Marvelous Closet Makeover - 405 Magazine

Marvelous Closet Makeover

If a cluttered, overcrowded closet is cramping your style, check out these expert tips for getting your storage back in shape.

On The Universal List Of Cathartic Exercises, A Thorough Closet Makeover Is Hard To Top, But The Busier You Are, The More Elusive That Catharsis Can Be. Since A Challenging Closet Can Derail Your Day Before You Even Leave The House, It’s The Best Place To Start If You Need A Little Zen Before The Morning Rush.

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A few months ago, Slice asked readers to submit photos of their unruly closets and we partnered with organizing professional Valerie Riley, owner of The Riley Group, to create a stress-less closet for one fan. She was Lyra Roberts of Oklahoma City.

Riley approached Roberts’ closet the way she begins each project, with a brief, initial consultation to assess the area and understand how the client envisions using the space every day.

“The first thing I want to know,” Riley says, “is why the client called us. For a closet makeover, I want to know what the client’s ideal closet looks like. For example, maybe it has a section devoted just to clothes for the next week.”

Riley explains, “It’s also helpful to know if the person is what I’d call an ‘innie’ or an ‘outie.’ An ‘innie’ feels good when everything is put away and hidden from view. An ‘outie’ feels good when everything is out and visible.”

The source of Roberts’ closet disarray is a common theme for most of us. “I had a walk-in closet and I wanted to make the most of it,” Roberts recalls. “But I was just too busy to do it all myself. My closet wasn’t a priority.”

Professional organizers from The Riley Group took an inventory of Roberts’ belongings, grouping by color and sleeve length. They also provided storage containers and other solutions for keeping everything accessible, but tucked neatly away. Once finished, they invited Roberts into her new closet for the reveal.

“I found clothes I’d forgotten about!” Roberts told us. “Having everything organized by color showed me that I need to stop buying black shirts – I have a hundred!”

The new arrangement helped Roberts easily inventory what she has, allowing her to identify and donate duplicates in her closet. “The makeover was the kickstart I needed to thin out my closet.”

The Riley Group’s organizers gave Roberts tips for keeping the closet organized and Riley advises all clients to live with the new system for a couple of weeks to make sure it works for their routines.

The verdict for Lyra Roberts? “It’s been a couple of months since they did the makeover,” Roberts says, “and my closet still looks great!”

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Organizing Tips You Should Really Know By Now
(but Valerie Riley will remind you)


If your closet is a mess, you probably want to purge. Do this instead:

► Sort and group, according to color, fabric weight and sleeve length.

► Separate work clothes from casual clothes.

► Evaluate what you have; setting aside duplicates and anything that doesn’t fit.


Now, get over the emotional attachment to how much you spent on something (or how much of a bargain you got) and then you’ll be ready for the big purge.

► Create “keep” and “donate” piles. You might need a “not sure” pile, too.

► Purge any duplicates.

► Purge anything with stains – especially white shirts.

► Purge anything that doesn’t look like a million bucks on you right this minute – do not save for when you lose those last 15 pounds.

► Purge those wretched jeans from 1985 that you still haven’t taken in to have properly hemmed. (That one is for Mr. Hammack.)

► If you didn’t wear something all season, get rid of it. (If you’re hesitant, Riley suggests turning your hangers backwards on the rod until you wear something. At the end of the season, if the hanger is still turned backwards, get rid of that item.)

► Don’t buy anything without being willing to purge something else in exchange. If clothes and shoes spontaneously multiply in your closet, consider purging two items for every one item that you purchase.

► Call a straightforward, honest friend to help you with your “not sure” pile.