02 June, 2010

No Hoarding Allowed!

Dear Alice

I remember seeing pictures of your closet and it seemed so well edited. Do you buy a few key pieces every season, wear them a ton, and then purge? Do you have any trouble with that process or are you fairly ruthless? Help! My closet is taking over and I don't even like half the clothes. But, then I just see dollar signs when I try to get rid of things. Thanks for any insight into your philosophy on this!


Well, fellow usedtobea C'villain Lauren of The Plan, I'll happily re-run my closet post from last year. And, if you thought that was impressive, look at the space I have to work with now in the beach house. Our room, let alone the closet, is sooo tiny that I had to lay back on the bed to get the shot...

I run a tight ship and ruthlessly vet every new item. And, when I don't wear something for a season, I pass it along to sisters, nieces, friends or my mom. When there are no takers, I'll turn to eBay. No matter how much it cost 'tis better that someone gets enjoyment from the item if you no longer do. Of course...there are a few vintage exceptions but, I'm not quite at that Varsity level yet. Babe's got a smidge more time before we start talking Chanel jackets and Birken bags. Enjoy the archived post...

Earlier this week the interior of our closet was featured on the blog Bonanno's or Barefoot! Vivian's post was titled "It's All About the Closet Space" and she invited readers to share pics that hopefully, included one of how they stored (displayed!) their Bonanno's.

Being the true Leo that I am, I jumped at the chance to showcase my summer closet organizational wizardry. Babe is fond of telling people that I'm a "logistics expert" which is a très fancy way of saying my wife has major OCD...

My friends used to hire me to organize their closets and the S.O.S. usually came in at least twice a year. Now, I'm not naming names (Joanie, Mary, Melissa, Kimba...) but some of my past clients/pupils required more frequent overhauls. And, in response to some recent requests I will impart some of my organizational wisdom/disease...

Above is my Hable laundry bushel that endures hefty trips down to the laundry room carrying multiple loads, detergent, fabric softener, stain remover, whitening booster and sometimes a bag of trash. Or two...

Just a cheapo belt hanger from The Container Store but, swanked up a little with a framed signature of Ralph Lauren (a moment of reverence please...), a much appreciated gift from my father-in-law...

One of my favorite tricks of the trade are my Joy Mangano Huggable Hangers from HSN. I have all black (just like the ones Nate Berkus outfitted Katie Lee Joel's NYC closet in) and they have been a godsend in small spaces. And, Joy's right, the clothes don't slip off! I outfitted Emma's dorm closet in all pink ones which look really pretty holding her sorority de rigueur Lilly's...

A little humor injected along with some Benjamin Moore Pink Cloud #887 paint...

Pottery Barn baskets are the best at durability and I use them to contain smaller items such as...

Scarves, small clutches, handkerchiefs, soft belts, my Bonanno leather color swatch...

Travel kits and shoe bags...

And, bathing suits and beach bag sundries, ahhh...

In Babe's little neck of the woods, or what I affectionately call his dogleg portion of the closet, a Bed Bath and Beyond cedar tie and belt rack has gone the distance with us through 4 different homes...

And, even though it's the back of the closet (it's a walk-in, that's my story and I'm sticking with it!) I still feel it's important to make it personal. The fact that it's too dark for him to see any of my special touches is secondary to the thought counting...

And finally, a sentimental photo overlooks a collection a containers to separate the family jewels from the junk and receipts that accumulates in Babe's pockets each week...

Kindness of all my above mentioned friends who know that I mock from the heart. And remember Lauren, you need to make "space" in your life (and closet!) for the universe to bring new things your way...XXOO


  1. Whether a closet is large or small, good organization makes it sooo much easier to get dressed. I bought a shoe "cubby" when I realized I had 2 identical pairs of black pumps. They were in boxes, so I had forgotten about the first pair. I have become rather OCD myself about keeping my closet neat and organized.

  2. Ahhh, you're closet is so amazingly organized! I never finished my closet purge from August and now my closet is pretty much sprawled over 3 rooms... so depressing.

    I'm so in need of a friend to come and help me toss some items. Yet another "to-do" for after June 8th.


  3. yes, I love your personalized objects in the wardrobe mix. Everyone looks so cheery to be there amongst the finest duds.

