A few months ago (!!!), my good friend Claire Gould, aka GetClairefied, came over to teach us how to organize a small closet. Thanks to the rush of the holidays, I didn’t get a chance to edit the photos and video until now… and I am so excited for you to see this! In case you missed my post about the closet from a few years ago, my house didn’t have a SINGLE closet in it when I bought it. While renovating the bedroom, we used the Elfa system from The Container Store (which is 30% off currently!) to turn an entire wall into a closet for Sean and I to share. We’ve lived with the closest for about 3 years now and it’s been amazing. Ever on the quest to live with less, Sean and I worked with Claire to pull everything out, prioritize, and re-assess our storage habits! Here’s what happened:
Check Out Our Closet Tour + Learn How to Organize a Small Closet with GetClairefied!
If you can, I highly recommend watching the video first before digging into this post… there’s just SO many brilliant tips in it, that I don’t feel like I can ever capture it completely in a post. Plus, you get to really see my personality and how ridiculous I am in real life… let’s dig into Claire’s tips for how to organize a small closet!
Tip #1: Remove everything from your closet & spread it out, making sure to group like with like.
Claire’s Take: I love the approach of taking everything out of a closet / cabinet / drawer (whatever you happen to be editing) for a few reasons, but the main ones are
- It allows you to see everything you have (there may even be a few duplicate items in there)
- It gives you a FRESH perspective on the storage space / an opportunity to use it in a different way
Yes, this step can feel overwhelming at first, but post-organizing session every client has come to feel that’s it’s a valuable & necessary way to edit items.
Joanna’s Take: At first, taking everyyyything out of our closet felt incredibly daunting. First of all, where would it all go?? And second, the mountain of stuff felt so obscenely overwhelming. Now that I’m on the other side of it, I can tell you that this step is totally vital. It’s also important to gather similar items, like t-shirts. Claire helped me to see that some tees were repeats and some could do the job of two shirts!
Tip #2: Start with items that are easiest for you to part with, then build from there.
Claire’s Take: I love starting with “easier” to tackle items because it feels like dessert for the mind. It’s less daunting & allows you to start building momentum with this process; especially because you probably had an idea of which items you were ready to part with (like Joanna & her t-shirt pile), so it’s easier to dive on in.
Joanna’s Take: Ok, speaking of daunting… once you’ve removed everything from the closet, it’s time to actually START. Claire recommends beginning your organization and editing journey by starting with a category that’s easiest to potentially part with. For me, that was t-shirts. I already knew I had too many, so it felt like I was already mentally prepared to pare down the collection. From there, build in intensity. And, I swear… it’s like a high! Once I felt the power of releasing things I didn’t need, I felt so ready to edit the more difficult things, like shoes.
Tip #3: Brainstorm ways to get multiple uses out of a single item.
Claire’s Take: I don’t take this “multipurpose approach” with all of my clients, but I LOVE it for those that want to pair down their items/live with less. Personally, I love using my creativity to come up with more than one use (or in this case, outfit) and I knew Joanna would love that, too.
Joanna’s Take: This actually felt like a natural part of the organization process — especially because I truly want to live with less. For example, I donated about half of my t-shirts because I simply do not need that many! Same with jeans… I edited down my stack by removing pairs that felt like duplicates. Especially duplicates that weren’t as good as the ones I consistently reach for!
Tip #4: Set goals & keep them top of mind as you continue organizing & purging.
Claire’s Take: I was a personal trainer for a decade and I found that goal setting with clients was an amazing way to keep their “why’s” top of mind during a session. Thinking about your goal(s) during an organizing session is clutch because it allows you to see your space through a new lens — a future image of the dream space you’re creating — which can allow you to make decisions more confidently when it comes to “keep, sell, donate, toss/recycle.”
Joanna’s Take: This was a BIG one for me!!!! Basically, at the start of this project, Claire and I talked about wanting to ‘grow up’ my clothing and wardrobe options. To me, that meant parting with anything not especially chic… like my size large men’s sweatpants. They just weren’t cute! Cozy and comfortable, absolutely… but not chic at all. In an effort to ‘adult more,’ it felt like it was time to part with my ratty sweats and upgrade to something nicer. Since this project, I bought 2 new pairs of lounge pants that are way cuter and more flattering (but still comfortable!).
Final thoughts from Claire: I love this work to my core. What we surround ourselves with really does impact our physical/mental health. I love that my clients are able to LIVE in their spaces with more ease, joy, less stress after we work together. Working with dear friends like Joanna & Sean is an honor and a privilege I don’t take lightly. It means the WORLD when friends reach out to work together & I love that we can have a laugh (or many) while we edit/organize. Thanks for having me McBrawleys – loves you
Final thoughts from Joanna: Like I said in the video, having the closet be so beautifully laid out and organized has really inspired me to get dressed more often… and even to change up some of what I wear! Sean and I are both so happy we worked with Claire on this. Now that we’ve lived with this newly organized closet for a few months, I can confidently say it’s been really easy to maintain. Claire basically set us up for success with all of her tips. So now, when it’s laundry day, I know exactly how to fold my underwear so they fit perfectly in the drawer (get that tutorial in the video!). It’s been so great and we LOVE Claire!
And most importantly… our neat and organized closet is Lucy-approved!
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BTW, the Elfa system that we used from The Container Store is currently 30% off through the end of February! I always stock up on pieces from this system to customize our closet more and more… and it’s the best discount I’ve seen on it. Just an FYI ;)
So what do you think of the video and these tips?? Let me know if you’d like to see even more organization tips like this in the future! And many, many thanks to Claire Gould, aka GetClairefied, for working with us on this project. If you’re local to Seattle, definitely look into working with her — she makes magic happen!