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8 Things You Can Do Right Now for a Closet You’ll Love Waking Up To

8 tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

closet system | hardware | floor mirror | bedding | navy rug

Are we all Marie Kondo-ed out yet? Yes? No? Kind of? Okay, here’s the deal. Several years ago, we overhauled our master bedroom. (It’s hard to believe it ever looked like this!) Some of you might remember that it used to be a kitchen when our home was still divided into multiple apartments! As a part of that renovation, we swapped a door in exchange for a wall of windows, installed plumbing for a nearby laundry room (best decision!) and created a big, empty drywall box that could accommodate two IKEA PAX units.

Right before all of that, I had finished reading everyone’s favorite organizing book, made only more popular recently due to Marie’s adorable Netflix series. As cliche as it sounds, following her advice did change our lives! It was magic! We hauled so much junk out of our home, and we were so much happier for it. After the big master bedroom renovation, we were careful to only fold away sweaters that sparked joy and vintage tees that we loved. For years, we’ve done a pretty good job at sticking to it, and we’ve never been big on shopping for clothes anyway. Even still, I have started to feel my sense of style change, and I realized I was holding on to blouses, dresses and cardigans that Old Kim would wear. Old Kim liked bright colored everything and a boxier cut. New Kim craved simplicity and comfort, a great fitting pair of jeans and a neutral pair of boots. (Fun side story: As I waited in line to donate a bag of clothes, the guy next to me – also hauling his own bag – said, dude, I just Marie Kondo-ed the s*** out of my house. You, too?)

So when New Kim’s friend Meghan the Stylist offers to help clear out her closet once and for all, she accepts. (Aaand – third person, end.) I stripped down to a bathing suit, and I tried on anything that wasn’t a clear yes or no. The two of us were brutally honest about each and every item in that closet, and I have greeted each day with a much better mood ever since! I’m no longer thinking too hard about what to wear, because I love each and every item. It took just two hours to set myself up for success, and I’m-a share the process with you so that we can all open our closets with a smile, once and for all.

8 tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

headboard | sconces

1| Empty the entire closet. Yes, the whole thing.

I used to fling open my closet doors and pull out only the few items I didn’t like and fold them into a bag for donation. I’d do this twice a year – summer and winter – and I’d abide by the rule that if I hadn’t worn it the previous season, out it went. But it wasn’t until I read about Marie Kondo’s method that it clicked; I should have been doing it in reverse all along! By emptying the entire closet on the bed, you can give everything a more critical eye and try things on – plus, this is your chance to give the interior of your closet a much needed dusting while you’re at it. Give yourself a blank canvas.

8 tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

2| Put back only what you love, no exceptions.

This one is self explanatory, but seriously. I was brutally honest with myself in this go-round, and it helped to have a friend with me. When in doubt, I tried it on. If I didn’t feel like a million bucks or Meghan took too long to give me a thumbs up (it happened more than a few times, ha!), it went to the donate pile. I even went so far as to toss every last pair of socks and undies that had been buried under my go-to picks, relieving that overstuffed drawer of excess weight.

8 tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

3| And while you’re at it, swap your mismatched hangers for the same style.

When things look nice, you’re more likely to keep it that way. If your closet is full of mismatched hangers, take this time to choose one variety. I personally love these flocked hangers (also in gray and beige!) because they take up minimal space and my clothes stay put; no more wasted time battling those slipping shoulders.

8 tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

closet system | hardware | floor mirror | bedding | navy rug

4| Know when to hang them; know when to fold them.

How often do you find yourself avoiding an item of clothing because it’s perpetually wrinkled? This is your opportunity to make a plan on what goes where – and stick to it. I like to hang blouses and button-ups (i.e., anything that’s not a T-shirt), dresses and jackets. I fold tees, anything knit, pants, pajamas and workout clothes. For my fresh start, I folded everything Konmari style (well, just short of communicating my appreciation to each garment). I have to confess that I always thought folding things in half and thirds was a bit of a time suck, but I was blown away by how much space it saved. I’m a fan.

5| Keep like items together.

This seems obvious, doesn’t it? Pants go with pants and shirts go with shirts. Even still, it’s too easy to slip into the habit of hanging clothing or stuffing items into drawers where ever they’ll fit. I went so far as to fold my V-necks with V-necks, concert tees with concert tees and stripes with stripes.

8 tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

6| Make shelf adjustments.

If your closet has shelving or adjustable drawers, assess what’s been working for you and what hasn’t. Now that your pile of clothes is likely a lot smaller (Scott and I filled two IKEA bags to the brim), take a moment to move shelves up or down – or create a new configuration completely!

