the streamlined getting-ready station
Click on the photos in this post for notes, if you’re the
ohhhh-ahhh-organization-Real-Simple-Apartment-Therapy voyeur type.

I have received a surprising amount of emails from fellow moms asking if I was going to do any spring/summer fashion and shopping posts like I did last year here and here. And I could totally do it. You KNOW I’d love to do it, bossy narcissistic bitch that I am. I get all the magazines and catalogs and those newfangled “exclusive” sale alerts. I think I have a good grip on how to translate trends to work on the women I know with real bodies and budgets and busy lives and how to find bargain versions of the stuff shilled in Bazaar.

But how can I tell you guys to buy a bunch of stuff this year? I’m not!

The thing is, no one is doing any serious shopping this summer. We’re all buckling down and making do with the clothes we have. Unless your body has changed a lot since last summer, you really do not need to buy a darn thing, save maybe some cheap organizing tools to help you love love love the stuff you already have.

I have come to really feel good about my clothed appearance without spending a dime by seriously organizing my inventory. It took a fair amount of work, especially since I used to be a complete slob about taking care of my clothes in college and my early 20s, but now I am able to shop my closet, as Gwyneth says (I know, I know, you cringe but you have to admit that the smug mom of two has mad style.)

I went through and took a good hard look at every single parcel of clothing and accessory I own, and now I

  • Feel like I have a whole new wardrobe. By getting rid of things I don’t need and organizing the items I decided to keep, I feel like I went on a shopping spree. I am also wearing things that I truly like and thus feeling better when I leave the house.
  • Am re-embracing my old summer clothes from last year. You know, the stuff really hasn’t changed that much and I think last year’s shoes were waaay hotter than these flat gladiator things that give everyone cankles.
  • Am working out more since getting organized, supporting the link between organization and health. I for one feel that when my home is tidy, my willingness to make healthy choices goes way up.
  • Am saving loads of time getting ready. I can get dressed in a fast minute and feel confident and current in my outfit all day.

I wish I could call custom closet organizers like Closet Tailors for the Cribs blinged out treatment, but no dice. Here’s how I got myself organized cheapskate style:

Get thee gone winter wear
It’s officially DC spring/summer, so I went through my coat closet, clothes closet and drawers and put away every single item that I knew that I will never wear again until early November. That meant all my winter coats, gloves, woolen scarves, heavy pants, snowboots, thick socks and fleecy pjs. I cleaned all my winter-only shoes before storing and laundered and dry cleaned any items that needed it before putting away. I put all my sweaters in sweater boxes to avoid moth holes.

Good places to store the winter stuff are guest room closets or in big clearly labeled Tupperware containers in the attic or basement, just get them out the area where you get ready every day. Any item that I did not wear once this winter I gave away a la Stimey’s Junk Pyramid – hey, Jean’s doing a seasonal switch out too!

Dresser Drawer Detox
I grabbed a bunch of cardboard boxes and tackled my dresser with a very critical eye. I labeled one box keep, one box donate, one box rags and one box trash. I emptied the entire dresser and I was ruthless. Any items crammed in the drawers that looked too wrinkled to wear but were keepers I laundered, dried and hung in the closet if they easily wrinkle.

I was particularly trash-happy with my underwear and t-shirt drawers. Any panties that looked dingy or made my ass unhappy are gone. OK, this move did entail me hitting Target for more everyday underwear but everyone needs new chonies at least once a year. All workout and sleep t-shirts that had seen better days now live in the rag bag or were tossed. All everyday t-shirts that I like but were worn out became workout or sleep shirts. Those that look OK but I never ever wear I donated to Catholic Charities.

I then organized the keepers for maximum get-out-the-door-ability. Bras and panties in drawer organizers, sports bras & running wear & workout socks all together in one drawer for easy early morning grabs, swimsuits and coverups together in another drawer to make hitting the pool easypeasy. I then rolled my t-shirts like they do on Clean House so I can see each one, rather than having to dig to the bottom of a pile to find that perfect black top.

decluttered dresser

And since my daughter Eve just will not stop getting into my makeup and toiletries, I tricked out a top drawer with organizers dedicated to makeup and getting ready supplies, again ruthlessly culling out the old stuff and only keeping the essentials. With a mirror hung right between my dresser and closet and an outlet right there with my hair dryer, I have all the tools I need in a very small area to eliminate running around room to room and make my getting ready routine as streamlined as possible.

Closet Crash Course
I don’t have the big walk-in closet I’ve always dreamed about, but sometimes I think it’s a good thing. There’s no room in my closet for anything I do not need. Our 1950’s house instead has two individual small closets for his-and-her organization, so I do have the luxury of hogging one closet solo. I gave all the closet items the same cardboard box treatment I did the dresser, though I left the definite keepers hanging.

I placed the shoes I wear everyday on a shoe rack on the floor of the closet and all my nice shoes are in their cardboard boxes or clear numbers on the topmost shelf. This way the kids can’t wreck my nice heels when playing dress up and they stay dust free.

I also went through all handbags and got rid of anything that was battered, dirty or dowdy. I stored all my really good purses in either a cloth bag or a pillowcase, and lined them up on another shelf away from the kids and protected from the elements. I had a leather bag I loved stick to a closet shelf one humid summer and some of the paint came off onto it, so I have learned my lesson.

On that note of taking care of my stuff, I also have a Gal Pal deoderant remover on the shelf for easy white stuff removal when getting dressed or re-hanging something after wearing, a Sweater Stone for gentle removing of pills and my sewing kit right there too so I can promptly fix small tears, dropped hems or re-affix buttons. I also have cedar blocks nestled in all of our closets to repel moths and freshen.

bags and shoe care

On the bar I hung all the casual everyday tops, light jackets and cardigans, pants and jeans, skirts and dresses that I may wear until Halloween. I grouped the items by category, not outfit. This makes me more likely to mix and match. The easiest items to get to are the things I wear the most. I hung the jeans because I found they take up less room hung than folded on a shelf or in a drawer. Fancy dresses and suits and “going out” and business casual items are further back in the closet. I’m a stay at home mom, so this system could be flip-flopped for a working mom.

Elle Decor always say to treat your closet like a jewel box and give the inside a fresh coat of paint or luxe wallpaper. WhatEVER. My big aesthetic move? I got rid of all wire hangers like Mommie Dearest and bought a bunch of plastic hangers in the color I already had the most of, white. The non-white hangers I use to hang the winter items in a storage closet. This color-coordinated hanger thing was totally goofy and makes me sound like a jerk, but it does make me feel more organized and happy about getting dressed.

I feel so good about my clothes options since getting rid of things and getting my remaining possessions in order that I don’t need to shop. Investing in the organization tools for my dresser and closet make me feel way better than a new pair of buttlifting jeans.

I know, I’m still shocked myself.

decluttered closet

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