How to Organize a Closet as a Maximalist

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Minimalism is a mindset, a real philosophy, one that I haven’t embraced in my life. Although I’m not a minimalist, I try to keep everything simple and uncomplicated. Perhaps, it’s my line of work that has me geared up for finding solutions to real problems and editing everything as I go. Hence, I find myself constantly trying to improve my life quality, especially in terms of organization, that ultimately increase efficiency and productivity. Clearly, that includes closet organization too – but as a maximalist though!

Close view of clothes hanging. Image by Velvet.

Chances are that some of you may have heard of Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing consultant (or her Konmari method). Her popularity has reached almost sky high, because her approach to closet organization has a universal appeal. At the end of day, a well organized space can keep our stress levels and frustration reduced. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to give her method a go.

Personally, I de-clutter my closet quite often. But over the years, plenty of buys have piled on; curated buys that is, that I’m not willing to give away. I still enjoy wearing them. As such, I came up with my very own closet organization method that has worked for me really well for over a decade.

Still, I was tempted to try out Marie Kondo’s method of folding T-shirts and other wear. I thought to myself: ‘Hey, what do I have to lose?’ Unfortunately, the outcome was somewhat disappointing, because it turned out that many of knits, tees etc. were left out. As such, my conclusion was that Marie Kondo’s method works great if you are a minimalist. But if you’re a maximalist then, it is a huge challenge and honestly, I’m not ready to totally and completely embrace minimalism.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t own 50 pairs of high heel shoes, 10 black silk shirts among another 30 white ones and at least 20 blazers for any time of the day, night, season or occasion. Admittedly, my shopping mantra for impulse shopping has saved me from going bankrupt. I do believe though, that I managed to own a well curated wardrobe, that I put together on a budget, but more importantly one that reflects my style and works for me. Thus, giving up some of those possessions didn’t sit with me well.

Thus, I went back to my old ways of storing, placing and hanging my clothing, where I keep the most frequently worn items in my bedroom (in one small closet and a dresser). As for my shoes and outerwear, I keep those with all the other family members, in a space under a staircase. We gave that space a small makeover to include a tiny closet for our outwear and open shelves for our shoes.

Velvet comparing the different size of two folded tees while organizing a closet as a maximalist.
The author comparing two T-shirts folded with the Marie Kondo way and mine. The T-shirt on the right is folded like Kondo’s method, the T-shirt on the right is folded after my method.
An IKEA scarf hanger used for hanging faux jewelery.
This is an IKEA scarf-hanger that I hacked and use for keeping my faux jewelry organized. It’s also one of the tips mentioned in the video.

So when I saw the other day a trailer of a Netflix series of people asking for Marie Kondo’s insight on de-cluttering and tidying their homes, it just hit me that I should share my best tips when it comes to closet organization as a maximalist. I’m pretty sure that some of you like myself, will not be able to “comply” with the Konmari method, so in this video (that I tried to keep as short as possible) I wish to inspire you to figure out a better organizing method for your very own closet, based on what I have done with my own.

Because I, like so many of you, don’t live the life of a minimalist…

In the video, I present the three principles behind every decision I make before I place something old or new in my closet: type, wear frequency and color. I also present my way of folding tees and knitwear, which is similar to Marie Kondo’s way, but simpler and more efficient in quantitative terms. I also share pointers about hanging things.

Snapshot from the video 'How to Organize Your Closet as a Maximalist' that describes the four basic categories of clothing.
This snapshot from the video clearly shows the four categories that clothing falls under. This is the starting point.

Now, for those of you who don’t have a different space to store your shoes other than your bedroom closet, then my advice to you is to utilize any available space left under your hanging section. Personally, I store my shoes that I wear less frequently in their shoes boxes (and that preserves for longer in better shape). Stacking those boxes at the bottom, allows me to place shoes that I wear more often up on the top shelves.

I know many of you will argue that that is not a pretty sight. And you’re right but, it works for me because it’s not in open view for everyone to see. Obviously, there are many fancier ways to go about this, especially if you have the budget for it, with a custom-made pull-out shelves for instance, but the bottom line is that it works and eventually, the aesthetics can improve over time with the appropriate adjustments.

Piles of stacked shoe boxes and three pairs of shoes on top. Image by Velvet.

TIP: Place the shoes you wear most often on top. As for the ones you wear less frequently, place them in shoes boxes to preserve their shape and stack them up on piles for handling best.

Clearly, the point I want to make is that, if particular ways of organizing your clothing (or stuff in general) hasn’t worked for you, then it’s time to think out of the box and try new ways. Closet organization is all about making the best use of your available space, therefore make sure to try things in another direction.

Pin graphic with an image of clothes hanging.

One thing is for sure: if you try, then you are bound to get there!


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