8 tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

7| Allow the empty space to breathe.

The combination of lightening up my wardrobe and folding Konmari-style left an excess of empty space in my drawers, and it has been amazing. Push aside the urge to keep a few extra on-the-fence items when you see this empty space; allow that empty space to breathe. In the meantime, make a list of clothing that you actually need, and purchase it when it’s just right (not on a whim).

8 tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

closet system | hardware | sconces | bedding

8| Change out the hardware for something awesome.

We’re big believers in investing in hardware that makes your heart sing! For an item that you touch every. single. day, it’s worth spending a little more on something that makes you truly happy. Treat yourself. Consider swapping out the old hardware on your closet doors and dresser drawers for something that’ll make you excited to shop from your ‘new’ wardrobe in the morning! We have these in unlacquered brass (although it looks like they’re no longer available in the 18″).

8 tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

Moving Forward

Now that you’ve gone through every last item with a fine tooth comb, resist the urge to fill up all that empty space (see #7 above!). Instead, consider investing in well made, quality clothes for the long haul. Saying ‘no’ to fast fashion is a much larger topic that I’m interested in learning more about + practicing, and for now, I’m taking small steps. A change like this can take years. (I’m late to the game, but I am so in love with Everlane and their mission!)

Stay true to what works for you, not what works for everyone else. The New Kim, to be quite honest, has a somewhat boring wardrobe. Aside from a few checked shirts and floral blouses, I’m all about black, gray and cream – and I’m okay with that, because I love every piece! Hone in your ‘uniform’, and relieve yourself of that stressor every morning.

Of course, you’ll still find items to donate from time to time. If after all of this you still find yourself digging past that sweater that makes your arms look funny, donate it. Donate it right now. We keep a rotating donation bag in the workshop and add to it all the time (home items, too), and once it’s full, we drop it off while we’re out running other errands.

8 tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

My ultimate goal is to get to a place where a big purge is no longer necessary. I think we’re kind of there, but I know we can get better. (In fact, that flash sale I asked you all about is happening in a few months. Can’t wait to share more with you soon!)

Friends, what else would you add to this list? I’d also love to know your favorite ethical clothing brands! Feel free to share them in the comments below so we can all learn from one another, and/or I can put together a resource post with your feedback if you’re interested?

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  • Ann1.30.19 - 7:55 AM

    I find this kind of closet clear-out delicious. I, too, am working toward supporting ethical designers and am prioritizing secondhand whenever possible. I’ve been inspired recently by the brave Instagram tag #ethicalfashionrepresentationmatters which grew out of #10x10representationmatters this fall. This diverse community prioritizing BIPOC voices and companies owned by people, mostly womxn, of color.ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.30.19 - 9:10 AM

      LOVE this. Thank you so much for sharing! Will check out those hashtags.ReplyCancel

  • Mallory1.30.19 - 7:56 AM

    Y’all are reading my mind lately with these posts! I finally read Marie Kondo’s book over the summer and tackled my closet, but now I’m working on a plan for a closet makeover, to do exactly this: make it a place I love! Thank you for these tips!ReplyCancel

  • Karen1.30.19 - 7:56 AM

    New Kim is Mom Kim. Embrace it! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.30.19 - 9:11 AM

      It’s true, it’s true! Thank you for making me smile this morning. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jenny1.30.19 - 8:17 AM

    I love this! I am all for everyone clearing out anything that doesn’t spark joy. The real challenge for us though though, I believe, comes after this – choosing to not continue buying things that don’t really serve us. My little fear for this ‘purging’ movement, is that people will continue to buy buy buy, but feel better about themselves because they can just dump it at a thrift store. I’m not at all implying the Vargos are doing that :) I just think its an important next step to remember. As much as we need to only keep what is joyful, we need to be cautious of our consumerism ways to cut down on excess where every one is concerned. Thanks for such a sweet inspirational post!ReplyCancel

    • Alison1.30.19 - 8:48 AM

      Agreed! Seeing everyone rush to clear things out of their homes has made me SO anxious. I wish more people would take time to sit with their needs versus wants (and truly reflect on their “needs” possibly being “wants” due to our instant gratification society).ReplyCancel

    • Rachel1.30.19 - 8:54 AM

      yeah, thanks for pointing that out!

      i am great about purging and i keep a pretty organized closet, but i absolutely allow that to give me “permission” to buy more things.

