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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Organize Your Closets & Dresser Drawers By Rainbow to Make Your Life Simpler

This sounds like an obsessive-compulsive request that I'm making of you in the title of this post, I know. However, I promise, it's an easy-to-implement & even-easier-to-maintain closet & drawer simplifier. It's a great way to make sure that you know what you have at all times, and always know where your items are. I swear that if you take the initial few minutes, or even an hour, to set up your closets & drawers this way, you will spare yourself hours of laundering & shopping agony in the future.
There are several reasons why I suggest organizing your closets & bedroom drawers this way. I apply it to shoes, as well as clothing. For one thing, it looks much neater visually. Hang up or fold the clothing from lightest to deepest shade within one hue, going from left to right, and you'll be even better off. For another, when all of your laundry is clean & put away, having it organized by an easy-to-remember color strategy means that you know what you might have too much of in one hue, and what you might be missing in another color.

Simply go in this order:
White
Ivory
Pink
Red
Orange/Coral
Yellow
Green
Blue
Violet
Khaki/Taupe
Brown
Grey
Black

You can further sort it out by type- nightgowns, dresses, suits, pants, shirts, etc., or you can just do your wardrobe piece-by-piece in color, no matter what item it is. It's up to you. I break it down into basic categories like those listed above, but that's also pretty easy for me since I don't own a huge wardrobe. I like to do this, since then it's easy to see if I'm running low on one particular category of clothing. That doesn't happen too often, since I do one load of laundry a day, usually two, but it's still nice to get a general idea of what's clean in just a quick glance. To reiterate, here is my simple wardrobe list, which covers that basics that I live in & always want to have on hand:

5 cotton, short-sleeved, mid-calf-length nightgowns
5 white sports bras, 5 pairs of black Capri QuikWik pants, 5 pairs of white quarter-cuff athletic Wrightsocks & 1 pair of white athletic sneakers (replaced quarterly), for exercising Monday-Friday
5 beige bras
5 black bras
10 pairs of black cotton underwear
10 pairs of black crew socks
10 medium-to-dark-colored, v-neck, short-sleeved cotton tunics
10 pairs of black cotton pants
1 pair of black athletic sneakers to wear daily, replaced quarterly
1 black cross-body handbag that holds a mini-umbrella on one side & a 16-oz. water bottle on the other, to use daily
1 hanging toiletry bag for travel
1 overnight bag for travel of three days or less
3 shoe bags (each hold one pair of shoes) for travel
1 suitcase for travel of more than three days
1 black cardigan sweater to layer, in cooler weather
1 black, hooded jacket, preferably with a waterproof shell
1 black leather jacket
1 white-and-black herringbone winter coat, a black winter scarf, black driving gloves & 1 pair of black winter boots
1 fall/winter dress w/ hosiery, shoes & an evening bag to go w/ it
1 spring/summer dress w/ shoes & an evening bag to go w/ it
Black leather-strap, two-tone metal watch, a few pairs of earrings & a few other pieces as jewelry

Black is my base color in fall & winter. In the autumn, I start introducing vests, turtlenecks & sweaters into my clothing again. In spring, I wear more khaki & tan as my neutral. Come summer, I throw in white, and mix in some lighter-weight items like tank tops, crop pants, gauze & linen pieces. But thanks to modern heat & air-conditioning indoors, my tunic-and-black pants uniform works for most of the time, especially if the vast majority of my day will not be spent outside.

Many of us have way too much clothing in colors that look bad with our coloring, possess far too many pairs of blue jeans, or own too many pairs of khakis. If you can go more than three weeks without doing laundry, and you still have clothes to wear...you may need to simplify what you own. No matter what the women's magazines or catalogs tell you. Your wardrobe may contain ill-fitting, stained and/or torn clothing that really should be tossed, sold or given away. You may start to see that you're only wearing certain pieces repeatedly, and others are hanging up so long that the pieces (and the hangers that they're on) are gathering dust. Be willing to part with those pieces which just don't look right on you, no longer suit your figure, or never work with your lifestyle. Be realistic in meshing your day-to-day life with your possible fashionista desires. Eliminate as much as possible that must be dry-cleaned, hand-washed (because it's so delicate) and/or ironed, and you'll gain back time in your life. Don't keep work suits from years ago when you've been retired for ten years, and know you'll never go back to work again. Every inch, every foot, every shelf, every rod that you give to old, unworn clothing is real estate wasted. Get those clothes tailored by taking in loose waistbands, putting darts in too-loose blouses & having too-long pants hemmed up. Often, this is more inexpensive than you think it'll be, it'll almost certainly ensure more wear (meaning you actually get out of the item enough use to justify the cost), and you'll look better all of the time. You deserve to feel comfortable, polished & put-together!

-Liz 


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