In the fantasy, I stroll into my perfectly organized closet to assemble my perfectly coordinated outfit. My clothes are color-coordinated and organized by type. Outfits assemble themselves effortlessly. After a quick glance in my beautifully lit, 3-way mirror, I smile at my oh-so-put-together reflection and skip out the door, humming happily.
Of course, in this same fantasy, I also wake up feeling refreshed, joyfully embrace the day, get ready for work in a flash, and stride confidently to my car — sort of like Shelley Hack in the old Charlie perfume ads.
In real life, I stumble out of bed feeling cranky and disoriented, huddling over a cup of coffee for at least twenty minutes before regaining the powers of speech. By the time I rush out the door, late, juggling too many bags, I’m lucky to make it to the car without activating the panic button and alarming the neighbors.
We all know what a fantasy closet looks like. We’ve all seen those ads for California Closets. (If you want to eat your heart out, click here and then proceed through the photos). We’ve even heard stories of glamorous, famous women who converted extra bedrooms into magical dream closets.
But that’s just so self-indulgent, the frugal among us might say. So excessive. So very one percent (in occupy-my-closet speak). No, no, that is not for me. I will make do with my humble little closet, I think, smugly.
But then when I think about it, I have to wonder. If I critically examine the amount of bedroom space dedicated to my clothes and accessories, can I really claim to be low-maintenance?
Unlike many, I am fortunate enough to have a large, walk-in closet in my bedroom.
I am also lucky enough to share it with somebody. In case you’re keeping score, everything on the left-hand side, plus the top shelf in the back, belongs to Mr. Frump. The right-hand side is mine. (Until very recently, extra sheets were also stored on that back shelf. But then we noticed that the shelf was pulling away from the wall. Sheets are heavy, apparently).
Now, since this is lifestyles of the not-so-rich and less-than-famous, after all, you want to see more, don’t you? Of course you do.
Here is the first row of clothes, along the right-hand wall:
And here is the second row, along the back wall.
Did you notice that I am, at least, somewhat color-coordinated? This is how I maintain the illusion of being organized and together. The fantasy ends here, unfortunately.
Shoes go on the floor — some inside their boxes, some perched on top of the boxes.
On the right you can see some of my scarves and belts, hung on regular hangers. And the closet tour ends with my fabulous — or at least well-edited — bag and hat collection.
(Not represented are those bags currently hanging from assorted chairs or lying on the living room floor).
So that concludes the closet. But of course, this is not enough. Many years back, I inherited a large wooden wardrobe:
One of the doors fell off years ago (you can see it propped against the wall, waiting for “someday”). But this piece is still very, very useful. And that’s a good thing, because it’s made of an absurdly heavy tropical wood and weighs about 10,000 pounds. The movers barely got it into our house, and I don’t think it’s ever leaving.
Casual clothes, exercise wear, pajamas and assorted sweat pants fill the right-hand side, while the drawers are dedicated to socks, hosiery, underwear, and keepsake items that are saved but never worn. And although I don’t really store out of season items, because I rely heavily on layering and wear many of my clothes all year long, the wardrobe is a handy spot for shorts in the winter, sweaters and fleeces in the summer.
Yes, it’s pretty horrifying. But bear in mind: The door on the right-hand side does close. So I don’t have to stare at this pajama-centric carnage every time I walk into the room.
This wardrobe is also the home of my beloved jewelry drawer:
not to be confused with my chaotic-but-it-works jewelry wall:
This is actually located on the side of a shelving unit, next to the never-to-be-moved wardrobe. Not exactly the Piperlime Accessories Wall immortalized on Project Runway, is it? Nevertheless, I did get some gratification from creating it.
In fact, maintaining and updating this entire organizational system — such as it is — is oddly soothing. It’s fun to create order from chaos. I enjoy striving toward the unattainable ideal of perfect closet organization. I mean, picking up the phone and hiring a professional wouldn’t be nearly as fun, would it?
After writing this, I find myself wanting to look into all of my readers’ closets. Is that too creepy? I don’t know how to set up magical link-up posts, so I can’t initiate the “Show us your closets, America!” blog challenge. But if you happen to have closet photos posted to your blog, you could post links in the comments. You may also want to check out a new post by Sally at Already Pretty, about closet alternatives.
What kinds of storage systems do you use? What are your challenges? Do you also yearn for the closet of your dreams?