order in the closet - une femme d'un certain âge

order in the closet

This is the "after" shot, not showing you the "before"...too embarassing!!

Order from chaos. This is the “after” shot, not showing you the “before”…too embarrassing!!

After traveling, it usually takes me a few days to get my equilibrium back. Because we arrived home on a Monday evening and were scheduled to be back to work on Tuesday, getting settled again took several days. But one thing was preventing me from feeling completely at home: my closet was a mess! So over the weekend I dove in and spent several hours cleaning and re-organizing. I finally culled some shoes that have sat unworn for several years, and re-worked my clothing organization for the first time in a decade.

I’ve been reading articles here and there on wardrobe organizing, and decided to try something new. Whereas before I’d grouped my clothes by type (pants/jackets/shirts/sweaters/tees), this time I set aside the darkest and most inaccessible quadrant of my closet for the items I wear the least. I moved the clothing I wear frequently (still mostly grouped by type) to the most open and brightest racks. With the shoes, I moved the pairs I wear most to eye level. At some point I may try building outfits and hanging together ready to go; that’s Phase II. I figure that I’ll revisit the “dark” corner with each seasonal change, and anything that hasn’t been worn in months will be culled.

It turned out to be quite a project, as I decided to remove everything initially and dust/clean the shelves and spaces. By the time I was done, I felt like this…

"No dear, I have no idea what happened to the cooking sherry..."

“No dear, I have no idea what happened to the cooking sherry…”

and Lo, my Halloween costume was born. Plus now I get happy every time I look at my closet (even without the sherry).

Did you do anything “fun” this weekend??

The clear shoe boxes are from The Container Store. They’re the only ones I’ve been able to find with clear lids. I use the Men’s shoe boxes for my ankle boots. The “scarf condo” on the left hand side of the top picture is actually one of these.

I’ll be linking up with Share-in-Style – Halloween at MIS PAPELICOS, Throwback Thursday at Happiness at Mid-Life.
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  1. Janice Riggs
    October 27, 2014 / 3:28 am

    I love it! The Halloween costume is perfect, and I’m stealing the “scarf condo” idea TODAY. Excellent advice, and good fun too – as always.

  2. Karen
    October 27, 2014 / 4:14 am

    What a great way to start Monday morning!

  3. October 27, 2014 / 5:30 am

    Oh the joy of a freshly re-organized closet! This is something I have to do twice a year…when I “turn” my closet, as my friend calls it. Our house is tiny and so is my closet…so there’s only room for one season of clothes at a time. Still…it forces me to decide what to haul out, and what to leave in storage, and what to get rid of altogether. And doing all this warms my little anal-organization-obsessed heart.
    BTW..love the costume…especially that mop!

  4. October 27, 2014 / 5:35 am

    I also love a newly organized closet….I have tried a couple of different methods…but I might do this next time I have a 3-day weekend…thanks for the inspiration ..and I love your costume!

  5. October 27, 2014 / 5:36 am

    I am so envious of your organising skills, and the wonderfully tidy wardrobe. That was time well spent. If my wardrobe looked like that, I’d be living in it, seriously. Now I have two very messy wardrobes, in two countries… And I live out of a suitcase! Maybe one day… Brilliant Halloween costume, by the way.

  6. KPL
    October 27, 2014 / 5:53 am

    I’ve yet to put away the items I’ve purchased for fall as the weather has been too warm to wear any of them. Maybe if I do my closet the weather will cooperate? Good job and I love your costume!

  7. October 27, 2014 / 5:56 am

    I have been working on organizing my closet for months. It is not an easy task. I have so many beautiful suits that I bought in Germany when I was working. I could not part with them because they are brands like Versace, Max Mara, Escada etc. I’ve been retired now for 11 years. Last year I had each suit jacket altered (no shoulder pads, cinched in waist) and it cost me about $85 each jacket. Still this year I am looking at these clothes wondering when and where I will wear them. So…Sunday I gave them all to my daughter. It was so much fun watching her try on each suit and seeing how stunning she looked in each one of them. It felt good to free up my closet. Yes I believe I will feel joy when I finally have my closet organized like yours. Love you posts.

  8. roseag
    October 27, 2014 / 6:00 am

    Cute costume! I had to empty my closet to get into the attic recently. It’s a good thing to do even if it’s a pain.

