Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Chaos of Organization

Last night, my friend enlisted my help in organizing her wardrobe. It got me thinking about organization- at some point in the process the room becomes more chaotic than when you started! I love organization (my job as an Executive Assistant requires a lot of it!)but I especially love organizing my closet.  I am not blessed with a walk in closet, so I have to make use of my tiny closet and huge wardrobe in my miniscule bedroom.  I took a course last year on Organizing your Office, lead by a Professional Organizer but the teachings can be applied to any facet of organization.

The most important step (and subjectively the most difficult) is purging yourself of all those impulse buys that you have never worn.  My rule is, if you haven't worn it in the past season (for example if it's a summer dress that hasn't seen the light of day)than recycle it.  There are various ways of recycling- my favourites being consignment (selling your trendy, clean clothes for $); donating to a women's shelter (great for the social conscience) or organizing a clothing swap party for you and your friends (problem with this is you end up acquiring more clothes!)

Organizing guru- Julie Morgenstern- suggests the following techniques(SPACE) for tackling your closet:

S= Sort
This is a scary step because you will discover how much 'stuff' you actually own.  It may be a wake-up call for some but it is the best way to see everything.  Sort into piles.  I sort into tanks, t's, dress shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, skirts, trousers, jeans, party dresses and fancy dresses. 

P= Purge
This can be emotional.  You know your first pair of high heels and your Junior High Sweatshirt- sentimental= yes, necessary= no.  If you haven't worn it in the corresponding season, it's time to say goodbye.

A= Assess
Determine what organizational containers are necessary to help you with the process.  Ikea has a great selection of wicker baskets, shoe racks and wardrobes which are practical, affordable and beautiful.

C= Containerize
Now put those recently purchased containers and racks to use and hang everything up, fold everything away.  This is my favourite part of the process.  I organize everything by colour (from lightest to darkest) and by clothing (from tank tops to fancy dresses).  Undergarments, handbags and belts look great in wicker baskets (although not too many guests want to see your lingerie!)

E= Equalize
This is basically the follow-up which includes assesing whether or not your new organization technique is working.  Are you using those rolling racks or are they simply gathering dust? Are you confused as to how to find things? Label the baskets, write on the wood clothes hangers.

Be smart about organizing- don't do more than you can handle, grab a friend to help, blare some dance tunes and you will be surprised at how much more fun it is to get dressed from an organized closet!

And now the final product! If you are smart about it and allot yourself enough time you can go from atrocious to ferocious!


  1. Hehe, very cute post! You make organizing fun!

  2. Lovely blog. You are a chamelon with your hairstyles... all fabulous!

    Janice (Couture and Crayons)

  3. I have to say if it wasn't for you I would still be living in chaos....like i said a million times thank you thank you thank you <3 xox i guess i just outed myself as the one with the previous crazily unorganized closet...but not anymore thanks to you :)

  4. As the grateful recipient of Emily's closet organizing expertise, I have to say that it really works. You do, however, have to maintain it! The charity shops here in the UK (clothes donated to charity, the little shops are managed by a professional, manned by volunteers, and they get low rents so can be in city centres) are fantastic. Unlike Frenchy's in Nova Scotia, the clothes are cleaned, pressed, sized and hung up. Depending on the manager's flare, while visiting some char shops (as they are called...the irony being a "char" in Brit lingo is a cleaning lady)you feel you are in an up-market boutique! I have digressed (as usual)...the appeal of these shops make a few weekend purchases the norm and you have to purge regularly to fit the new additions in. This weekends' purchases include a lovely sweater from "Boden" (check out their website, very Brit) and a "with love" tunic. Another reason for purging is very psychologically fraught...and Emily didn't mention it. WEIGHT GAIN (this doesn't happen to her!!!)..how long do you hang on to the fantastic linen dress you wore to your first trip to Paris 6 years ago??? It fits, but clings - badly! Used to skim....AAAARRRGGGHHHHHH!


One of my daily joys is reading the lovely comments you leave. It may take a day or two (or three, depending on how hectic life gets!) but I will stop by your slice of the blogosphere soon! xo Emily