Scared by a closet & can't get started

Julie_MI_Z5October 9, 2005

Please send moral support!

I don't have a real closet of my own in this house, but use bits and pieces of everyone else's closets plus an old 3-foot wide vinyl closet for out of season clothes. Since there is no rhyme or reason to where clothes are stuffed, laying out clothes the night before is a challenge (skirt in one closet, blazer in another, blouse hanging in the laundry room, etc.). The "stuffed" description is not an exaggeration, which pretty much guarantees that I have to iron my blouses or leave them hanging in the laundry room so they don't wrinkle.

I bought (finally) a 4-foot wide portable closet. It looks HUGE!! It's in the dining room now, but is going to be carried down to one end of the laundry/furnace room today (DS was adamant that it not go anywhere NEAR his weight bench, LOL). Yesterday afternoon I cleaned the laundry room (including a totally ignored corner that held carpet remnants DH wanted to save--which I hope to have out on the curb tonight). All is ready.

My goal today is to arrange entire OUTFITS in the new closet. I'm excited, but it sure seems daunting. With the changing fall/winter weather I can incorporate two seasons (I've already started wearing wool blend pants to work on football game days, since I go straight from work to the games) and probably put together 2 weeks worth of outfits? More? I actually have no clue.

Where to start?? HELP! This is something I have wanted to do for years but have never had the space. Imagine... entire outfits planned in advance left to right, with laundered outfits added to the end of the row, sort of like a perpetual calendar in a closet!

Why is this so scary sounding? LOL And I'm only a little bit ashamed to admit I'm paralyzed by fear....

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Honey, trying to figure out how to be organized when you live in a small space IS daunting in and of itself. We had 1600 square feet in our old house and FOUR closets total for four people. I never had my own closet either. The kids got two, my DH got one, storage for the other and the bulk of MY stuff was in drawers. It was a total drag for me.

It's HARD mentally to figure this out.

My best advice? Just start. Risk doing it 'wrong'. Get started. Do it and see if it actually works? It might. It might not. But at least you now have another place to put some of your own things which by itself, is a blessing.

I would start with putting together outfits that are already 'okay'. I'm sure that you can find two or three RIGHT NOW. Put them in there TODAY.

And as you do your laundry, put them away in there.

For myself, I find that the hardest part is STARTING.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 11:08AM
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Yep - my suggestions, exactly! Reread the above post when you started getting scared all over again! LOL

I'm proud of you for doing this. Hey! Is that a new outfit? You sure have been looking spiffy lately! LOL

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 11:59AM
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You can do it, Julie! I agree with the above suggestions. I know getting started is hard, because sometimes we don't know exactly where to start. You probably get more of a feeling of direction once you've put a few things in there.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 12:04PM
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When I get done swatting that big son of yours on the bottom....ok, I'm done. Now, back to helping.

First things first, please remind yourself that this is YOUR home and you DESERVE a decent place to keep your clothing. It is a NEED to be able to get your clothing together easily so that you can get out the door in the morning. There is something about that testosterone which seems to have a selfish gene, but don't let it get in the way of what you want.

I would start with just a couple of outfits put together and then have the clothing together in groups of blouses, skirts and slacks, jackets, etc. For a while, you may need to see all of the clothes together to realize you have 10 pairs of brown slacks but only one pair of grey slacks which you actually wear more often. You know what I mean. The first thing is to get all of the clothing together and out of the various places in the house.

Is this space mostly private, where you could actually make yourself a changing area? Put in a small dresser for hose, slips, etc. and a small chair. A mirror? How's the lighting. Make it pleasant and you will be more likely to keep up your system.

Get your trash bags close by and don't forget to purge that stuff you never really wear. Then treat yourself to what you do need to pull together those outfits.

On your mark, get set.....


    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 1:32PM
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I lurk much but don't post often however as I've been in this dilemna several times through various moves, I'll offer a couple of thots FWIW.

Although it may seem so while the wardrobe is empty, 4' is not a lot of space thus your idea of placing complete outfits in there is an excellent idea (IMO). My goal was to have 7 separate outfits allowing 5 work days of "wearables" plus 2 for the beginning of the following week (just in case that laundry thing didn't happen as quickly as expected). Then do 2-3 "weekend" outfits & your pretty well set to go.

If you had double hang space in a 5' plus closet, I'd perhaps be inclined to put all the pants together, all the blouses together, . . . and like that but it's not the case here thus the "outfit plan" is excellent.

I definitely would not take all the clothes from everywhere and put them in a big pile. Can you say "Overwhelm" before you even start?? Instead I'd find all the pieces of my fave two outfits and put them together on hangers & place them in that wonderful new space. Are all the pieces clean/ironed & ready to wear? Great - that takes care of Monday & Tuesday. After that find the two next fave's, doing the same procedure and you'll have Wed & Thurs done. And like that.

At some point you are going to have all your *7 faves* and your weekend stuff (plus likely a few 'special purpose outfits') done & stored. That's when you look at *the rest* and decide if you love it, if it fits well or whether perhaps it has a higher purpose at someone else's house. Higher Purpose stuff gets bagged forthwith & placed in trunk of car for delivery to said depot for same.

Now you pour self your favorite cocktail and contemplate what you (MOST deservedly) might want to purchase to make your *7 faves* or your *weekend stuff* smashing. :-)) And, on delivery of 'higher purpose items', you head to store(s) with list created at cocktail time and go shopping girlfriend. LOL!!

Gloria's idea of putting a dresser & mirror down there if you can manage it is a great one. Maybe you could find a folding screen to make the area a bit more 'personally yours'??

