12, amazon.com

InterDesign Axis Scarf Holder, $12.12, amazon.com

1. Organize first. Before putting spring clothing in your closet, be sure that it’s ready to receive the items you want to store. Create zones for certain items — such as sandals and dresses — and make sure that you’ve got enough hangers for all of your items. Before putting adding your spring and summer clothing, you should also make sure that they still fit and flatter you.

2. Decide what needs to be hung or folded. Some clothing should be hung, like spring dresses, but you may want to fold your light sweaters since they may get out of shape from hangers.

3. Keep your sets together. If you have certain items that you tend to wear together (even if they weren’t purchased at the same time), keep them together in the same location so that they’re easy to find. You may also want to keep your favorites in the front of your closet for easy access.

4.  Keep your accessories in sight. Your summer scarves and other accessories (like belts) should be visible so that you remember to use them — and not buy duplicates!. Consider hanging hooks on the inside of your closet door for these items or use a scarf or belt hanger.

5.  Hold on to a few jackets. Spring weather can sometimes include cooler days, so keep a few sweaters and light jackets on hand. They’re great for layering with camisoles and tank tops.

6. Color coordinate. It will help to color coordinate your clothing so that you can be more efficient in finding what you’re looking for. You’ll also see which colors you tend to buy most often and where you should fill-in the gaps on the color spectrum.

READ MORE: Get more closet organization tips and advice by checking out our Closet Case archive.

Closet Case: How to Store Your Shoes

Kim Oser, owner of NeedAnotherYou.com

Kim Oser, owner of NeedAnotherYou.com

There’s something about having to purge your closet to make room for new items that brings out the inner-hoarder in all of us — especially with shoes. Sure, you haven’t worn those polka dot patent leather stilettos in at least a year, but “you never know if there’s an event later down the line that you might be able to wear them to,” right?

Kim Oser is the owner of Need Another You, a professional organizing firm based in the Washington, D.C.-area, and is also a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Here, she offers some budget-friendly tips on how to get your shoe collection in order.

S&P: When you’re working with limited space, how do you determine when it’s time to toss a pair (or two) of shoes from your closet?

Kim: Oftentimes we keep more shoes than we could possibly ever wear or have the space for in our closet. The best way to determine shoe storage is to pare down your actual shoe collection. For those who are shocked at the thought of paring down their shoe collection, look at all of your shoes and ask yourself a few questions:

Shoe Box, $1.89, containerstore.com

Shoe Box, $1.89, containerstore.com

Do you have a matching pair?

Do you really like them?

Do they fit?

Are they comfortable?

Are they in style?

Are they in good wearable condition?

If you answer “no” to any of the questions, maybe it’s time to consider consigning or donating them. There are many organizations that will accept donated shoes such as Dress for Success, Goodwill, Salvation Army and Soles for Souls.

What are some cost-friendly alternatives to shoe boxes for ladies with limited closet space when storing their shoes?

There are lots of options when storing your shoes. Clear boxes are ideal. They keep shoes visible, free of dust, pets can’t run off with them and can be uniformly stacked, but boxes don’t always fit everyone’s space and budget. There are storage alternatives that can be used in the closet or hung behind the closet door. Shoe storage can be both functional and decorative. When deciding on a storage solution, take into consideration the maintenance required to keep your shoes clean, easy to locate and in wearable condition. When selecting shoes in your closet, you should feel like you’re shopping in a boutique.

3-Tier Revolving Shoe Tree,  $35.99,  lnt.com

3-Tier Revolving Shoe Tree, $35.99, lnt.com

What are some quick ways to create  a storage solution for your shoes that doesn’t break the bank?

Check your local dollar store for clear shoe boxes; some even sell them online. Before putting your shoes in the boxes, take and print a photo of the shoes. Use clear packing tape to affix the image along the side of the box. Stack them on the floor of your closet or on a shelf. This not only helps give you the celebrity closet look, but stacked boxes also minimize space, create a uniform look and save you time when selecting shoes. You can take a quick glance at the picture before deciding what pair you’re going to wear for the day.

