I’m sharing How to Refresh Your Main Closet in five easy steps with several tips, tricks, and ideas to give you a beautiful, more organized space for your clothes, shoes, and accessories! For me, I felt like I was wearing the same 5-6 articles of clothing because I couldn’t find anything in my closet, so I was just picking up the clothes nearest to me and wearing them. Basically, whatever was on top of the pile. But, I’ve decluttered, donated a bunch of clothes I wasn’t wearing, and stored the clothes I want to keep in a better way so I can more easily see and access the clothes I actually want to wear. And now, my mini walk-in closet is a beautiful space where I can’t wait to get dressed every morning!
How to Refresh Your Main Closet
The last two years have been a bit crazy between my twin pregnancy, moving into our new home, and now being a stay-at-home-mom to two very active toddlers! During these two years, I’ve gone through a lot of different clothing and multiples sizes. I went from maternity clothes, to just wearing extra-large men’s clothes when I sized OUT of the maternity clothes, to now wearing a lot of black and grey, super comfortable, active wear (yoga pants for life!) because I’m on the move all day with my kids…and luckily black clothes hide a lot of kid stains!
When we moved into the house, my closet was put on the back burner and I lived out of moving boxes for months before I gradually started unpacking. I’ve slowly been purchasing organizing containers and pretty things for my closet (like my shelves, pink bench, and faux tree), but I haven’t taken the time to really work on it. So, now I’m finally giving the closet, my clothes, and myself, the attention we all deserve and giving my walk-in dressing room closet a refresh!
It’s not a total makeover because ultimately I would like to repaint and add wallpaper, but I’m clearing out the clothes that don’t fit (or, let’s be honest, I just don’t like and shouldn’t have purchased in the first place), I’m getting better organized, and I’m making the closet space pretty within my current budget, which unfortunately doesn’t include the wallpaper just yet, but … someday.
Also, I do NOT share the Main Closet with my husband. The Main Bedroom has this weird, hidden, little walk-in closet dressing room with its own little hallway and when I first saw it when we toured the house, I claimed it! I quickly yelled, “This is mine!” But don’t feel bad for him, he has TWO mini walk-in closets in his home office, which is maybe five steps away from the Main Bedroom, and I decked them both out with closet organizers. He’s doing just fine!
However, if you share your closet with your partner, all of my tips and advice still apply, you just have to share the closet and work together. Now, I’m not saying you have to share it 50/50, but just be sure to make some room!
Ready for some before photos? Here’s the little hallway leading to the dressing room part of my closet. Sweaters in boxes up top, two shelves of unorganized jewelry and sunglasses, and four ugly plastic bins of pajamas, work-out clothes, socks, and underwear. Not to mention empty shipping boxes from trying on clothes, workout gear, a fabulous pair of cowboy boots that I’m hoping will fit my post-pregnancy feet again, my scale, and art leaning against the wall.
Woooooh! Look at that pile. Can you believe there’s a clothing rack under all those clothes that are just thrown on top of it? No wonder I can’t find anything! Plus, two shelves that are NOT styled, a basket of overflowing scarves, belts, and hats, and a faux tree (with all the leaves that broke off of it on the floor) that needs a planter!
To be transparent, the photos really only show about 50% of my hanging clothes because the majority of my pre-pregnancy clothes are all hanging in the guest bedroom closet or folded into the vacuum-sealed bags under the guest bedroom bed. I had told myself that I would give it a year after having the babies before I reexamined them, but that year has come and gone and I still have 30 lbs of baby weight to lose. So, I’m giving myself some grace along with another year before I put any of my favorite dresses on the chopping block!
Aside from all my clothes, shoes, hats, belts, and jewelry, I also found legal documents, a stack of old magazines, dried flowers, workout equipment, a bag of sticky googly eyes, lot of receipts, old shipping boxes, and all of my collected art that has been leaning up against the wall patiently waiting to be hung for the last two years! Two years! So, I took everything out and then started going through all of my clothes, shoes, and accessories.
Again, here’s even more piled clothes, paperwork, clothes I purchased online that I needed to try on, and my jewelry organizer which I think I’m going to keep, but eventually spray paint black and swap out the silver hooks for gold hooks. What do you think? Keep or trade out for other shelf-top jewelry organizers?
And last, but not least, my shoes and workout gear in the little “under-the-roof-eaves” cubby next to the closet door.
Clear Out the Clutter
Ok, first things first, you gotta clear the clutter! And be honest with yourself. Go through everything and be brutally honest on if you are ever going to wear it again. If yes, keep it! If no, put it in a donate or sell pile. If you’re hesitating on whether or not to keep something, try to figure out why you’re hesitating:
- Are you feeling shame because you spent money on something and didn’t wear it and likely never will? I do this all the time. Put it in the donate pile and stop allowing it to shame you or continue to take up valuable space in your closet.
