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A professional image consultant offers tips on how to organize your closet
Closet clutter can be tamed if you ask the right questions about your stuff
Ah, spring, when a young woman’s fancy turns to love… of the pretty new spring frocks, cute shoes and fresh bags she just has to have.
But if those fresh finds are outnumbered by the old clothes in your closet – faded, ripped, a bit too small or big, the wrong colour or cut and the merely serviceable clothes – you’ll need to first make some space in your closet for the new ones.
Vancouver image consultant Diana Kilgour knows how to get your closet organized for good. She’s been doing this for 30 years, so she’s seen it all.
Q. What’s the number one mistake people make with their wardrobes?
A. People buy the cheapest thing they can find or they have a weakness for a particular thing. They don’t have a single blazer or jacket to complete an outfit, but they can’t resist a cute frilly top. Some people buy too many bright colours or only prints. Some might always buy their clothes a little too small, or a little too big. And some people never have alterations done: that’s a huge mistake. And some people do a little bit of this all the time, but for some it’s a blind spot.
Q. If you have something you never wear, but that’s too sentimental to get rid of, like a wedding dress, what do you suggest people do with it?
A. I think if when you see it, and it feeds your eye and it feeds your spirit, assuming that you can afford closet space for it, I don’t necessarily think it should be banished. If there wasn’t room for the things you wear every day, that’s different.
Some people who have combined households, or downsized, what has worked is to make a wardrobe scrapbook – take a swatch of the fabric, take a picture of yourself wearing the outfit. That can be just as satisfying. People have made the most interesting toss cushions from jeans. But to keep things around with the idea that you might make something one day, that would be the trap.
Q. It’s easy to give usable clothes to charity, but how do you keep worn-out clothes and shoes out of the landfill?
A. The Diabetes Association will pick up everything, and they sell it all to Value Village, who sorts it, and they will bundle up things by weight and send it overseas.
Q. Once you’ve purged, what are the rules for restocking your closet?
A. Continually ask yourself the critical questions: Is this something I need? Do I know where or how I’m going to wear it? Do I own what it will take to make this into a complete outfit, and if not, would those pieces be easily found or acquired?
Find the nuts and bolts of closet organizing here.