If plastic shoe boxes are outside of your budget, you can attach the pictures to the original shoe boxes. Other shoe storage alternatives include hanging shoe shelvesshoe cubbies, a revolving shoe tree and stackable shoe racks. Most hold between 8 to 24 pairs of shoes and vary in affordability. Boots can be stored in boxes, upright (use old magazines to help maintain their shape or use boot hangers). There’s also over-the-door shoe pockets, shelves and shoe racks. Additional options include under the bed storage, stand alone shoe cabinets or benches. There is a wide selection of shoe cabinets available online at Ikea.com.

To learn more about Kim, check out her Web site at www.needanotheryou.com. Or find a professional organizer in your city by visiting the National Association of Professional Organizers Web site at www.napo.net.

Closet Case: De-clutter Your Closet Space

Geralin Thomas of Metropolitan Organizing

Geralin Thomas of Metropolitan Organizing

What better way to start off the New Year than to de-clutter your wardrobe space. Make room for all of those cute blouses, sweaters and dresses that you got as holiday gifts by getting rid of the duds in your closet that haven’t seen the light of day in months.

Geralin Thomas, owner of Metropolitan Organizing, which is based in Raleigh, N.C., and member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, offers some tips on how to purge your closet and stash seasonal items on the cheap:

S&P: The start of the New Year seems like a perfect time to clean out your closet. For someone looking to de-clutter their wardrobe space, where should they start?

Honey-Can-Do Tall Wicker Hamper, $21.99, target.com

“If you’re thinking about ways to give your closet some breathing room, take a good look at what’s in your laundry hamper.”

Geralin Thomas: In order to help determine what to keep or toss, start with the items that need mending, ironing, alterations or stain treatment. Sometimes, you’ll look at an item and think, “Oh, that isn’t even something worth altering or mending — I’m OK with donating that item.” Or you might think, “Ick! I’m allergic to ironing and this garment is either too much trouble or too expensive to maintain. I’m willing to live without it.”

What’s the best way to make room in your closet for any fashionable gifts (i.e., clothing, shoes or jewelry) received over the holidays?

Fortunately, there are many clever products and storage solutions to help hang, fold, stack, stash and store everything from shoes to scarves or t-shirts or coats. If you’re thinking about ways to give your closet some breathing room, take a good look at what’s in your laundry hamper. These are typically the clothes you like best and wear most often — these are your keepers. So, what about the clothes that haven’t been in your hamper for a long, long time? Donate some of those to [a local thrift store or Goodwill] to help give your new treasures more space.

Are there any cost-friendly organizational systems that you’d recommend to help fashionistas get their closet spaces in order?

Yes! Why not store your off-season clothes in unused suitcases? Suitcases that you already own take up no extra space and can be moved from room-to-room easily. I’m also a fan of keeping shoes in drop-front boxes. Your shoes will stack nicely and there’s not a tumbling tower of boxes every time you need a pair from the bottom of the stack.

What’s a quick and easy way to personalize your closet space without spending a fortune?

Wall-Mounted Laundry Valet, $14.75, amazon.com

Wall-Mounted Laundry Valet, $14.75, amazon.com

I have two tips: First, find words that describe you best like romantic, chic, earthy, dramatice, funky or hip [to help choose a theme]. Then, to personalize your closet, look for three or four components or accessories (i.e., rugs, drawer handles, hangers) that might go along with your newfound theme. Also, consider the materials used for these items (i.e., wood, steel, glass) and or colors.

Another tip is to use valet hooks in your closets. I’m a fan of these, because they are very helpful when planning outfits. Valet hooks are used to hang pieces together to see how an outfit might look. They are especially helpful when photographing outfits for one’s personal “lookbook.” You can also use them to help prep your outfits at night [in preparation for the next work day]. Use them to hang your outfit and accessories so there’s no “What do I wear today?” guess work in the morning. Hooks are inexpensive and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.

To learn more about Geralin, check out her Web site at www.metropolitanorganizing.com. Or find a professional organizer in your city by visiting the National Association of Professional Organizers Web site at www.napo.net.

Closet Case: Dani Stahl ‘Confesses’

Nylon Magazine’s style director Dani Stahl takes viewers on a tower of her quaint NYC pad, which the fashionista says “doubles as a closet.” With shoes, clothes and accessories spread throughout her cozy digs, she gives a lesson on how to maximize a tiny space.

Our favorite part of her apartment? Dani’s sunglasses section –which lives on top of her radiator.