Organize Your Closet for a Cheap New Wardrobe

So, I live in the Midwest and that means the onset of October is practically winter. I have only about two hoodies and sweaters that are anywhere near stylish, and I really want to do a complete fall wardrobe overhaul, but there’s just one tiny problem—I have about enough spare cash to buy a box of mints from the Old Navy checkout aisle, and that’s it.

Not even the Budget Stylista can help me out.

I can’t be the only one in this situation, right? Yeah, I thought not. Luckily, I came up with a solution that has seemed to triple my wardrobe and even saved me that extra money for some emergency Old Navy mints. Ready for it?

I reorganized my closet.

That’s right! I know it sounds like the opposite of groundbreaking, but roll with me here for a minute. It took me almost a whole day, but once I rearranged everything—and got rid of a bunch of old clothes along the way—it was like I had completely new stuff. My method was Color Organization, and it’s about what it sounds like—I took everything in my closet and sorted it by color. (Think Forever 21.) So if I had a purple formal dress and purple cut-off denim shorts, I put them next to each other. Yes, really.

You might think that all this created was a disorganized closet, but you’d be amazed by how many killer outfits I’ve put together since arranging things that way. Not only did I reassess everything I owned (most of which I had completely forgotten about!), but I was able to think of what I owned in a completely new way. I tend think in terms of color and what colors might look good together, so this has been revolutionary for me. It makes getting dressed in the morning soooo much easier (and more fun!); I just look at the colors and grab a few things that look good together. No thought, no fuss, no crawling under my bed to find that box of sweaters I put there last summer.

If you’re a color gal, too, give it a try. And if not, try one of these other organization systems on for size:

By occasion: Separate your closet into three partitions: one for casual clothes, one for work wear, and one for going out. If you can, separate your accessories, shoes, and jewelry in the same way. This seems like a pretty simple way to organize until you hit the items that do double – or even triple-duty – so make sure to create a couple of spaces that have room for overlap. When it’s time to get dressed, just visit the appropriate section and – voila – you’ve got your look right there in front of you.

By texture: I might understand color pretty well, but I tend to be clueless when it comes to texture. I know that Clinton and Stacy say it’s really important, so if you’re more savvy than I am, it might suit you well to organize your closet in this way. Just take a cotton from this corner and a tweed from that side and you’re done. Oh, and having a whole rack of smooth silks lookin’ back at you will come in handy when you need something sexy on the fly.

By item: This is pretty much a no-brainer and is probably the way most of you have your closets organized now. If you go for logic, go for this method. If you need a skirt, it’s sitting there with the rest of the skirts. Same goes for shirts, jeans and undies. Perfect!

Whatever you choose, re-organizing your closet can save you tons of time and completely reinvigorate your wardrobe. No need to go spending all that hard-earned cash; just re-think what you’ve already got and work it in a new way.

Saturday Read: Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger
Saturday Read: Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger
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