Curate Your Wardrobe, Love Your Closet

Curate Your Wardrobe, Love Your Closet

Want to have a closet that you love no matter what the size? Great design is important. But having clothes and accessories that you enjoy wearing is key. Let’s face it, a closet full of things you no longer wear or remember doesn’t serve you. A great closet should have what you love–stored just the way you want it.

At Columbus Closets, we can build a closet that can hold anything and everything. But what we really hope is that you have a functional space that displays your things so that you can plan well or dress well on the fly.

There is a lot of great advice for capsule wardrobes or for creating a wardrobe by numbers (picking a number of items and sticking to it). But we find this to be unnecessarily rigid. Professionals often ask, “when is the last time that you wore that?” But really we think this is the wrong question. The real question is “when do plan on wearing it again?” The key term is “planning.” Not sure how to answer that question? Here is our full proof advice.

The first step is to pull out all of your clothes. I recommend grouping like things together first. Go through each pile asking these three questions:

  • Does it fit well?
  • Is it in good condition?
  • Is it the look that you currently like?

Discard anything that doesn’t make the cut.The result is a LIKE pile that will get you ready for the real LOVE test: a wardrobe plan. Planning involves making outfits with the remaining items. As a general rule, you want your items to coordinate with at least 2 other pieces. Do you see items that just don’t pair well or make an outfit you want? Put these in a donate pile (or resale). Now layer in your accessories, shoes and handbags as well to complete the look.

Don’t have faith to part with your things so soon? We recommend putting mismatched items in a box and out of sight. After a couple months, if you still aren’t missing them, you know it is okay to let them go.

You’ve achieved 2 important things during this exercise: becoming fully aware of what you own, and having nothing that you don’t. There is no better organizational freedom than that.

Here are a couple more pieces of wardrobe advice.
-The app Closet is a virtual assistant for your wardrobe. You can take pictures of your things and plan on the go. This is especially helpful when shopping so you won’t bring home items that don’t belong in your planned space! http://closetapp.com/
-For maximum versatility, stylists recommend 3 tops for each type of bottom (i.e., denim, khaki, linen, etc). So shop for bottoms as foundational pieces and let your tops, jackets etc be the gateway for accessorizing.

Here are some great looking closets to inspire you: http://www.columbusclosets.com/index.php/custom-closets/ Happy closeteering!!

Down AND Out! Plans for a Smooth Downsizing

Downsizing often requires more than purging and offloading to the local donation center. When preparing for a move to a smaller living space, downsizing usually involves an inventory plan and scheduled services–both free and fee-based. There are a number of resources and disposal techniques that need to be considered. And luckily, Central Ohio has a wealth of resources to help.

It all starts with determining the inventory to be removed. I find that it is best to start with removing furniture. This is because you may wish to sell as well as donate. Selling can take longer than donating, so it is great to clarify the inventory you need to offload as soon as possible.

Are you interested in selling furniture? There are great consignment and resale options in Columbus and its suburbs. The key is to find one that caters toward the type of furniture you have. Do you have antiques or vintage items? Is your furniture more contemporary? Columbus has a number of places that serve these genres. It will be important to note how to get the furniture to the venue as well as merchant policies for items that don’t sell.

If you have a large amount of furnishings to sell, you may want to consider an auction house. Both online and brick and mortar options exist locally. Some have minimums to be met, and some will sell just about anything. Most take a percentage from the proceeds of the sale. Or if you are feeling more DIY, you can use Facebook or local community sale sites to advertise and negotiate your wares. Items that do particularly well with DIY include dressers, kitchen tables, electronics and tools.

Donating furniture is a great option as well. The Dublin Furniture Banc and Salvation Army will pick up furniture for free. Goodwill will schedule pick ups for a fee. There are some special considerations when donating furniture. Most donation centers will not take the following: tube televisions, cribs, and desks. In addition, mattresses and upholstered furniture are heavily scrutinized and frequently left behind if not in excellent condition.

Once you’ve dealt with the big stuff, these items will need special handling or consideration:

  1. Paint and hazardous chemicals–locally SWACO will accept hazardous chemicals at their drop off location. Paint can be put in the normal garbage once it is hardened.
  2. Wood and building materials–The ReStore and Habitat for Humanity may be interested in these
  3. Paper that needs shredded–There are a number of retail sources for paper shredding
  4. Pianos, Pool tables, large exercise machines–We have had good luck reselling pianos and pool tables to stores that offer these products used. Very few charities will take large exercise equipment, but you can almost always can find a friend willing to take it off your hands.

For items that are difficult to rid of, there is always a hauler option. Haulers can both donate and discard items, and will remove most anything with the exception of chemicals. We almost always schedule a hauler just before the packing begins.

The remaining clothes and household items have the same type of options as the above–if not more. But don’t underestimate the time required to review and remove. Your local National Kidney Services and Volunteers of America are excellent resources for these type of objects, and will come to the home if you are not able to make the drop offs. Here is a site for finding and scheduling the right donation resource for you: http://donationtown.org/

Home Staging Essentials

If you are thinking about home staging, then you might be wondering what makes a successful staging. Many people believe that sprucing up is key. But in truth, professional staging is really quite different. The goal IS to make your home look good, but not necessarily your things. We want the client to see the space and the light and the flow of the home rather than your tastes and choices in decorating.

Rest assured, this is not an assault on your personal style. Rather, it is an exercise in getting your potential buyer to focus on the positives of your home. A good home staging will transcend your décor choices and will create a blank canvas for potential homebuyers to enjoy.

A potential client is most likely to buy your home when they can envision their things in your space. If buyers are spending too much time admiring–or NOT admiring–your décor, then they are being distracted from your home’s potential. A good home staging will showcase the light, the storage potential and the floor design of your home. This is how:

Studies show that the number one staging exercise is decluttering. This means NOTHING on the floor, including small scale furniture like book shelves or crates that hold toys, etc. Also, removing extraneous items from shelves, mantles, cabinets and closets will improve how these spaces are seen.

We remove ALL small tchotchski type decorative items. Small items communicate “small” space. And many small items together look like clutter piles.

Closets are a main feature of a home, and they are our specialty, so we spend a lot of time here. We make sure that there is nothing on the floor, we thin out the seasonal clothing to show more space, and we make sure that shelving is only lightly populated. In addition,  we sort all contents to ensure only appropriate items are in each closet. For example, if tennis racquets are being stored in your coat closet, this might signal that there is not enough storage for sporting equipment in your home. We also look for affordable ways to improve lighting in your closets.

Flow of your home is important. We make sure that furniture is size appropriate for the room–removing any oversized pieces that don’t quite fit. We arrange the furniture to highlight features in the room such as fireplaces or bay windows. In addition, furniture should NOT interfere with walking paths or with the visual path to the windows–this is especially true for chairs or ocassional tables.

As for wall art–most will come down. Again, any “small” wall hangings will be removed as small items make big walls look awkward. We seek to use only a few appropriately-sized pieces that highlight features in a room. And we bring down all kids’ art and items from refrigerator panels.

Fresh paint and flooring is a standard staging request. But also, washing all lighting fixtures and upgrading lightbulbs is important. Make sure windows are sparkling. Bathrooms and kitchens will need to be spotless and as scent free as possible.

You will find that these staging essentials will reap the best results. And if you find that you are struggling to remove your personal signature and creature comforts from the home, that’s when you know  it is time to call a professional!