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To Close the Door on Closets

We've been musing on chapter three of our book, "Diagnosing the Common Closet," and wanted to relate a few more organizing principles. So, let's establish some closet protocols.

Determine how you want to organize your wardrobe. I believe that organizing by type of item works best — coats and jackets or outerwear, dresses, skirts, etc. — but I leave that entirely up to you. I have never been able to figure out how my mother organizes her closet, nor has she been able to explain it to me. It seems that it's organized by "what I wore last," which means that the item closest to the door is the last, so you can observe the backwards chronology and say to her, "Oh, you played bridge last Thursday?" by evidence of the sweater with the Queen of Hearts embroidery.

Therefore, you must first take inventory. Go through every item in your wardrobe and write it down in a specific category. Believe me, I thought that I could have a successful inventory by simply pulling items and putting them together — white shirts, black pants — but when you review this information in writing, you will be much more aware of what to cull and why. In addition, you should note items that you have never or rarely worn (exceptions being coronation gowns and tiaras). Invariably, you will also find things that you thought you owned but couldn't locate. Oh, so that's where that sweater was hiding!

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Tim Gunn and Kate Moloney is the author of A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style

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