Do I have to empty the WHOLE closet to start organizing? It seems so daunting and will take too much time.
Yes! I never recommend skipping this step. By pulling all of the items and grouping into piles, you can see exactly how much of one category you own. Purging what no longer serves you is by far the most important step in organizing.
Sometimes it takes seeing that you own a lot of a category for you to realize it's time to let some go and I find it makes the decision process between keep and donate a lot easier if you can see what you love and don't love in the same spot.
Do you have a strategy for closet organization, specifically clothes closets?
Really, it depends on the space and other factors. Let's say the individual travels a lot, we'll keep summer out year-round, otherwise we'll pull it to make space for the current season. Matching hangers are a must. I prefer hanging by color within a type of clothing whenever possible, much more pleasing to the eye and easy to find what you're looking for. Sometimes we fold jeans/sometimes we hang. Again, depends on the space. The only rule I'm pretty firm about is not hanging sweaters, they tend to lose their shape over time. A fold/hang or just folding is much preferred.
What are a few things everyone has but no one needs in their closet?
Almost every closet we organize has outgrown clothes or clothes too tattered to be worn. We recommend purging those to make space for what is being used now! We often relocate memorabilia, pet ashes (yup, you read that right) and other boxes of stored items to a place where they can be displayed or used. If you're tucking something to the back of your closet, ask yourself why you are even keeping it.
Do you have any space saving tips for a smaller closet?
Yes! A rod extender, hanging from the existing clothing rod will double your space and use wasted vertical. Slimline velvet hangers will almost double your space and provide a uniform look. If possible, use the back of your door to store shoes, handbags and other accessories (Elfa by The Container Store won't let you down). Don't be afraid to adjust any existing shelving or add more. Placing shoes heal to toe will gain you space and adjustable shoe stackers will double your shoe capacity.
What shouldn't we throw away or donate?
Some sentimental items are worth hanging onto. One of my rules, if you are going to keep it, you should use it or display it. Wedding dresses, baby clothing, military uniforms and other sentimental garments can easily be scaled down by creating a memory bear or quilt. Take that whole tote of memorabilia and condense it to a much smaller item that will be used on a regular basis and bring you joy every time you look at it.
Be sure to follow Azure on IG @livecomposed!
Here's her finished memory quilt and memory bear: