My Big Dirty Secret: I Was The Not-So-Proud Owner of “Atlanta’s Messiest Closet” (And 10 Tips You Can Use To Clean Your Closet!)

Atlanta Closet Clean Up Tips

Now, you’ve seen it. That was my closet. So messy that it actually won a contest for officially being “Atlanta’s Messiest Closet.” Y’all, this is the ultimate case of “(mom)life happens!” To clear the air, because I know you’re wondering, “how the heck did that happen?”

I moved from New York City to Augusta to be an on-air reporter and never really unpacked. My husband and I began dating, then I commuted from Augusta to Atlanta daily. I moved to Atlanta, but never really unpacked. If you’re noticing a pattern here, it goes back to college, which is a BIG part of the problem. My darling brother was diagnosed with cancer and we moved him into our home so I could care for him. I became pregnant during that time and our sweet baby was high risk. We were blessed with the greatest gift we could ask for—a baby!—who had multiple food allergies and had to exclusively nurse on demand for more than a year.

This all happened as I tried to continue working, with three other children and a husband who traveled enough miles to make Delta Diamond within the first three months of the year.  Whew!

My closeMessy Closett, as my husband put it when he entered me in Uptown Concierge’s “Atlanta’s Messiest Closet” contest, was the physical manifestation of all the chaos that had occurred in my life. It represented the many lives I’d lived. From New York City gala going post-grad to 20/20 producer to on-air reporter/anchor turned soccer mom turned caregiver turned milk machine for our infant. And, to be honest, there was even still a little bit of “one-stoplight South Carolina girl” in there. (Yes, I still had clothes from high school.) God bless my sweet husband for entering me when he knew I was too prideful to do it.

Externally I, mostly, seemed to be holding everything together, this innermost room in our home represented my innermost feelings. I felt like a complete mess. And, worse, it was cyclical. Whenever I went to my closet to get dressed, I instead got completely stressed.

Winning Uptown Concierge’s contest meant I was in for an eight-hour makeover of my closet. I was thankful, thrilled, and absolutely TERRIFIED.  The word “purge” in relation to my clothing made me want to run and hide. After all, I certainly had the perfect place to disappear. Our baby had even gotten lost playing explorers in there a few times!  But, when Kat (the “Uptown Concierge”) arrived—with coffee!—she didn’t seem so scary. It took a full eight hour day. I wish I had a time-lapse video of what happened. Clearly, this was a total transformation. Messy mamas, here is the quick and (not!) dirty scoop on how you can clean up your closet.  It was actually kind of fun. 

Messy Closet

Let’s break things down into two categories: PURGING and PRESENTATION.

PURGING

  1. Memories Belong in Scrapbooks, NOT YOUR CLOSET. Unless it was the dress you were wearing when you met your husband (yes, I still have and treasure that!), your wedding dress, or what you were wearing when you brought your baby home, don’t keep things purely for sentimentality’s sake. 
  2. If You Haven’t Worn it in a Year, Don’t Let it Take Up Your Valuable Real Estate. This tip comes with a caveat. We couldn’t apply this logic to my closet. In the year leading up to the closet cleaning, I’d been pregnant and was still nursing. But, under normal circumstances, this works! How do you know if you’ve worn it in the past year? Keep reading.
  3. If it Doesn’t Fit Your Body, it Doesn’t Fit Your Life. Unless you’re within three pounds of it fitting, toss it. The emotional weight you will take off your shoulders thanks to the newfound space in your closet and the decreased pressure will be worth it. I totally believe you can get back into those three sizes too small jeans. But, pretty mama, you already look great. And, if when you do get back into your old skinnies, wouldn’t you rather be rewarded with a new pair?
  4. Use Guilt for Good. There are other mamas out there who literally cannot afford a coat or a dress for a job interview or a pair of pants that fit. I’m the first to admit that as soon as I figure out what I’m doing with my life professionally and am done with this pregnancy/nursing cycle, I have a lot that still needs to go. Knowing that my mess could make a difference was a great motivator to get things out initially. Whether you donate through the Salvation Army, your church, or a unique local charity like the Foster Care Support Foundation, make your mess matter for another mom!

PRESENTATION

  1. Dry Cleaning is the Devil. The very first thing Kat did was strip every single piece of dry cleaning plastic out of my closet. It was amazing how much space that alone cleared out. The pile of plastic was taller than I and am And, it became easier to navigate my wardrobe.  P.S. The pile of plastic was actually taller. Beat that and I’ll buy your coffee!
  2. Don’t Hang Yourself Out To Dry. The second thing Kat did was toss out all of the wire hangers. Think about it. They snag your clothes, your clothes slip off, and they really hurt when you step on one in a messy closet. Here’s an extra perk, you can actually return them to your regular dry cleaner. They will LOVE you for it, particularly if you’re like me and return several hundred. Kat recommended the nice velvet/felt hangers for dresses and tops and the wooden clamp hangers for skirts. I know these can seem pricey, but places like T.J. Maxx tend to have them at a steep discount. Or, combine those Bed Bath 20% and $5 coupons!Hanging clothing
  3. Flip Out. No, not you, your hangers. You stay calm! If you’ve made this far, mama, you are set. And odds are your closet, unlike mine, won’t take eight full hours. If you want to rid yourself of clothes you haven’t worn in the past year, an easy trick is to flip the hanger facing outward instead of inward. Whenever you wear a piece, turn it back the normal way. If at the end of the year, it’s still facing out…it’s OUT of your closet.How to organize shoes
  4. Show Off Your Shoes. The clear boxes you see my shoes in are simply amazing. Again, another great use for those 20% off Bed Bath coupons that are always in the mail. My shoes now stay clean and cared for and are worn more often. Major mom bonus? This trick is a huge help when getting ready in a hurry. 
  5. Sort By Kind, Then Color.Kat separated my clothing into categories. Dresses, blouses, skirts, and sweaters. Then, within each category, she grouped by color. It makes for an aesthetically pleasing effect, but more importantly, it makes it easy to go quickly…and I know all of us, while long on clothes, are short on time!Organizing clothing
  6. Call Uptown Concierge. Let me be clear, this is NOT a sponsored post. I was simply a very lucky mama who, thanks to a loving husband, won a great Instagram giveaway. But, it changed my life. I’m now less stressed on a daily basis and, at times, arguably look more put together. I was too overwhelmed to do it on my own. So if you’re in the same spot, consider calling Kat or another professional organizer. Odds are your closet won’t take eight hours and, to cut back on time, an organizer can get you started and give you the guidance to do it on your own. Or, comment and let me know what you need…I’d love to help!

Show us your messy–or well organized!–closets and let us know what tips work best for you!

 

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