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Edit, Purge and Love What You Have

Cleaning your closet can feel daunting and overwhelming, but for some, extremely exciting. But we can all agree that the end results leave you feeling refreshed, organized and like you’ve got your shit together.

Just like Marie Kondo thinks everything you have should ‘spark joy,’ Caitlin Jaymes thinks everything in your closet should excite you.

A closet refresh seems to be very necessary at least once a year, twice if you can, and Caitlin is here to help us every step of the way. Caitlin is a professional organizer and entrepreneur and when Lauryn found her Bikini Organizing Bags she went to town sorting through her and her kids’ swimwear. It’s something she keeps on reordering.

Since spring cleaning season is almost here, we thought we’d kick off a series with closet organization. But not just that: Caitlin is here to help you edit, purge and LOVE what you have.

Let’s welcome Caitlin to the blog.

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Hi. My name is Caitlin Jaymes, and if you’re reading this, there’s a 90% chance that your closet is overdue for an edit and organizing. I know this can be overwhelming, but don’t worry; I promise these tips will simplify the experience for you.

Before we get started here’s a little bit about me. I’m born and raised in Los Angeles (Calabasas if we’re getting specific) and I started a styling and organizing business that specializes in closet edits. I always call myself an accidental entrepreneur because I started my business unintentionally. I was working a retail job and met a new client who wanted me to look at her current wardrobe before shopping with me. I went to her house, got rid of items that didn’t suit her, made a list of what her wardrobe was missing, photographed and styled looks using her current wardrobe, and then the way I put her clothing back into her closet made her view me as an organizer as well.

She ended up calling me the following month to come touch up and reorganize her closet and style new outfits for her. And 5 years later I’m still going strong – my business has expanded into home organizing, I’ve launched my first closet organizing product – Bikini Organizing Bags, and I’ve gotten to work with a variety of A-List celebrities.  Now, let’s get into your closet cleaning guide.

Closet Organization: Edit, Purge and Love What You Have

Okay – are you ready to jump into it? Put on some good music, light some candles, and get into your robe because YES we have to try on our clothes during a closet edit. You want to start with an edit before you organize because A) you don’t want to waste time organizing what you’re going to get rid of and B) the layout will change based on the amount of what you have in each category.

Before we get into how to decide which items to keep or get rid of I urge you to go on Pinterest and save fashion inspo photos that fit your style. You will use these photos as a visual guide to see what you’re excited to wear and what pieces match with your ideal sense of style. I also wouldn’t dump everything out of your closet at once. Instead focus on one category at a time. This will help you stay focused and honestly, seeing your entire closet dumped onto your bed sounds like an anxiety attack waiting to happen, and that’s coming from someone who does this for a living. 

After doing closet edits for the past 5 years I developed an easy Closet Edit Checklist so you can easily decide what to keep or get rid of in your closet.  Let’s go through my top 5. 

CLOSET EDIT CHECKLIST:

♡ Does this piece make you excited to get dressed?

I don’t know about you, but most of the time my only motivation to leave my house is to put on  a cute outfit. I fell in love with fashion because it was the one thing that continuously made me feel confident and I quickly noticed that putting myself together each day, even if it’s just a matching sweat suit, positively impacted my mood and made me so much more motivated to tackle the day. If you get to a piece in your wardrobe that doesn’t make you excited to get dressed or doesn’t even make your top 10 choices of something you would want to wear out and about, it’s a sign to get rid of it. 

♡ Can you find this piece in your saved fashion inspo photos?

Saving fashion inspiration photos are key to being able to achieve your dream wardrobe. It’s always hard for my clients to verbally describe what their style is and honestly most people have more than one style. These photos will help identify what pieces you need in your wardrobe to create your dream outfits. So if there are pieces you don’t know how to style in your closet, but they’re in your saved inspiration photos that’s a sign for you to keep those pieces. You just need to spend a little extra time getting inspiration on how to style them. 

♡ Does this piece match with your lifestyle?

There will typically be pieces that you come across that you’ve never worn. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. This just means that you probably bought a piece that was cute, but wasn’t practical for your lifestyle. For example, if you’re a homebody but you’re always buying mini dresses and skirts for going out at night, those aren’t smart buys for your lifestyle. Those would be items I would consider selling and using the money to buy pieces that are more practical for your lifestyle aka they’ll be worn so much more. 

♡ Are you holding on to this piece for its sentiment?

If you can’t part with a sentimental item it’s fine to keep it, but I would recommend storing it outside of your closet or in a bin at the top of your closet. Remember, the goal of a closet edit is to clear out the clutter so the pieces left in your closet are what you’re excited to wear. Ideally you should be wearing 100% of your closet. 

♡ Does this piece fit?

I always advise to get rid of pieces in your closet that don’t fit. I find that most women feel so defeated when they have to get rid of pieces in their closet that are too small for them. Be realistic with this step. If you just had a big weight gain or loss and you know your weight will bounce back then you may be okay keeping pieces that don’t fit, but most of the time I think it sets you up for failure. You start each day in your closet, so why start the day being depressed over a size you used to be or focusing on what you can’t fit into. Instead you’re better off opening your closet and knowing you can fit into 100% of your wardrobe and you can choose a stylish outfit that’s going to make you feel great!

