What are your thoughts on what should BE in a closet in the first place? Jewelry? Makeup? And how many clothes are too many?
Once again, as I often have to say, the following recommendations are not reflective of my current reality. But this disconnect has made me a closet expert. If there was an elite Closet Case Certification, I would have earned it, with honors. The reason why I know my way around custom closets is because I really mis-designed our closet when we remodeled. I think I had to make a decision in 10 minutes with about 10 cents left in our remodel budget, so when our angel of a contractor asked about what to do with our closet, I panicked and blurted out, with zero thought whatsoever “uh…I guess I’ll run to Ikea now and have the closet components delivered tomorrow to install!” In addition to choosing an ugly, rightfully discontinued laminate color, the Ikea shelves are crazy- deep, and the lighting is horrible. Everything I wear is black or navy, so every stack of neatly folded clothing looks like either a tower of mime costumes, or like Steve Jobs x10 willed me his wardrobe. It’s really quite the disaster, and I’m obsessed with how awful it is. Having re-designed our closet at least eight times on paper to date, I now consider myself a closet design expert. More on that at some later date when I get around to remodeling the closet…
Re: jewelry in the closet
That’s an easy answer- it just depends on how big your closet is. And what is it’s storage (capacity.) I think it’s great to be able to store jewelry in your closet. But you need the right kind of shallow drawers, or at least one amply-sized drawer in which you can put some sort of organizing system, little partitions/bowls/bags. Along with the right kind of drawer scenario, it would be nice to have some countertop area to lay things on, put your everyday jewelry on, and a mirror above to check out how the Bauble of the Day looks with Ensemble and ‘Do of the Day.
Re: makeup in the closet
No. I have never seen a closet that has enough natural light or a good area for doing one’s makeup. I’m sure Robin Leach has seen plenty of cottage-sized closets that could accommodate this part of the grooming process, but it’s rare. (Please appreciate the strong 80s reference.) Keep the makeup in the bathroom, which usually has good light, as well as easy makeup storage, either in the form of counter space or drawer space.
Re: how many clothes are too many
If you can’t move hangers to the left or the right to see what’s on the left or the right, you’ve got too many clothes. Fold some, store some, or rearrange. If you can’t see anything because it’s all jammed in there like a Tokyo subway, then you have too many clothes.
As for what to get rid of to free up some browsing room, it all depends on how you feel. I would follow Marie Kondo’s guidelines for this one, but throw out about 25% of her severe rigorousness. Be tough, but not cruel. Be a Sweater Whisperer and keep what you really like. If you don’t fit into something, but love it so much, and it would feel like you were throwing out your dreams, then, by all means, keep the damn aspirational sausage casings. But stash them out of sight in a bag or box for a while, so their visual existence doesn’t taunt and humiliate you, pushing you to wedge more Brie cheese between you and them. Don’t throw out the things you love dearly too quickly or too ruthlessly- I believe in second chances, not second thoughts.
Aubrey Thorne is an interior designer and astrologer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation. People hire Aubrey to both help them sort out some of life’s bigger questions & have their homes re-designed. Once you meet her, it’s easy to understand why she does both things.