As men, organization isn't always our strong suit.
The little nuances of clothing can be to detailed for our taste and our closets usually reflect this. We throw clothes about wherever and don't pay attention to how things should be ordered.
It wasn't until later on in life that I realized actually getting my closet in order made my life a heck of a lot easier. Getting dressed in the morning was no longer a chore. Finding a great outfit was easy.
We don't think about closet organization like this. We think of it as something a man shouldn't waste his time on, when actually, if you put in the work upfront, you'll have an easy to use wardrobe that saves you time and effort. It all boils down to one word: Functionality
Functional closet = A practical wardrobe that helps you get dressed as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
Here's how you can achieve and organize your wardrobe into a functional closet.
1. Throw out anything you haven't worn in a year.
I see you making justifications right now on why you should keep that old sweater you were gifted last Christmas, or an old t-shirt you have sedimental ties to.
Get rid of it. It is dead weight in your closet and you're taking up space that could serve a higher purpose. The purpose of clothing is to be worn. If a shirt isn't getting worn, does it do any good to exist?
Plus the process of getting rid of old stuff is liberating. You feel like you can breathe again. This will give you room to think about your clothing selection when getting ready. You don't have to sift through shirts you know you'll never wear to find the stuff you want.
Here’s a suggestion: When deciding wether or not to toss a particular piece of clothing, think to yourself"If I were shopping right this second, would I buy this thing?"
Bro, if the answer is no then it's gotta go.
2. Roll you socks, belts, and ties and arrange them by color
Don't be the guy who just throws his underwear and socks into a drawer haphazardly after doing laundry. Do you realize how much frustration this will cause you in the morning (I speak from experience)?
Do the work during laundry time so that you have an easier time getting ready and you aren't looking for the missing straggler sock that may or may not exist anymore.
The second part of this is color coordination. You can organize any way you'd like but I prefer to go light to dark. Take your rolled ties and arrange them from lightest to darkest. Preferably out in the open, not in a drawer. This way you can visually see how they will pair with the rest of your outfits.
Belts can be rolled or hung, but same idea here. Light to dark. Socks I really wouldn't go overboard with unless you are more of the perfectionist type. Just make sure they're paired off with the correct partner.
3. Position your pants on bottom and your shirts on top.
This again comes back to functionality. You want to be able to see all your clothing laid out before you so you can visualize what the outfit will look like before you spend time picking stuff out. With the shirts on top and the pants near the bottom, you can look at patterns, colors, and textures as they would look on your body.
The next part of this to organize your pants. You can do this by type or color. When organizing by type, you will generally end up having your work clothing and your casual clothing very much divided if you work in specific industries. If your clothes differ greatly from what you wear to work vs. what you wear outside of work, I would opt to organize your pants by type. If your clothes do not vary greatly between work and home life, go for the color approach.
4. Store your shoes appropriately
I've worked with some guys who hardly have any shoes and I've worked with guys who have enough shoes the rival the Kardashian's closet. Either way, you want to organize them effectively.
Place them into sections. If you don't have a lot of shoes (5-10 pairs), I would organize them from most causal (flip-flops) to most casual (dress shoes), keeping the type you wear most often closest to your reach. Try to keep them off the floor if you can, preferably organized on a shelf. Don't store them in boxes either unless they are extremely valuable. This serves the functional purpose of being able to view your shoes against potential outfit choices. Boom.
5. Use containers for stuff you don't wear often.
Snow boots and wetsuits have no place among your daily attire. If something is seasonal and rarely ever gets used but serves a purpose once or twice a year, you need to pull it out of the circulation and store it in a labeled container.
You can keep this container in the garage or on a high closet shelf. Removing these bulky items will free up tons of space and keep things easy to browse.
6. Utilize sections for your shirts.
There are many ways to organize your shirts but I'm a simple guy and I'll share my method with you. I simply put stuff from most casual to least casual. Suits off to the left corner, button downs next, then long sleeves, Henleys, sweaters, etc., followed by short sleeve stuff and then finishing it off with tank tops and gym wear. That's it.
There really isn't anything hard about organizing your closet. Some people make mass productions of their wardrobe and others just throw things about. Fall somewhere in the middle and you'll be fine.
Keep these tips in mind:
You should only have things in your closet you actually wear. If it hasn't been worn in a year, it's gone.
You should have things arranged so that you can see full outfits at a glance. Try to avoid keeping things in boxes and drawers. Let the eye pick up on colors and patterns that you instinctively know work well together and look good on you.
Keep your shoes off the floor and arranged by type. You can keep dryer sheets in them to combat foot stank.
Keep your clothing in sections around your closet. Use dividers if necessary.
Need a stupid easy way to organize everything? Start with formal on your left and work toward casual on your right.
Organizing your closet should only take about 60-90 minutes. Thats plenty of time to dig deep, clean things out, and think about your clothing.
This process will also gives you a better sense of who you are and your unique style. It's a way of connecting to your clothing and really thinking about the pieces you own and how they enhance you, positively or negatively.
Best of luck gents. If you need help figuring out what to put in your closet now that you’re on your way to clean things out, check out The Online Session. It’s designed to workshop your total appearance from head to toe. In these sessions, I work one-on-one with you to help you finally nail your personal style and grooming. We talk colors, fit, hairstyle, skincare, brands, shopping lists and more. You can learn more here if you’re interested. Test the waters first with the free assessment and gain actionable insight into your image, right now.