THE MAYBE SECTION OF A CLOSET EDIT:

Inevitably you’re going to have a section of maybes at the end of your closet edit. So how do you decide if you should pull the plug or give those pieces one more go? 

+ Can you create at least 2 outfits with that piece? 

If you’re not sure if you’re actually going to wear an item, try styling it! If you can’t create at least two outfits that you’d be excited to wear with that piece, it’s time to get rid of it.

+ Would you be more excited to get money for that piece? 

This is the item on the checklist I use most often when editing my own closet. If I know I’d rather get money for an item in my closet, I list it on Poshmark, or any similar selling platform, at that moment. If you’re someone who may be on a budget when shopping, use the money from the pieces you sell as your shopping budget. This will motivate you to clean out the clutter and you’ll get a new wardrobe without scaring your bank account. 

TIME TO ORGANIZE:

The beauty of organizing is that there really is no right or wrong way to do it. If it works for you and you can maintain it, it’s the right organizing technique. As a professional organizer I strive to make closets functional, but also aesthetic. My goal is to always make each closet look like a boutique. Obviously we’re all working with different size closets, but here are a few organizing techniques that I use for most closets. 

♡ What to hang and what to fold. 

In an ideal world I would hang as much as possible. I view items that are hanging as items that you’re styling. The items you’re folding should be pieces that are more functional: workout clothes, pajamas, and sweat sets. If you’re limited on hanging space you can fold basic tops like t-shirts and long sleeves, but basics like bodysuits I always try to hang. 

♡ Categorize and color code. 

This is the most technical part of organizing, so bear with me.

For every closet I always categorize items: tops, shorts, pants, skirts, dresses, jumpsuits, etc., but when it comes to color coding I do it two different ways. The first option is color coding by category and the second option is color blocking. Let’s use the tops category to describe each color coding option.

Color coding by category is most functional. You would take your tops category and create subcategories within to separate by sleeve length. You would start with sleeveless tops, then tank tops, then short sleeved tops, and then finish off with long sleeve tops. Then within each subcategory of sleeve length you would arrange your tops from light to dark. If you prefer an aesthetic look to your closet I would recommend color blocking. With color blocking you separate your tops by color and then within each color you arrange your tops from sleeveless to long sleeves.

If you’re someone who gets dressed quicker by focusing on colors then try color blocking, but if it’s more helpful to focus on top style then I would color code by category.

♡ How to organize drawers.

To maximize space I try to combine categories in a drawer and use bamboo drawer dividers to keep each category separate. Examples of categories you could combine in the same drawer are workout clothes with loungewear or bras, underwear, and socks. I love drawer dividers because it allows you to stay organized without having to maintain intricate folds. I also prefer the bamboo drawer dividers over plastic because it looks more high-end. 

♡ How to organize handbags.

Creating a handbag display is the easiest way to make your closet look like a boutique. I like to use these acrylic purse stands to keep bags upright and front facing. Have fun with this part! You don’t have to arrange your bags in specific categories, I honestly just try to merchandise them as if I was setting up a purse display in a retail store. 

♡ How to maximize shoe storage. 

Shoes can be a tricky area to organize because most of us run out of shoe space quickly. I use shoe space savers in almost every closet that I organize and I often see them in most of the celebrity closets that I work in. These will allow you to fit double the amount of shoes on a shelf that you ordinarily would be able to. 

♡ How to organize jewelry. 

I love to upgrade my clients from a jewelry tree to felt jewelry trays. Not only do jewelry trees end up tangled and messy, but it’s also hard to get pieces off of the tree. A felt jewelry tray looks so much more high-end and it’s way more functional.

♡ How to organize swimwear. 

Being an organizer in LA means I organize a ton of messy bikini drawers and honestly my clients couldn’t maintain a perfect fold to keep their bikini sets together. I realized I needed a new technique that was easy to maintain and still looked aesthetically pleasing, so I launched my first closet organizing product – Bikini Organizing Bags.

Bikini Organizing Bags are made from an eco-friendly clear material so you can separate and store your swimwear sets in individual bags. No folds, you can just throw your swimsuit in a bag and zip it up. These bags also double as a travel packing tool to transport wet swimsuits in your suitcase. It literally makes anyone a professional organizer. My guy friends even use them for their swim trunks. 

I know editing and organizing your closet is a big undertaking, but think of it as a form of self care. You start every day in your closet, so why not make it stress-free?! If I didn’t hit all of your closet editing or organizing questions shoot me a DM on Instagram or TikTok. I also have a Closet Editing & Organizing Masterclass available on my website – CaitlinJaymes.com. Stay tuned for my next blog posts and happy spring cleaning! 

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We hope you loved this post and that it will get you excited for a little spring cleaning. Whether you get started now or save this post for later, we think these are the BEST tips out there to spruce up your closet. Be sure to order your bikini bags so they’re ready to go when the cleaning bug hits.

x, The Skinny Confidential team

+ Check out Lauryn’s pantry organization here.

++ Why you need dehumidifier bags for all your closets.

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