As to DS, when he is paying his share of the mortgage would (IMO) be a time when perhaps he might voice opinions. I assume that time is not now so unless he wishes to lift weights in the back yard he (in my household) would be well advised to zip it.

Have fun!

Hope that helps a little to keep you going. :-))

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 3:22PM
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Thanks everyone!

I went with Holly's idea, and started a little slower than I had anticipated. The light in the laundry room isn't good enough to tell black from navy, so I pretty much have to have the outfits put together ahead of time. I did iron several blouses before I put them in the new closet, and not a single one should get crushed before I wear it. OH HAPPY DAY!

Things I learned: (1) I can dress in a professional manner day by day, but CANNOT put together a long-term outfit collection; (2) I cannot tell you what I've worn to work the past two weeks; (3) It is hard to dress not knowing if we're going to have summer or winter this week--I need to check the weather to see if tomorrow will be 80 degrees or 40; (4) I have a lot of clothes I didn't wear this summer because I couldn't find the parts that went together (I found them now); (5) Almost all my winter clothes are black or navy and I need to add some splashes of color BIG TIME!; and (6) I need to unpack my rubbermaid bin of winter clothes and make sure I have the appropriate number and colors of turtlenecks and sweaters---I lost weight last winter and gave away the too-big ones and cannot tell you which ones I replaced and in what colors.

The dressing room idea was a great one... until I remembered that somehow I have to go from the upstairs bathroom shower to the basement laundry room half-naked in the winter, LOL. I'll continue to carry my clothes upstairs the night before; it will just be easier since they'll all be put together a week or two ahead of time.

As for DS, his weight bench is safe where it is. Last thing I want to do is trip over weights getting my clothes!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 6:12PM
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Julie, either get a higher wattage light bulb for the laundry room or...Buy a floor lamp!

And I feel like I have to say this. YOU getting yourself ready for work in a reasonable fashion is more important than your son's weight lifting area.

You may not want to pull rank, but I just wanted to remind you that your priority has a higher rank than his.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 9:56PM
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Ummm... No. I don't want my clothes in the family room where the weights are any more than DS does! The laundry room area is much more convenient and out of sight.

Meetings last night and tonight, so I'm scheduling bin-unpacking for Wednesday. I realized the hard part is that the quick transition here last week from summer to winter means most of what I've been wearing to work is no longer appropriate. Maybe I'm not so pathetic after all? LOL

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 5:31AM
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That switch from late summer to autumn and early winter is really hard--so no, you're not lame at all.

But, you DO deserve better lighting in the laundry room, and you DO deserve a good place to keep your clothes.

It makes me want to cry that you have to sprinkle your clothes around your house, and keep them in the basement laundry room instead of in your bedroom. Where do the OTHER people keep their clothes?

I know you have very little space in your closets, from something else you said on the forum. But I'm glad that you've finally realized you deserve a spot to put them (the portable closet). I just wish you could persuade yourself that you deserve decent lighting where that it.

And I wish that you could figure out how to get an armoire or wardrobe or even that portable closet up into your bedroom!

One advantage, I suppose, of it being in the laundry room is that you can take stuff out of the laundry and hang it up, in its little "packet," immediately.

So maybe you should pursue that "dressing room" idea further.

Maybe you need a really warm robe for Christmas, so you can go to the basement from the shower w/o getting cold? And a space heater on a timer? (I like the Vornado, bcs it's very safe, and it heats the WHOLE area; though it ain't cheap, but boy is it effective! and since it has a thermostat, it's energy efficient) Set it to turn on about a half hour before you get up, and turn itself off a half hour after you leave the house--then it ought to be OK for regular days.

The only thing w/ a "dressing room" is, you need ALL your clothes in it--undies, socks, jeans, T-shirts, dress clothes.

And if the floor is kinda gunky down there (some basement laundry rooms are), maybe it's time to see what peel-and-stick tiles would cost you? Or sheet vinyl? Or even painted concrete with a rug? (of course, we don't know what your basement looks like)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 11:05AM
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Or carpet squares...

Have you noticed that men can easily claim 'territory' but as women, we can struggle with it?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 11:46AM
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You guys make me laugh! I have absolutely NO real interest in going downstairs to get dressed everyday. My clothes are all set out the night before, and it works best for me. One of my pleasures in life is getting dressed in a warm, steamy bathroom on a cold winter morning.

Yesterday I wore gray to work and realized that my outfit would have looked even nicer with a silver necklace. Might have to work on hanging up jewelry in a zip lock bag with my clothes? I'm a pretty basic person and tend to forget about accessories.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 6:15AM
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I forget accessories, too. In fact, after myMIL gave me a gold necklace & bracelet for my 40th bday, I just wear them all the time--I never take them off. I may look the same, but at least I'm accessorized.

the zip lock bag sounds good, if you want to break it up by outfit.

(I'll confess, I can't ever sustain an organization effort like this that hangs all my outfits ina unit)

But if you decide that doesn't work, you can move all your jewelry into that closet w/ one of these (see link below)

Here is a link that might be useful: big jewelry orgaizer to hang on a hanger

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 10:05AM
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Talley Sue, I love that jewelry organizer! It would be great for the "heirloom pins" (Grandma's vintage junk jewelry, LOL) that I have but never bother digging around for. L

Last winter I did OK with DS-college kid's dresser... leaving my jewelry laying out and choosing what I wanted for the day. If I got a bulldozer and cleared a path today, I could try that again.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 10:29AM
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