Keeping my closet organized has never been easy. Between having a significant wardrobe and struggling to find enough room for my ever-growing makeup collection, I've never managed to assemble a closet that made getting ready a breeze. As much as I tried, on any given day, I'd find myself hunting for a top buried at the back of my closet or searching endlessly for that one backup of a face cream I swear by. To say I grew tired of the disarray was an understatement.
When Yelp invited me to try their professional organization service free of charge, it felt like Christmas came early. On top of that, the company paired me with New York-based organizer Jeni Aron, founder of Clutter Cowgirl, and I couldn't have asked for a better match.
Keep in mind if I was searching for an organizer on Yelp.com on my own, I would simply click the "Request a Quote" feature on the site. After answering a few basic questions about the organizing project, you receive quotes from up to 10 different professional organizers in just minutes. And the best part is Yelp will let you know how soon you can expect to receive a response from each business you contacted. From there, you just schedule a consultation or appointment with the organizer you're most interested in to get started on your project. The price of Yelp's professional organizing service typically varies by city but expect to pay between $150 - $200 per session. (You can also explore rates here).
Since I skipped this part of the process, Jeni and I got straight to our initial phone call to discuss the issues with my closet and what I envisioned for a refresh. We settled on two organizing sessions — each lasting for three hours. Any more time than that, and you get burnt out. Jeni has been in the organizing business for 17 years and has adopted a collaborative approach, where she believes in organizing solutions that truly suit a client's everyday lifestyle. "As I walk around a client's home, I want to hear what their problems have been in the space and how I can help them where they live," Jeni says. "I'm not interested in just plugging in a system and having the client follow what I would do. I want to make sure that the solutions we come up with together will actually be used."
That's exactly what Jeni did for me. During our first session, we removed everything from my closet and sorted them into three piles: keep, donate, or gift to family and friends. The process was absolutely draining, but Jeni made it so much fun and the time flew by. We laughed at some of the pieces I hadn't worn in years, jokingly debated over which makeup brushes I absolutely needed to keep (not all 100 it turns out), and decided what was really worth gifting or donating to my local Housing Works. It really helped that Jeni had a great sense of humor, which is necessary when you're staring at piles upon piles of clothing and accessories all over your closet.
The second session is where the real fun began. Jeni recommended a few smart organizing solutions to make the most of my closet space. And while the price of a professional organizer isn't in everyone's budget, here are Jeni's inexpensive (and clever) ideas to getting any closet in order:
Ditch Bulky Hangers
Not only were the plastic hangers I've been using for years unsightly — they were taking up much-needed space. Jeni suggested simple black velvet hangers that gave my closet a cohesive feel and maximized the space more efficiently. "Changing hangers seems like a really simple thing, but it'll make things more visible for you," Jeni says. "It makes you put your hand on each item when you're changing over the hanger and really ask yourself if it's something you really like. If the answer is no, then you can purge it. It forces you to take an inventory of your stuff."
Incorporate Storage Bins
It was clear that I needed designated spots to categorize things like socks and beauty products. Jeni found some great cubbies and fabric bins at Target to contain these smaller items at the bottom of my closet. We also added labels to each bin to make it easy to find everything. Jeni also advised me to use my two upper shelves more efficiently. She provided large plastic bins to store seasonal accessories, including bags that I reserve for the summer, unopened bedding, new hair tools that I'm not ready to use just yet, and a few sentimental items. "I like to consider a closet like a house," Jeni says. "There's the basement level that's very easy to access, the ground floor, and then there's the attic. I like to treat upper shelves like the attic. You don't go up into the attic on a daily basis, so it's for less frequently used items."
Use Command Hooks
To be honest, I forgot all about how genius Command hooks are. Thankfully, Jeni suggested using a few to hang my robes (instead of resorting to my closet doors), hats, and a small selection of necklaces. "They come in all different materials, they won't damage the wall, and when you're ready to take them off, you can just peel off the strip and reuse them with a new strip," Jeni says. They're also perfect because they're not meant to be overloaded with items, making it a simple way to manage your wardrobe.
Now that my closet is complete, I feel so much better. It's easier to find exactly what I want to wear every day, and thanks to Jeni, I'm more thoughtful about the new items I choose to bring into my home.
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