  4. Such a fabulous closet!!! Xoxo-BLC

  5. Thanks for inspiration! I will get back to work tonight, laptop nearby : )

  6. Lovely post! Lots of color in that closet of yours, always a plus! Now here's to getting mine a little more organized with some motivation. I just wish my jewelry could be as organized as my closet.

  7. I adore an organized closet. It may feel like hell getting there but once you arrive it feels like heaven ... you can see your treasures and (better yet) know what you have so that you actually wear it.

    A thing of beauty indeed. Well done!

  8. Looking to cull some OCD behavior for my own neglected closet...first order of business will be to edit...thanks for the inspiration. I must be on the right track, as we share the same hangers! I adore them!

  9. WOW!

    Can't tell - in pic 1 (your toes and robe included), is there room for another shelf above the one with the sweaters? Wait, if so, I'm sure you would have done it.

    How do you hang your pants? Clip hanger or fold over hanger? If clip hanger, do you clip at the legs (more weight to hang down and keep out wrinkles - my thought) or at the waist??

  10. It's my sister's beach rental so I'm not at liberty to customize anything. And summer pants are all folded and stacked on the top shelf next to sweaters. Shorts, likewise on top of plastic drawer set. I hang dress pants over a hanger...XXOO

  11. Bravo! Your closet makes me happy.

    I did the ruthless edit and had a very successful clothing swap with about 25 of my friends. I now wear everything I own.

  12. so what I needed to see this AM, it's basically 72 and rainy for the next week- when I'm off-duty from John Nashin', I'm going to do a mini closet purge. thanks a mil Alice!



  13. I read this post first time around and enjoyed it just as much this time. You are a wiz! I might be e-mailing you closet photos someday and asking your advice cause you are just too good!

  14. I am alla bout the closet organization! Yours is just wonderful!!!

  15. Love your closet! You have inspired to me to add some personal touches to mine as well as add in your organization skills!

  16. Thanks for the photo of your husband's shirts. Would you be so kind as to give your thoughts on mens clothing every now and then. How do you feel about men wearing pink?


  17. So organized. Do you hire out? Mine needs some help. I love the huggable hangers I have some of those too.

  18. I love this post, just like I heart you, E!

  19. Speaking of Babe's shirts, I should have mentioned that we are quite lucky he lives out of a suitcase and leaves with six of them per week. Otherwise I I'd have to pare down my side even more. And, yes Anonymous, several of them are pink. Love a man in pink...XXOO

  20. Adds an entirely new context to "nice hangers"

  21. Thank you closet magician...and thank you ADG for now making me blush like a virgin, as I too, have the same "nice hangers"! Alice, do you never summer in jeans...I suppose they would be folded, too? Lord...please don't think I'm stalkin' you, but I don't see them in the pic and am just wonderin... thanks again!!xx ~R

  22. ADG, I think Allie's "nice hangers" surely make up for the vertical blind post...eh? Allie, your closet organizational skills are the work of a professional. Of course, we would expect nothing less!

  23. Love your organized digs! When we left NC, an extremely ruthless friend came over to help me "clean out". The lessons have stayed with me. If no wear in 12 months, off they go. Even the stuff I paid lots of $$ or need to lose 5 lbs. to wear. Difficult but worth it!
    AND - we also have the Huggable Hangers, mine are *surprise* pink and green! :-) XOXO

  24. Love the little framed ralph lauren signature over your belts! So cute and a great idea!

  25. Just have to ask if the Caldrea stain remover actually does the job. The sweat pea fragrance sounds lovely.

    Let me get this straight - this is a summer rental and you have it painted? And you hang art?

  26. The first two pics are my sisters beach house rental. The rest were our rental in G'town and yes we did paint and hang art. The Sweet Pea stain remover does smell lovely and works well on delicates. For the tough jobs I use Oxy Clean spray...XXOO

  27. Thanks for clearing that up and the info on the Sweet Pea something.

    You seriously should go into business editing closets and giving them special touches. I love everything that you did here.

    Another question - this is the Summer version of the closet, right? You have an equally fabulous Winter one as well I am assuming.

    Simply fabulous.

  28. Yes, just like the brilliant Thomas Jefferson, I do a seasonal closet...XXOO