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5 Steps to a COVID Closet Makeover

This week I have 5 steps you can follow to give yourself a COVID Closet Makeover. The blog will help you get your closet in working order for the strange times in which we are living. I’ll address the most important questions to ask yourself before starting your COVID Closet Makeover. What to edit? How to organize your closet? What to do with the items that don’t belong in your working closet? Lastly, I’ll leave you with the surefire method to utilize your existing wardrobe.

Don’t have time to give yourself a closet makeover? Think about how much time you spend wading through the clothes in your closet that you aren’t wearing, and think about the wastefulness of not wearing the clothes currently in your closet. Of course, there is also the feel good factor, which is what I’m here to help you with most!

I promise it will be worth it!

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Step 1

Define Your Work From Home Style Type

You must define your Work From Home style type in order to complete the rest of the COVID Closet Makeover steps. For some examples of Work From Home style types, see the blog, 5 Work From Home Style Types. If you don’t know what you should be wearing, you won’t know what needs to be in your working closet (the main closet you go to every morning to get dressed).

We all wanted to be wrapped in a cocoon at the beginning of quarantine. Seven months in however, I think most everyone not going into the office should either be dressing in the Comfy Chic or Video Conference Boss style types on most days. The Saturday Morning Sweats style type should go back to Saturday morning. Why?

A Zoom ready client at the Betsy Fisher boutique. Although this suit was purchased specifically for Zoom interviews, the stretchy tech fabric is comfortable enough to be worn as work from home separates.

According to a recent survey, roughly 80% of business professional, business casual, and smart casual dressers feel more productive throughout the day, compared to just 70% of those in gym clothes and 50% of those in pajamas. As someone who has dressed people professionally for 20 years, I can tell you that getting dressed in a real outfit every day is a major mood and confidence booster. If you don’t need a mood booster in October 2020, you are among the few. We may have a year left of this alternate reality. We need to be using all the tools.

Step 2

The COVID Closet Edit

Now that you know what you will be wearing every day, you will be more focused during the editing process. What should you edit from your closet? Anything that is worn, out of date, doesn’t fit well, is the wrong color, never worked, or was always too much trouble. For a more detailed description of the closet editing and organization process, see the blog, 5 Simple Steps to Spring Closet Cleaning.

Elfa Classic is the system I use in my own closet and recommend to clients.

What should you keep but move out of your main working closet? Transfer things that don’t fit because you have gained the quarantine 15, as long as you absolutely love them and they are in terrific shape. You should also keep but move pieces you love and know will fit into your post-quarantine lifestyle. Examples are cocktail and black tie attire, overly structured jackets and suits, and fanciful clothes and shoes you currently have no occasion to wear.

Step 3

A Different Kind of Closet Organization

In normal times I would tell you to organize the clothes in your closet by category, color, and sleeve length. The current situation requires us to be more creative. Do you have a small closet? If so, keeping only what you wear most in that closet is probably your normal practice. Fold out of season or “after the pandemic” clothes in clearly labeled bins or hang them in a guest room closet.

A larger closet calls for a different approach. Instead of the normal categories, pull out the specific wardrobe items you wear most and put them all in one section. Or create one section for weekend and one for weekday. Then organize the items by category, color, and sleeve length. Or don’t! Hang your clothes in complete outfits and rotate through them if that is easiest for you.

Black Premium Non-Slip Velvet Suit Hangers Case of 40, Sale $23.77

Now is not the time to skimp on your closet tools. Most people need 2 or 3 cases of the Black Premium Non-Slip Velvet Suit Hangers from The Container Store to switch over their entire wardrobe. I recommend these hangers because of their slim profile and their kindness to your clothes. Have a giant walk-in closet? Feel free to go nuts with thicker hangers. Most importantly, make sure your hangers are uniform. This strategy will help you see the clothes–not the hangers–and give your closet a more organized look.

The difference in how your closet will look and feel is astounding. Trust me. My favorite hangers are currently on sale for the lowest price I’ve ever seen. Decide to keep an item as you edit your closet? Put it on a pretty new hanger!

Step 4

What To Do With The Leftover Clothes

You have four options for the clothes you edit from your working closet. You can sell, donate, recycle, or store them. Only store what you truly love and are confident you will wear again. Label any bins very clearly with the date, the season of the clothes, and why you are storing them. For example: October 2020, Fall, Too Small. If you have the room to move these clothes into another area of your working closet, you might want to label and use these closet rod organizers as we do with our clients. Hanging is always better than folding if you have the space.

Farmhouse Under the Bed Box from The Container Store, $19.99

Please calculate how much you need to store and have a plan for where you will store your clothes before you go to the The Container Store! Under the bed storage (above) requires a different container than hanging storage.

Natural Cotton Hanging Storage Bags Sale  $15.99/ea. – $22.39/ea

Putting hanging items in more long term storage or an attic? Does your walk-in closet get dusty? Use Natural Cotton Hanging Storage Bags to keep your clothes in the best condition. Purchasing storage containers for off-season and not often worn clothes helps with the editing process. The more you keep, the more containers you have to buy. Is that 5 year-old blouse you don’t really love worth buying another container?

Have items to donate? Green Drop converts lightly used clothing and household items into critical funds for great American charities. Best of all, they pick up!

Have items to recycle? Many retailers are starting their own recycling programs. We find H&M has the easiest recycling program of all. Take any unwanted clothes or textiles—any brand and in any condition—to an H&M store. Drop your bag in the garment collecting box near the register and receive a 15% off coupon to use toward your next purchase.

Want to sell your items? Try listing them on Poshmark or The Real Real for designer items.

Step 5

Wear Your Clothes

Yes, I’m serious! Now that you’ve gone through the whole COVID closet makeover process, don’t go back to wearing the same pair of exercise pants three days a week. Embrace the Work From Home style type you identified in Step 1 by putting together outfits that make you feel good for most days you are working. Pretend you are in grade school and pick out your clothes the night before. This allows you to be intentional, which can be hard in the morning when you are preoccupied with how you are going to manage a conference call while your kid is on break from virtual school.

One of my favorite Comfy Chic Work From Home outfits this past spring!

Sometimes picking out your clothes for the entire week on Sunday night is less time consuming because you can look at your entire closet (and the weather) at once. Clear a small area on a hanging bar for what we personal stylists call a “staging area”, to line up your outfits for the week.

Get dressed intentionally for a week and let me know how you feel! What is your Work From Home Style Type? Let me know in the comments!

Need more accountability to complete your COVID closet makeover? Sign up for our e-course! Need extra hand-holding? Book a virtual styling session!

Real Life Style is a style consulting firm that teaches busy women to wear their power so they can live their lives fully and confidently. Lani Inlander and Kyle Dunphy are based in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and serve clients nationwide. We offer personal styling services, an on-demand e-course, corporate services, and training to become a personal stylist.

Once in a while, you can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Mostly, they are happily busy serving their fabulous clients, not hanging out online!

(1) Comment

  1. Thanks for reading my mind, as always! This is EXACTLY what I needed this week. I’m going to swap out my closet for winter/quarantine-15 and plan out my outfits for the week. I just started teaching in person this week so I know doing this on Sunday will save me!

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