A chandelier in the closet? Yes, that's a thing. We combed through our photo archives for jaw-dropping luxury closets to help inspire you to spruce up your own. What, no room for a microwave or minifridge? No problem. Our experts have wallet-friendly suggestions for making the most of minimal closet space here at latimes.com/home.
Sure, a crystal chandelier and a closet the size of a small country would be nice, but getting organized on a budget that’s more DIY than OMG doesn’t have to mean forfeiting function — or even the awe factor.
We’ve rounded up a gallery of glorious closets for inspiration and interrogated experts from the Los Angeles chapter of the National Assn. of Professional Organizers to uncover secrets and shortcuts for getting the feel of an organized, luxury closet without the price tag — or the mini bar and massage table.
Step 1: Commit
“Sit down with yourself and decide you want to get organized and mean it,” said April Knox, professional organizer and owner of True Organizing in Los Angeles. “Commit to yourself.”
Step 2: Visualize
Visualize the goal. Ask yourself: How do I want to feel when I open the closet?
Leslie Haber, a self-described organizational therapist and owner of Los Angeles-based An Organized Life, said: “State your goal but don’t aim for perfection. An example would be: I want to see all the clothes I have and keep them neatly arranged so I can easily choose what to wear for any occasion. That’s your goal and your vision.”
Step. 3: Make a date
“Set a time and a day to do this,” Haber said.
“Be well rested, eat beforehand … and have water nearby. You really have to be in the mood and the right frame of mind. Giving yourself special time is really important.”
Bottom line: Silence the phone, don’t check email, take a break from social media. “Make yourself a priority,” Knox said, “because you’re going to feel awesome when it’s done.”
And don’t forget to factor in time for cleanup and taking gently used items to a secondhand store, such as Goodwill.
Step 4: Be realistic
Don’t have a whole weekend to devote to purging and organizing an entire closet?
Cut the job down to size. For example, organize by category.
Knox said, “If you’ve got 30 minutes or an hour on your calendar you’re not going to want to pull out your whole closet.”
Instead, pick one category, for example pants or skirts. Then schedule a time to do the next category. “This way you can make all the decisions about one category at a time,” said Knox. “Just say, I’m going to block out 30 minutes and go through my black pants. Tomorrow, I have an hour, so I will do dresses.”
“If you do it in smaller chunks you’ll start to think: Wow! That was easier than I thought,” Knox said, “and it gives you the motivation and encouragement to keep going.”
Step 5. Sort and Purge
When sorting, try everything on.
“No way out of this one,” Haber said. You need to try everything on to see if it fits, if it feels good and how it looks.” Can’t decide what should stay and what should go? Keep scrolling.
Step 6: Maintenance
Regular maintenance is key to staying organized.
“No matter how luxurious or modest your closet,” Haber said, “I suggest keeping three containers inside or nearby: one for laundry, one for dry cleaning or repairs, and one for donations. … It makes it really easy to get rid of something when we realize it isn’t working anymore.”
Step 7: Now you can spend … if you need to
Only after a thorough purge is it time to consider spending money on your newly de-cluttered closets. “Don’t go buying anything until you know what you really want to keep,” said Knox. “You may realize you don’t need a closet redesign because you just got rid of 30% of the items.”
Luxury elements, real world solutions
To create a closet that works on a budget, consider implementing these five hallmarks of a high-end closet — which can be done for a fraction of the cost:
1. Add lighting
“Lighting is really important,” Haber said. “I have extra bright light in my closet.”
For clients who can’t afford a closet chandelier — yes, that is a thing — Leslie Haber, organizational therapist and owner of Los Angeles-based An Organized Life, suggests buying clamp-on lights at a hardware store and attaching them to an upper shelf or bar. “A few lights make all the difference.” She suggests skipping the lighted discs, however. “I find that those little press-on, push lights are useless,” Haber said.
2. Create a “staging area”
High-end closets provide a staging area for assembling outfits. “In the luxury version, you have the counter and the chair inside,” Haber said. “If not, a chair in the bedroom … or hooks can usually suffice.”
3. Be shelfish
Shelves in a closet are non-negotiable, said April Knox, professional organizer and owner of True Organizing in Los Angeles. If you don’t have one, get one. Knox has two in her own closet. “Put out-of-season clothes up there in baskets … and things you don’t use all the time.”
4. Up and away
“Have somewhere to put your shoes,” Knox said. “Get them up off the floor.” Why? Shoes on the floor cause clutter, a tripping hazard and collect dust. If you have them organized, either in a shoe caddy or clear plastic bins, you can easily find what you are looking for.
5. Structuring style
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What to keep, what to toss: a checklist
Here are 11 tips from certified professional organizer Leslie Haber’s closet-purging checklist:
Keep it if ...
1. It fits perfectly and looks and feels good on you
2. It’s something you’ll have occasion to wear
3. You feel confident and attractive in it
4. It’s your size (or one size above or below if you are transitioning weight)
5. It’s classic (but not so classic that it makes you look older!)
6. It’s an old lover’s T-shirt you like to sleep in
Donate it (or discard it) if …
1. It has stains or is color-faded, torn, worn, ripped or needs to be repaired
2. It makes you look like a hooker or a drug dealer (assuming you don’t want to look like one)
3. It’s dated
4. It’s from someone, some time or somewhere that has a negative vibe to you
5. It’s so old you think it’ll come back in style. (It might, but it’s never quite the same)