  9. October 27, 2014 / 6:14 am

    Words cannot adequately convey the awesomeness of your Halloween costume!
    Last night I started the seasonal closet swap-over of shoes and other cooler weather items. I arrange things much the same way you are, but the closet must’ve shrunk over the Summer because I don’t have enough room for all of my Winter footwear 😉


  10. October 27, 2014 / 6:53 am

    I’m inspired! Your closet looks so organized! And your Halloween costume, brava! brava! Can’t believe you did all that work while recovering from jet lag.

  11. Marguerite
    October 27, 2014 / 7:07 am

    Let’s see, you travel to the other side of the world and back, return to work the next day then over haul your entire closet and come up with a Halloween costume! Femme, you are fierce!

  12. Thea
    October 27, 2014 / 7:08 am

    We are leading parallel lives on different coasts, as I did the same thing this weekend. I cover the “out of season” clothes that live in the dark recesses with a huge flat sheet…keeps the dust at bay, but accessible if needed.

  13. Sally Harvey
    October 27, 2014 / 7:30 am

    Good for you! Closet looks great and I love the costume! Did you read the article in the NYT about decluttering — by Marie Kondo?

  14. Hostess
    October 27, 2014 / 8:11 am

    Oh I have serious closet envy! Ours is in dire need of a major reconstruction and not one I can do alone (I wish)
    Love your Costume!
    We had a busy weekend entertaining and I did some housekeeping on my blog.

  15. October 27, 2014 / 8:15 am

    Oh you’ve cheered me up, Susan. That photo of you is hilarious. I need to do some serious sorting out myself – might have to buy a new apron!

  16. karen
    October 27, 2014 / 8:29 am

    Oh MY! Great minds think alike!!! Did you see my costume??

    • une femme
      October 27, 2014 / 9:10 am

      Hi Karen, saw something on FB. Looked like you guys were doing 80’s characters? I thought you were Madonna! 😀

  17. October 27, 2014 / 8:42 am

    I only wish I looked that good after cleaning out my closet!! We did a total “closet makeover” a few months ago and installed an Elfa system. Absolutely the smartest thing we’ve done in a long time! However, this post is prompting me to cull my wardrobe again – so thank you for the inspiration and motivation!!!

  18. October 27, 2014 / 9:22 am

    oh man, this closet is looking superb! i love the easy access clear boxes. wish mine could be so well organized!

    so currently my shoes are all out in the open. i wonder, is there a particular reason you prefer to keep them in the boxes?

    • une femme
      October 27, 2014 / 9:26 am

      Hi Joanna, I just find that the boxes keep them from getting dusty.

      • Jill Ann
        October 27, 2014 / 12:07 pm

        I keep my shoes in their original boxes, to keep the dust off. But I took photos of each pair, printed them up, and taped the photo on the end of each box. Works for me and it makes the closet look cheery!

  19. October 27, 2014 / 10:51 am

    Bwa-ha-ha! Pissed on the sidewalk, pardonnez-moi, soulard(?) on the sidewalk. Thanks for the laugh, I needed it. Keep mopping northwards, you’ll eventually end up at my house.
    I’m heading for a major, major closet overhaul, but I tend to keep my organizing minimal. Squint and grab often rules the day.

  20. October 27, 2014 / 11:03 am

    Love, love, love your costume!! And I´m envious of your organized closet. Mine is awaiting the seasonal swap, which is when I sort things out — but we’re still in the throes of “veroño” (in English it would be something like “sumtumn”) and I keep needing to wear warm-weather duds!

  21. Ralph
    October 27, 2014 / 11:12 am

    … to the MOON, Alice !!!

    • une femme
      October 27, 2014 / 11:24 am


  22. Jeanne
    October 27, 2014 / 2:40 pm

    Good for you! You give me hope and courage to do the same!

  23. Carol in Philly
    October 27, 2014 / 4:32 pm

    I recently had a personal color analysis done and am in the process of curating my wardrobe. (Sounds better than culling, doesn’t it?) I am definitely stealing your idea for storing scarves – as soon as I have room in my closet for it! Thanks for posting.

