Amy Tara Koch | Upchuck the clutter
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Upchuck the clutter

FALL FASHION BULIMIA: STREAMLINE YOUR WARDROBE AND INCREASE FUNCTIONALITY

In most creative professions, productivity hinges upon the absence of clutter. Chefs have immaculate kitchens. Architects are vigilant about a pristine workspace. Interior designers are OCD about fabric. Similarly, women require supreme organization to maintain the seamless rhythm of hearth and home. This is especially true on the fashion front.

Women always complain that they have “nothing to wear”. This claim is often made within spitting distance of a closet teeming with shirts, dresses and skirts. The problem? Overwhelming clutter. Clothes are like lovers. Having too many exes in one place is disconcerting. Without a pared down closet, you will always feel overwhelmed and make poor choices.

Now that Labor Day has passed, it’s time to give clutter the boot. Ditch the maxi dresses. Pack up the linen. Stow the white jeans for next summer. Then, take a good hard look at what remains. How often do you wear each piece? Do the tops, dresses and pants reflect your lifestyle? By discarding the garments that aren’t relevant to your current life, you will reduce clutter and focus on what you actually will use this fall. Think about where you like to shop. The sale rack of  Nordstrom Rack or Saks? By streamlining your wardrobe into only pieces that “work,” you will channel the light, airy vibe of an upscale department store at home.

Purging is a bittersweet experience. Outfits are a souvenir of sorts that represent a moment in time: a job, a trip, a party, a splurge to commemorate a completed project. If you still wear some of these more classic pieces, by all means, keep them! That is the definition of a timeless purchase; an item that will have sustained fashion relevance throughout the decades.  But, for the spangled tank dress and the ruffled Victorian blouses top circa 1992, it is time to cut the cord and say goodbye. Like peacocks who meticulously molt for more up-to-the moment plumage, dumping the clothes that no longer fit your lifestyle will deliver a bolder, brighter you.

PURGING 101: A SIX STEP CLOSET CLEANSE

In fashion, purging is a good thing. Not in the Portia de Rossi up-chuck sense of the word. More like fashion bulimia. Trust me, a pared down closet is an efficient closet

STEP ONE:  Spend time considering what you use, what you could use and what is acting as the annoying guest that has overstayed his welcome. Take these pieces out of the closet and drawers and lay them on the bed

STEP TWO: Now, look again. Remove the things that have not been worn in a year. This includes “vintage,” sentimental clothing, etc. These things will go in a storage bin marked “NOT SURE”. If you don’t think about them for months, they should be given away.

STEP THREE: Invest in UNIFORM HANGERS. Mismatched hangers create chaos. When you have the exact same hangers, the difference in clothing lengths disappear and make your clothes the focus.

STEP FOUR: Remove all things that are out of season. As soon as the first whiff of lilac perfumes the air, start phasing out winter clothing . In July, a closet should boast airy dresses, tank tops, skirts, lightweight knits, printed cotton scarves, etc. Fold up the chunky knits and heavy duty cashmere and replace them with airy tops and lightweight dresses. If you keep shoes in your closet, they too should focus upon the season at hand.  Buy airtight plastic tubs to house off season pieces and organize them by type of clothing  (dresses, tank tops, jacket, etc) .

STEP FIVE: Create an area of your attic, basement, garage or storage space as a designated storage area for off season clothing so your closet is neat and manageable. The best part?  Each season, as you swap out your storage bins, you will feel as if you are rediscovering an old friend that has been on sabbatical. Distance also offers perspective. So, when you reunite with your pieces in storage, you can rework your wardrobe in a fresh and on-trend way.

STEP SIX: Invest in organizational tools like shoe racks, tie racks and hooks so that your accessories can be displayed in an organized fashion. Most women live by the “out of sight, out of mind” mantra. That is why one’s closet and dresser must be organized in a way to make accessories accessible. Again, think about department stores. Accessories are merchandised in a way for you to try them on, fall in love and buy them. Take that concept home and apply it to what you already own. Inside the closet door, mount two (men’s)  tie hangers in which to suspend belts and necklaces. On the other door (or wall space within the closet)  mount larger hooks (that would be traditionally be for a bathrobe or towel)  to hang your scarves. Instead of storing jewelry inside a locked box, assemble it like the glistening baubles on floor 1 of Bloomingdale by re-imagining the storage space in one of your dresser drawers or built in cabinets for accessories, not clothes. Fill a shelf with small white ceramic trays in which to showcase bangles, cuffs, earrings and rings. With your accessories front and center, you will begin to think like a fashion editor and layering becomes super simple.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE WARDROBE ORGANIZATION PRODUCTS:

(Clockwise from top right) Liberty heavy duty hooks $3.28 each — Hooks affixed to the inside of the closet are perfect for bags and scarves \ CB2 Bento collection $1.50-$11.95 — Perfect for organizing rings and bracelets on your dresser or inside a dresser drawer \ J&J large necklace bust $18 — Take inspiration from your favorite department store with bust forms for your necklaces\ The Container Store 21 peg tie rack $9.99 — Also, a great solution to display scarves and necklaces