      i hadn’t really realized that until i read your comment here, because it wasn’t anything i consciously thought. i think it was just in the back of my mind.

      it means i’ve wasted a lot of money and stuff that i’ve donated because i don’t feel bad about shrugging and getting rid of something and replacing it with something new.ReplyCancel

      • Kim1.30.19 - 9:17 AM

        All such great points, thank you so much for sharing! I definitely have a similar fear that people will instinctually feel the need to immediately replace what they’ve just purged. I think that if someone feels inspired to purge and reassess what makes them truly happy, that’s wonderful, but it doesn’t stop there. A quick (and oddly fun) challenge could be to have a no-spend week / month / quarter, meaning, purchases are only necessities (i.e., food, bills). I mentioned that these habits can take years to form, and I truly believe that. Scott and I still have a lot to learn, but our hope is that by taking baby steps, we can contribute to a healthier mindset and way of living overall.ReplyCancel

  • Jen1.30.19 - 9:05 AM

    I love this post, and your wardrobe looks great. I laughed out loud about the man standing in the donation line with you. Good stuff! I am about 75% through Marie Kondo-ing the sh*t out of my entire house, and it feels SO GOOD!!ReplyCancel

  • Kristy1.30.19 - 9:15 AM

    I’ve always loved your closet makeover and it’s provided serious inspiration for when I eventually do mine.

    As for ethical clothing – there’s a company in my home town called Ungalli. Their clothing is beautiful, well made from recycled materials and is one of my go to brands when shopping for gifts – I usually shop the for the animals section. https://ungalli.com

    I also love Tentree. Another beautiful brand with a great mission statement.ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.30.19 - 9:22 AM

      Thank you for sharing, Kristy!ReplyCancel

    • Crystal1.30.19 - 9:03 PM

      If you are looking for ethically made shoes, Softstar is made in Oregon, and are super cute.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle1.30.19 - 9:43 AM

    Nisolo is one of my go-to shoe brands. Beautiful, comfortable, and practical at the same time. Fair trade wages, healthcare for workers, and more. They’re very well priced for the quality.

    For jackets and outerwear, Nau nails it with sustainable performance fabrics; they are less vocal about workforce. Also pricey, but closeouts are very good.

    Aside from buying, some of my favorite clothes come from clothing swaps with friends!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.30.19 - 10:42 AM

      Thank you for these suggestions! Love the clothing swap idea, too.ReplyCancel

  • rebecca1.30.19 - 10:17 AM

    Hi, I have a pax system w/ sliding doors. I was thinking of adding a handle to enhance the look. Did you drills holes or did these doors come pre drilled? How did you decide on length?ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.30.19 - 10:41 AM

      We drilled the holes, and we chose the long length for a more dramatic effect. It’s completely personal preference though!ReplyCancel

  • lak1.30.19 - 10:29 AM

    I did Maries’s purge over 2 years ago and was amazed at what I got rid of. But like you, I have acquired a few more clothes again, I will be purging soon, not hanging onto things “that might work”. And yes, I will be honing in on my everyday uniform and style. I have started to invest in some well made and obviously more expensive clothes, but they have paid for themselves by holding up for years if maintained with some care. I had guest last year, on their last morning when we were just sitting and talking one of them said it looks like a minimalist lives here, Hooray I thought!ReplyCancel

  • Hilary1.30.19 - 11:50 AM

    Do they still have the pax lined with natural wood? I tried looking on the website but couldn’t find it?!ReplyCancel

  • Kylie1.30.19 - 2:00 PM

    You’re giving me the courage to make the change that, that little voice in the back of my mind has been telling me to make for months. After a season of big change I find myself looking at my wardrobe in the morning with a big question mark for what I want to wear for the day. And I think part of that was waiting for old me to come back and want to wear her clothes again. But she’s gone! And that’s fine! Good even! Now just time to do the work to figure out what I like and what feels right now!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.30.19 - 2:01 PM

      That can be the trickiest part! You can do it!ReplyCancel

    • Elissa1.31.19 - 9:11 AM

      I so related to what you said, “I think part of that was waiting for old me to come back and want to wear her clothes again. But she’s gone!” – how true this is for me! I think this mindset might help me do a bigger clean-out of things I’ve held on to for too long.ReplyCancel

  • Callie1.30.19 - 4:59 PM

    Yes this is so great! I recently watched the documentary on Netflix titled “the True Cost” and made a conscious effort to buy ethical and to buy only what I need. We need to see this more from influencers I think. I try not to follow people who are constantly posting “look at all this stuff I just bought you should buy it too” type posts. I would love to read a post of your resources you come up with!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.30.19 - 5:07 PM