- Is it pre-pregnancy clothes that still don’t fit? As I said, I’m giving myself an extra year (I mean, I had two kids, I should get two years, right?), but after that I’m going to be realistic when I try on my pre-pregnancy clothes and if they don’t fit because my body shape has changed or I’m just not able to get those last few pounds off, I’m going to be honest and realistic and donate the clothes.
- Was it a gift and you simply don’t like it, but you feel obligated to keep it because you’re afraid the person will ask you about it? This is a hard situation, but I would simply donate the item and move on. Life is too short and your closet is too small for clothes you don’t like.
Wash, Iron, & Repair Clothes, Shoes, and Jewelry
The next step is to wash, iron, and repair the clothes, shoes, and jewelry you’ve decided to keep. Before I put any of my pre-pregnancy clothes into storage bags or boxes, I made sure to wash them so they would be fresh once I put them into storage. I was also pulling some of my clothes out of storage boxes for the switch from winter/spring to summer and all those clothes needed to be washed, too. So, since I was doing so much laundry, I just decided to rewash EVERYTHING and really give my closet a “refresh” by giving all my clothes a fresh scent!
And when I say “repair” your clothes, shoes, purses, and jewelry, I mean set aside any clothes that you want to keep that have holes, buttons missing, broken zippers, stains that can be fixed (by soaking/bleaching the stains or dying the clothes a different color), broken heels, buckles, shoes that need new laces, and any broken jewelry. Also, set aside any clothes that need alterations and then actually take the clothes to be repaired. Most dry cleaners can do simple alterations and repairs. Shoe repair places can also fix belts and purses. And most jewelry stores can either do repair work or at least recommend someone who can. But the point is, get things fixed so you can actually wear them!
Separate by Season
The next step is to separate your clothes by season. Now, if you live in a climate that experiences all four seasons, you might want to separate into Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer clothes. I live in Los Angeles, so I pretty much just have “clothes” and then some jackets, boots, scarves, and one pair of rain boots.
But, I just recently learned about other “seasons.” For me, I am currently in a “Stay-at-Home-Mom Season” where I am doing dishes, laundry, and just generally sweating my butt off all day trying to keep two toddlers alive. So, I wear yoga pants, activewear, and pajamas all day – items I don’t mind getting dirty or sweaty in. And then I have my “Going Out of the House” clothes – my jeans, nicer tops and blouses, dresses, sweaters, etc.
For me personally, the easiest way to separate my clothes were by my “Stay-at-Home-Mom” or “Going-Out-of-the-House” seasons. So, I keep my pajamas and activewear in baskets on shelves where they don’t need to be folded, I don’t care if they’re wrinkled, and I have easy access to them. And then all my nicer clothes are hung on matching gold hangers on my clothing rack. This is what works for me, but you’ll need to figure out what works for you.
Storage & Organization
Next, figure out your storage situation. I already had built-in shelves and a clothing rack along with several plastic storage bins, but I wasn’t using them or storing them to their fullest potential. First, I purchased four new baskets to replace the plastic bins for my pajamas, work out clothes, and underwear (see photo above – the black and gold baskets). I also purchased shoe boxes (photo above), then I splurged and purchased matching hangers. Wow, do those hangers look good! They cost a little over $1 each, but well worth it! Since they’re metal, they’re slimmer than the plastic tube hangers and you can either fit more on your clothing rack or hanging rods or give your clothes more room to breathe and you’ll be able to see what you’re looking for more easily!
I then used all the plastic bins, consolidated everything, and stored my sweaters, boots, hats, belts, and workout gear in the built-in cubbies by the closet door and hung a curtain to hide them from everyday view.
I had also purchased these cute little acrylic shelves several months ago for my sunglasses and FINALLY hung them up! Now I can easily find my sunglasses instead of rummaging through a box of sunnies or just wearing the same two pairs all the time because I couldn’t see what else I owned.
Make It Pretty
And last, but certainly not least, make your space pretty! Don’t forget about how much of a difference paint, wallpaper, lighting, mirrors, and art can make! Just because it’s a closet doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful! I hung a gallery wall of all my favorite art, added a vintage light fixture, a fake neon light, two marble shelves, a vintage gold hamper, fake plants, jewelry organizers, curtains, and splurged on matching gold hangers! It’s a lot for such a tiny room, but it’s my little dressing room closet and I go in there every day, so why not make it pretty? Eventually, I’ll also paint it dark, dark grey, and add the ostrich wallpaper from the photo below.
Alright, let’s just look at a couple quick side-by-side “Before & After” photos before you go! It wasn’t a complete makeover and I didn’t make any huge changes, but it was a solid two days work giving it a refresh by clearing out some stuff, washing/repairing what I was keeping, separating everything by season, organizing and storing it more efficiently, and then making the space pretty by hanging art, styling shelves, and putting up curtains to hide any ugly storage.