There’s always a trigger, experts say. When someone finally checks into rehab or jumps off a bridge or breaks down and organizes his closet, some event sets it off. For me it was moving to a house with smaller closets.
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While I considered pitching myself off a bridge, I settled on getting smarter about closet organizing. In my new place, closet space isn’t just smaller overall but the master closet area is divided into three closets: his, hers and I don’t want to go there.
Because I purged when I packed to move, all the clothes I brought to my new digs were staying. Every garment fits, looks good, the zippers work and nothing bears some sorry hope of coming back in style. Fashion designers will never again put shoulder pads the size of bread loaves in clothes to make women look like linebackers in drag. At least they’d better not.
As I set about organizing my new closets, I knew they would have to meet minimum standards: no belt snake pit, no sweater stack that comes with an avalanche warning, no underwear drawers that look like chickens live in them and no hangers so tangled they look like they’ve been in a barroom brawl.
More than that, what I really wanted was a closet so organized that I could pull together an outfit without taking a step. This would take some thought, which always hurts like tight shoes.
I started by sorting. I grouped clothing by color, then by season. I divided clothes into fat days and skinny days, by short and long, by categories (pants and blouses), and by function (work, casual and dressy). This got so complicated I started having thoughts about jumping off that bridge.
I called a professional to talk me down. Lisa Engel, vice president of marketing for ClosetMaid, knew my pain. “Moving is a major closet-makeover trigger,” she said, sympathizing. Other ones are having a baby and getting married.
The recession is also having an impact. “Before, when people got married or had a baby they often got a bigger place,” she said. “Now people are stuck, so they’re making the closet space they have work harder.”
To help my get the most out of my closets Engel shared some inside-the-closet scoop. Here, she said, is what most consumers don’t know:
Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through marnijameson.com.