  24. Nicole
    October 27, 2014 / 6:10 pm

    Great costume! Is that your entire wardrobe for the season? I know you’ve been working on having fewer, quality pieces, good advice. I’d love a clever way to organize scarves; I do not have room to hang one of the sweater holders. I am also looking for a way to light up the bottom of my closet in order to see what’s down there (behind two sliding doors and not a walk-in). Great job, Susan!

    • une femme
      October 27, 2014 / 7:58 pm

      Hi Nicole, thanks, that’s about 2/3 of it. Because our temperatures will fluctuate quite a bit over the next few months, I also have some blouses and tees that will alternate with some of the sweaters/knits on warmer days. For lighting lower areas of closet, what about something like this battery-powered light, mounted low on the wall? http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-White-Battery-Operated-Closet-Tap-Light-54807/203794674

      • Nicole
        October 27, 2014 / 10:28 pm

        Thank you, Susan. I will check those out. (I am contemplating the clear shoe boxes – on the one hand, I love the colorful array of my shoe boxes; on the other hand, closet uniformity is a fine temptress!)

  25. October 27, 2014 / 8:22 pm

    Ha. You made me laugh. Thank you, I needed that, after an eventful weekend: A freak storm in the Seattle area resulted in a 27-hour power loss! A bit early in the season, methinks. Fortunately, I had time to launch my new website on Saturday afternoon before it all went out. French Girl in Seattle has moved! Please come visit and let me know what you think. You can also update your blogroll, since you are kind enough to feature my blog. New address: http://frenchgirlinseattle.com – Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    • une femme
      October 28, 2014 / 5:32 am

      Hi Veronique, I’ve updated it. Thanks for letting me know, and congratulations again on 4 years of blogging!

  26. October 27, 2014 / 10:00 pm

    Great organization skills and love your Halloween costume! I keep all my shoes in the original shoe box which is like a giant jigsaw puzzle since none of the boxes are uniformed. I need to spend weeks to clean out my closet…it’s a disaster.


    P.S. Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

  27. October 28, 2014 / 2:06 am

    Nora Batty lives!!! Great Hallowe’en costume.

  28. Maria Edy Cesario
    October 28, 2014 / 4:04 am

    Haha, looking like Carmen Miranda with that head gear …But your outfit is pretty gorgeous!

  29. Ellen
    October 28, 2014 / 5:32 am

    Next week I am planning to carry out the full seasonal swap. Its probably a little late for this, as I live in Minnesota, but next week my husband will be gone all week, and I can use the whole bed to lay things out, buy some new closet organizers, and do the full job right, over a couple of days. My prep for this involves putting the summer/fall clothes into a readily available tub as they become no longer suitable for the climate, and are washed for the last time. At the same time, the warmer clothes are sneaking their way into the closet as needed, and right now, all is chaos. I’m looking forward to getting this done!

    • October 28, 2014 / 6:45 am

      I looooove your Halloween costume!!! Brilliant!!!

  30. stylecrone
    October 28, 2014 / 6:40 am

    Love the photos of you and your apron with a bottle in hand. And the headwrap!!! I also use clear shoe boxes from the Container Store. Nothing like an organized closet to improve mood!

  31. October 28, 2014 / 12:32 pm

    Hahahhahahhahaha, you have to do your closet more often so I can see your GORGEOUS legs.You are funny and wonderful and I do hope to meet you one day soon

  32. quelinestewart
    October 28, 2014 / 4:08 pm

    Honestly the BEST outfit I’ve seen in a while, I love it!! Hahahahah 🙂

  33. October 29, 2014 / 11:23 pm

    Well done! You organized your closet and got a Halloween costume, lol. This reminds me I must organize my own wardrobe and my children’s too. Happy Halloween!

    Jasmine ♥
    For a Real Woman Instagram Bloglovin

  34. October 30, 2014 / 10:02 am

    Love the costume 😉 I am cleaning out/culling my closet quite frequently, maybe because it’s a very small space and overstuffed quite easily. Or maybe because in the last year my personal style has seen quite the changes.

    Alex – Funky Jungle

  35. October 31, 2014 / 7:27 am

    Haha. Love your costume! I desperately need to clean and organize my closet. I can easily clean and organize other people’s closets, but mine??? Not so easy. It is definitely a therapeutic experience. Thank you for the inspiration!

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