Closet Case: How to Stylishly Organize Your Wardrobe

"De-clutter and glam out your closet in order to define your fashion identity," Vanchic's Kim Clark.

"De-clutter and glam out your closet in order to define your fashion identity," Vanchic's Kim Clark.

Creating a closet space that’s organized with everything in it’s place is important, but so is creating an area that you’ll love to look at and be in every morning when getting dressed.

S&P chatted with Kim Clark, founder and CEO of Vanchic closet organizers, whose motto is “De-clutter and glam out your closet in order to define your fashion identity.” She offers up some expert tips on how to organize your closet, while tailoring the space to fit your personal style.

What are some common mistakes people make when organizing their closet space?

A big thing I see is people who are too scared to get rid of their old, over-used or unused items. They’re either constantly collecting and end up with these big collections of stuff. It becomes too hard to coordinate outfits and get dressed in a functional way.

Small Round Capiz Pendant, $139, westelm.com

Small Round Capiz Pendant, $139, westelm.com

Also, stop buying cheap storage supplies that don’t hold up and do everything but help you organize. Another thing I see is people not putting like clothing items together — shirts should all go together, socks should be stored together, etc.

What are a few stylish ways to personalize your closet space?

Consider making a theme or focal point for your space. Don’t have it just be an area with clothes — add decor that ties in with your personal style. When decorating, remember not to clutter. Stick with structured art, knick-knacks, statement fashion pieces and sculptures. Think sophisticated. Too many pictures can get tacky and make the space look smaller.

Have all of the shoe tips lined up equally and all labels facing the same way — the uniformity looks really professional. You want getting ready in the morning to be a stress-free process. Unique hardware is another way to incorporate your personal style. Opt for crystal doorknobs or fun drawer handles — get crafty.

Antique Bronze Rolling Laundry Center, $59.99, bedbathbeyond.com

Antique Bronze Rolling Laundry Center, $59.99, bedbathbeyond.com

Don’t forget about the lighting. This is the most important show-stopper item you’ll need to take your closet from drab to fab. A chandelier, Tiffany-style lamp or under-shelf lighting is a must-have.

If you’re working with a small budget, what are some cost-friendly things you can do to get organized?

The easiest and cheapest thing you could do is to have all matching hangers. Throw away those gross wire hangers you get from the dry cleaners and buy all matching ones. You can find some great hangers at the dollar store.

Find creative ways to make the presentation of the space cleaner. For example, instead of buying  expensive cedar boot forms, just stuff newspaper or tissue paper in your boots to make them stand-up straight.

What organizational and decor items do you recommend investing in?

Mirrors make a closet look bigger, get lots of them. As for organizational supplies, I like the products at higher-end home stores, such as West Elm over cheaper stores like Wal-Mart. In the long run, those wire, plastic or mesh materials won’t last, so spend the money on quality items that will. You want something that’s chic and fits with your apartment’s or home’s overall look and feel.

Closet Case: What Your Closet Needs…

For all things fabulous in home design, ELLE Decor should be high up on your list of must-reads — the print magazine and .com will have you wanting to empty out your savings account in the name of decorating your pad in style.

While clicking through Web site, we came across their What the Pros Know: Closets series, which highlights “chic design and clever amenities for the ultimate organized dressing space.”  In this particular installment, they call out a full-length mirror as being an absolute must-have in your walk-in closet/dressing space — and we couldn’t agree more.

After going through all the trouble of creating a perfectly styled look, you’ve got to give yourself a once-over before walking out the door just to make sure the outfit vision in your head is as fly in real life!

ELLE Decor

Photo: ELLEDecor.com

Closet Case: The Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine ‘Confesses’

The Man Repeller’s” quirky fashion-forward editor Leandra Medine is one of the most recent style stars to team up with the Bluefly Closet Confessions video series. She offers a peek into her fabulous wardrobe where Thakoon, Hermes and 3.1 Phillip Lim are just a few of the designer names that are mainstays in her closet.

And while Leandra’s chatting it up, she remembers her very first fashion must-have — a $1,000 fur coat that her grandmother bought her when she was 8 while on vacation in the South of France. Naturally, she wore it to the beach the very next day in true man repeller fashion.

Closet Case: How to Organize Your Handbags

Photo: ContainerStore.com

In our weekly Closet Case feature, we post photos of swoon-worthy celebrity closet spaces and link to our fave video clips offering tips on how to better organize your wardrobe. This week, S&P is taking it up a notch by adding occasional Q&As with certified professional organizers (CPO) to the series and getting expert advice on how to maximize your storage space.

This week, we had a chance to chat with Kim Oser, CPO®, owner of  Put It Away! Professional Organizers and member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, about easy ways to store your stylish handbags without creating a cluttered mess in your closet.

What are some big mistakes people make when storing handbags in their closet?

People often forget to empty their bags before putting them away. They’ll hang them up loaded with stuff, which puts stress on the purse straps. If you happen to leave any pens or small containers with liquids in them (for example, hand sanitizer or lotion), they could leak undetected and ruin the bag.

Good to Go bags

Good to Go Bag Organizer, $19.99 (for small insert), g2gbags.com

It’s important to empty your handbag beforehand. There are several handbag organizers with extra storage pockets that you can easily place inside multiple bags, making it easier to transport all of your must-have items from one purse to another. Some examples of these are Good to Go bags and Pouchee.

What are a few simple ways to organize handbags of various sizes — from satchels to totes to clutches?

CoverMates Over the Door Purse Organizer, $9.99, amazon.com

CoverMates Over the Door Purse Organizer, $9.99, amazon.com

There are many tools available. The key is being able to see your handbags. If you can’t actually see them, you’re likely to forget exactly what you own and they’ll just take up space in your closet [and go unused].

My favorite way to organize purses is by storing them on the top shelf of a closet using shelf dividers. This method works for storing bags of varying sizes. The dividers come in various styles, such as a chrome or white finish, to match your preference and are available for both wood and ventilated shelving. If you use cloth bags [to protect your handbags], I recommend using shelf labels, which can clip onto the shelf, to better help you quickly identify each bag that’s covered.

If you’re short on shelf space, there are hanging purse organizers that hang from your closet rod or on the back of your closet door, which  also allow you to see each bag.

How do you know when it’s time for a closet purge to allow for more space? Is there an ideal time of year to do it?

There is no specific season that you should organize — it should be an ongoing process. As you buy new things, you should take the time to evaluate older items you already own, paying special attention to whether something is torn, stained or worn out. Are there items in your closet that you no longer wear or like? Anything that meets this criteria should be removed. You can donate, consign or repurpose the unwanted items.