      This is so sweet, thanks, Callie! We still have a LOT to learn in this area, and I’d love to do a big post on the feedback that I receive from everyone. We can all learn from one another. I’ll have to check out the documentary as well!ReplyCancel

  • Kate1.30.19 - 5:07 PM

    I’d love to hear more clothing brands as well – i know some but I feel like I know way more shoe and accessory lines that are ethical. Shoes: I second the Nisolo love and would add Birkenstock (seriously!), Veja, and Allbirds. Bag wise, I’m a pretty casual person and love a crossbody or backback so I really like both Baggu and Fjällräven (their reKanken line is totally recycled). Clothing wise, I also like Everlane and really like Ecoalf for coats.

    On the purging/rebuying front, I totally agree with the comments up above. What I try to do (and it’s a work in progress, for sure) is to first use what I have (after making sure it’s something that still works for me). After that, if I need to replace it down the road or buy something new (or new to me!), then I try to buy the most ethical “fill in the blank” item possible. A new resource I just hear about is the Buy Me Once store that I think is really cool – it’s also for more than just clothing but it’s researching what is the most durable, conscious (and if possible, repairable) toaster, coat, broom, etc you can buy. I think that’s really cool!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.30.19 - 5:09 PM

      I love hearing about these companies, so many that are new to me! Thank you for sharing, and I’ll be sure to include in a follow up post!ReplyCancel

  • virginia1.31.19 - 12:17 PM

    Amour Vert is a clothing brand that focuses on environmental sustainability, and the large majority of their clothes are made in Northern California. They also stock sustainable brands/designers like Veja and Angela Roi (who makes gorgeous vegan leather bags).ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa1.31.19 - 4:22 PM

    People shop because it is rewarding to shop, even I do it and I am a “low-shopper.” I have always read these Kondo references with concern b/c if the behavior doesn’t stop after the purge then nothing really changes and over-consumption continues. I think a complement to her idea is to wear everything in my closet until it all gets worn one time. And then start over. It’s a challenge.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara1.31.19 - 11:18 PM

    I’m a Last in line KonMari fan. I read her book a couple years ago and was just lukewarm—didn’t feel it. I thought rolling clothes was ridiculous. Lately I’ve started watching her on Netflix. I’m moving cross country in a couple months and now I love her show! I had already downsized a lot. But her method started making more and more sense. I actually have a drawer of rolled pjs now and love it. I can find anything with one glance.
    Thx for sharing what you’ve done with your closetReplyCancel

    • Kim2.1.19 - 7:21 AM

      I thought the folding was extreme as well… until I tried it! I can’t believe how much nicer things stay, and I love seeing everything in once glance like you’ve said. I’m hoping this method will stick with me for the long haul. Best of luck on your cross country move!ReplyCancel

  • Kate2.1.19 - 8:53 AM

    I’m a big supporter of ThredUp. When you sign up, you get a prepaid huge clean-out bag to fill with items for resale. You earn $$, or you can donate the earnings. All items not sold are responsibly recycled. They are primarily for women’s clothes/accessories, but are slowly building up a kid’s clothing shop as well. They also have their own brand of responsibly made clothes (ReMade). They have thousands of tag-on, unused/unworn options, from high/label-designers all the way down to unbranded items. You can save your sizes, and create search agents for brands, or a particular item (denim wrap skirt, faux leather leggings, etc.).ReplyCancel

  • Elyse2.4.19 - 12:05 PM

    A great resource for finding and researching ethical clothing I recently discovered is Good On You (it’s an app!) They don’t have every brand I shop, but there are plenty, and more added all the time. I was really surprised to browse my typical brands! Their criteria is *strict* (some brands I thought were really ethical weren’t actually doing all that much in reality, beyond advertising themselves as such!) and it gave me even more motivation to buy much less, a push I’m making in this season as well. I’ve also taken to browsing Poshmark more often, since there’s SO much available on the resale market as well that might otherwise go to waste.

    For new items, a few brands I love making efforts in this space are Eileen Fisher and Christy Dawn, and new to me, Whimsy & Row. Eileen Fisher has tons of social consciousness programs, and Christy Dawn and Whimsy & Row only use deadstock fabrics!ReplyCancel

  • Derek Dewitt2.19.19 - 8:10 AM

    I want to organize my wardrobe soon so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about adjusting the shelves to work for you. I might try a new configuration so I can organize my clothes differently and more efficiently.ReplyCancel

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