By Lani Inlander, Owner and Chief Stylist of Real Life Style
Clearing closet clutter is not just about changing hangers and color coding the wardrobe. True, lasting change and real clutter clearing only happen when you ask your client the right questions. Instead of asking “When was the last time you wore that dress?” find out how it makes them feel. Like a frump? Put it in the giveaway pile! Fantastic, but they haven’t worn it lately because they aren’t sure which shoes to wear with it? Keep it!
Tact and trust are your best friends when going through the closet, which is an emotionally charged space for most.
My three most important communication tips for the closet process are:
1. Ask, Don’t Tell- Let them tell you about each item before you throw in your 2 cents.
2. Keep Smiling- Keep the mood happy and light with a good attitude and some good music!
3. Always fault the clothes, not the client- the garment’s cut is at fault when it doesn’t fit well, not the client’s body shape.
Here are my 3 Top Organizational Tools to Tidy up a Closet like a Personal Stylist:
1. Real Simple Slimline Flocked Suit Hangers – $29.99 for 50 from Bed Bath & Beyond
This set of 50 hangers is a steal at only $30. I consider these to be the best hangers on the market because of how much space they save, especially compared to their bulky competitors, the wooden hanger and the plastic tubular hanger. Plus, these actually keep the clothes from falling onto the ground and maintain a garment’s shape. Once your client’s closet is rid of mismatched and dry cleaner hangers and full of flocked hangers, they’ll be amazed at how clearly they can see all of their beautiful clothes.
2. Small Stacking Acrylic Trays – $8.99 each from The Container Store
Out of sight, out of mind! One of the easiest ways to look polished and put together is to add accessories to your outfit. However, when clients use closed jewelry boxes they tend to forget to put jewelry on, especially when running to work in the morning. These trays clearly lay out all of your jewelry for easy access when getting ready. They also come in a variety of sizes and styles, so you can always pick out the trays that best fit your client’s needs.
3. Clear Shoe Boxes – Start at $6.99 from The Container Store
Nothing clutters a closet like a million empty shoeboxes. I advise all of my clients to toss their shoeboxes as soon as they bring their new purchase home. For the easiest and most rewarding shoe storage system, these boxes can be stacked along the bottom or top of the closet, allowing for shoes to be easily seen but stay free of dust and dirt. These also come in different heights for flats and heels.
3 Bonus Tools I Also Love:
1. Double Hang Closet Rod – $9.99 from The Container Store
This hanging bar is perfect for those tiny city apartments with tiny closets to match. These really come in handy for couples who have to share a closet. Hang blouses and tops on the existing bar and trousers on the bottom bar. Voila! Instantly doubled closet space.
2. Commercial Folding Garment Rack – $69 from The Container Store
This rack is a great tool to purchase for your business. Bring these to your closet appointments and save time and energy organizing and moving around the clothes. Plus your clients will think that you are such a professional when they see you walk in with this rack!
3. Baroque Taupe Fabric Storage Boxes – $15.99 from The Container Store
I always stress the importance of switching out seasonal clothing to my clients. There is just no reason for sundresses to be in your closet in December! I like to use these fabric boxes to store shorts and tank tops in the winter and corduroys and coats in the summer. You can easily write on each side of the label outside of the box, and when the seasons change just flip the label!
Lani Inlander has been helping clients look and feel their best for 15 years. Her fashion expertise has been featured in In Style, New York Magazine, The Washington Post and Washingtonian, among other publications. She has also styled segments for television programs including Oprah Winfrey and The View.
Lani is deeply passionate about what she does: empowering clients through fashion and helping them find clothing and accessories that fit their figures, suit their style, and boost their confidence. Over the course of her career, she has styled a wide range of clients from moms to those in entertainment, media and politics. For more check out www.real-life-style.com.