Many years ago, the following was my closet situation:
I would wake up to find Friday night’s blazer and jeans tossed over my chair, or worse, sprawled out in a rebellious fashion on the floor. In disgust, I would make my way to my closet to find a chaos of dress shirts, jeans, and sweaters, some of which were last worn a decade ago.
Stressed out by the mere sight of it, I would abandon any hope of a creative, high-caliber outfit, and go for the most familiar shirt, jeans, and jacket—one of my “favorite,” safe, and uninspiring looks of the month.
Fast forward to the present day:
I wake up to find the floor of my bedroom is immaculate, clear of any pieces of clothing. I open my closet to a collection of classic, robust, and daring pieces which are organized into professional and casual, type of clothing (pants, tops, etc.), and grouped by color.
Inspired by my perfectly ordered wardrobe, I easily pull out and put together each piece to create a bold outfit. It sets the tone of the day.
Here’s how I did it:
One of the greatest reasons why most men don’t know where they’re at with their style is because they don’t have a clear picture of their wardrobe. How can you fix something you’ve never diagnosed properly?
When you have a poorly organized wardrobe, everything starts to get lost in it. Not only can you not find what you need whenever you need it, but as you rummage through it the mess gets worse – and you continuously build up a negative association with getting dressed every day.
Less clothing in your closet = more possibility
This single philosophy is responsible for transforming my wardrobe. Contrary to the common belief that we experience with more, in this case, having less gives us more.
If you’re like me, you probably love saving clothing. For the longest time, I always believed having more clothing in my wardrobe would expand my outfit possibilities.
Wrong. Like a backlog of to-dos or new year resolutions, my closet just became a total mess. The mess created stress, and eventually, I found myself utilizing less and less of the outfit “possibilities” in order to avoid the stress. In the end, it didn’t expand my outfit possibilities but significantly limited it.
Having a few spectacular pieces is better than having a hundred mediocre ones.
It’s only after my total overhaul that I began to mix-and-match effectively. After I threw out over 50% of my wardrobe, and invested in a few amazing pieces, I began creating my best outfits.
Phase 1: Triage
1. Take out everything – especially anything that has nothing to do with clothing from the closet. Vacuum the floor, papers, nails, dust, etc.
2. Ask yourself these crucial questions: Have you worn it in the last 2 years? Does it fit? (Do you have Bad Fit Disease?…). Is it flattering? Do you have too many of the same thing?
Hack #1: Try Peter Walsh’s (43Folders) clever hanger trick to determine what you don’t wear.
3. Deciding the fate of each piece:
For clothing that passes the crucial questions from previous step:
1. Place in new wardrobe pile
2. Place in canvas box for other seasonal clothing
For clothing that fails the crucial questions from previous step:
3. Donate (donate clothing you haven’t worn for over 2 years)
Hack #2: Donate your unworn clothing to the charities that accept clothing donations such as the salvation army.
4. Trash it
Phase 2: Organize your new wardrobe:
1. Start with the basics – Start with the basics. For some, this will be sufficient. By “basics” I mean the classic, timeless, and staple pieces upon which almost 80% of your outfits are going to be build around. This is going to be more casual for some, and more professional for others.
2. Build a proper infrastructure & tools – An efficient and effective closet space is the foundation of your wardrobe organization. Here are some unique closet “tools” that you may not see in your typical home furniture store:
Hack #3: Checking out this amazing setup of “magnetic clothing hangers
Hack #4: Get rid of your typical hooked hanger system all together and try “flying hooks” by Bos & Couvee:
Hack #5: Completely Outsource the design of your closet: you design, they ship.
3. Plan a system of organization
One way to split up clothing is by types (and maybe even creating a professional and casual division: i.e. suits, shirts, ties, etc. // jeans, shirts, sweaters, etc. Another way is to bunch them by entire outfits (so you can conveniently pull them out when you need them).
Hack #6: Use a shoe hanger like these:
Also: for accessories like belts, I use a belt hanger like this (never roll your belts as the leather will warp).
4. Start hanging (or folding)
What clothes do you hang, and what do you fold? Hang all your collared shirts, jackets, and even pants. Personally, I usually fold my pants because I don’t like the crease that you get on the leg when you hang them. Always fold your sweaters, or any heavy garments for that matter made of thicker material like wool (gravity is their worst enemy).
Make sure you use wooden hangers (get rid of all wire hangers as it will damage the shoulder line).
Hack #7: Fold like a pro in 2 seconds with this amazing Japanese method:
Once you build the system, stick to it no matter what
Only a few days of not putting your clothing in its proper place will make your entire closet system start to regress towards chaos.
When you’re tempted to throw your clothing over the top of your chair, your bed post, or floor, take the 20 seconds to put away the outfit in its rightful place. You will thank yourself the next day.
They say it takes 30 days to totally implement a habit. Challenge yourself to abide by your new wardrobe organization system for 30 days. It should become second nature by that point.
Plan according to your wardrobe before you go shopping
Proactive shopping is the key to dishing out tons of coherent new outfits, saving money, and keeping your wardrobe organized. Don’t buy a new piece before knowing at least one full outfit that you can integrate it into.
Have any more tips for transforming your closet? Share in the comments!