Why do A-listers like Kimora Lee Simmons (pictured) and Mariah Carey like to make us feel bad about ourselves by flaunting their ridiculous and over-sized closets on shows like Cribs and spreads in InSyle? Every time a diva like Kimora shows off her “500 pairs of jeans” or “35 custom Hermes Birkin bags” I die a little bit inside. Don’t you?
This weekend, I did a major spring cleaning in my tiny New York City apartment, which included giving my closet a much-needed makeover. If spring cleaning is like plastic surgery, and you don’t have the budget for a face-lift, how about a little drug-store brand eye cream or some needle-free filler? You can have a gorgeous, clean, well-organized closet whether you’re living on a Real Housewives of Beverley Hills budget or not — just follow these steps:
1. Get Matching Hangers
Uniformity in hangers is key. Try to find not only the same type of hanger, but the same color as well. In the great words of Joan Crawford: “No wire hangers EVER!” Professional closet organizers prefer wood or felt hangers, but matching plastic hangers will work, as well.
Try Neatfreak Felt Clothes Hangers ($39.99 for 50), they’re slender and prevent wrinkles.
2. Dust & Re-Fold
It may sound like a lot of work, but the best place to start is to remove all items from shelves, drawers, hangers and shoe racks. Dust, vacuum and wipe down all services before you put clothes and accessories back in. Items like scented drawer liners, moth balls, boot shapers, and cloth storage bins will keep clothes fresh and clean.
Try these Chevron drawer liners by Hammocks & High Tea ($25), which are as pretty as they are practical.
When you return clothes to the shelves, re-fold t-shirts and all other non-hanging items, and sort them in a way that is logical for you (by season, occasion or color).
3. Sort Clothing By Type, Then Color
Sorting by type will just make your life easier — having all the cardigans in one place makes getting dressed in the morning much easier. Sorting by color is purely aesthetic; how much better do things look in order of dark to light? Start in the middle of the closet, and hang all items facing inward — so the items on the right side of your closet should all face left, and vice versa. Remove clothing from dry cleaning bags — a good rule of thumb with clothing, is “if you don’t see it, you won’t wear it.” It is acceptable to use black garment bags for items that need extra protection — like ball gowns and tuxedos — since you don’t wear them on a regular basis (unless you’re Ivanka Trump).
4. Sort Shoes By Season, Then Heel Height
After you’ve removed your shoes and dusted your shoe rack, you’re ready to put shoes back in. Shoes are best displayed out of the box, with one shoe facing forward and the other facing back. Boot shapers are your new best friend — they allow you to store boots in the most space-effective way, and look infinitely better than flaccid boots flopped over one another.
These plastic Boot Shapers ($12.99) are the ones I have, and they work great.
5. Don’t Hang Everything
You don’t need to hang (most) t-shirts, tank tops, gym clothes, lingerie, underwear, hoodies and accessories (like scarves). Fold t-shirts neatly and stack them above your hanging items. Ditto for gym clothes like yoga pants and leisure items like sweatpants and hoodies. If it doesn’t wrinkle, it doesn’t need a hanger. Tank tops, underwear, socks and lingerie should go in drawers. If you don’t have a proper bureau, grab some small, portable storage bins.
Storage bins, like this Dwell Studio Chocolate Dot storage bin ($50) are a great option for small apartments.
Real Simple’s linen closet organizers are also a great option — they make bins, jewelry organizers, garment bags and other storage pieces that are good for miscellaneous items.
Now you’re ready for your very own episode of Cribs!