Monday, July 19, 2010

The Campaign for Real Closets

I love the Dove advertising campaign- the beauty products company, not the chocolate maker. The ads show the beauty found in real women of all shapes, sizes, and complexions. We have known that all along, we just need reminding every once in a while. After all, we have been exposed to airbrushed, eighteen year old willowy waifs selling us wrinkle cream.

The bad news is that closet organizing companies are doing too. Before I go further, I have to clarify that I love and lust over those ads of closets with clothes just one inch apart. I think we look at them and think less of our own closets. We look at them and we intuitively see that they are organized, but we can't put our finger on the what it is that make them looked more organized than we are. We use our closets at least twice a day and often emerge feeling contempt for them. Time to expose what it is about those organized closets that makes some of us feel inferior.

All their clothes are two or three colors. We wear a larger range of colors. We can group color families together within categories like all khaki/beige pants together in a section of pants.

All of their hangers match. This is the easiest thing to fix and makes a huge difference. Even removing empty hangers or defaulting them to one end will help.

There are no dry cleaning bags over a few items. If you need dust protection move the item to the edge of the closet and/or use garment bags.

The bins and totes that store accessories, and memorabilia are of the same style/color/size. A repeating a pattern is calming. Most of our bins were purchased one at a time to solve a particular storage need. The end result is that we know our sweaters are in the bin and our ski gear is in the clear tote with the green lid (so we are organized), but the overall effect is not the same.

Their purses all stand at attention; ours flop over. Using a clear bin to stand them up is helpful as are dividers that attach to wooden shelves. Many of the wire shelf companies make dividers that hold our piles of sweaters and purses upright.

Their closet is the size of Rhode Island. Many of us don't have this luxury. We have about four to six feet and have to make the most of what we have using the floor, and door backs for more storage. Some of my clients live in Victorian homes that were originally lined with hooks for the few garments that the average person possessed during the era when the home was built. This results in our clothes being crammed together and not at all like the one inch apart ads. Lots of folks are getting some improvement with the thinner hangers, but many are unsuccessful with hangers that hold multiple slacks. I think it's because they are just to hard to use when replacing the pants or to see what you have when you are dressing.

Just as the Dove ad reminds us to love what we have, to take care of it, and make the most of it, we should do what we can to make the most of the closet and storage we have. Little fixes can help us love our closets so we can emerge from them daily with confidence.