One of my long time clients badly needed to take control of the closet, only he didn’t know how. He’s super busy and it’s hard to get him to commit to a time. That is part of the challenge, because in order to take control of the closet, there must be time to do it. We were finally able to carve out a time that worked for him. He gave up a Saturday afternoon to work on his closet with me. So you can imagine that, to spend a precious weekend day working on the closet, this had to be really important. As we went through his closet, you can bet that we had a lot of closet talk going on.
For as long as I can remember, we have faced a significant lighting issue in his walk-in closet. The space is lit, but dimly, for a space furnished with beautiful, built in wood cabinetry. When faced with insufficient lighting in your closet, it is really hard to take control of the closet. It’s hard to see in the space. Styles start to blend in to each other, rather than noticing the distinctions between pieces. Colors lose their intensity, and everything that truly looks amazing on the body, looks bland and uninspiring when hanging in the closet.
Despite my prodding, nudging, and threatening to make an example of his dim den of duds, the problem remains unresolved. He occasionally picks up some new adhesive LED light to experiment with in the closet. Aesthetically, they look so bad. Most importantly, the light color is impure. So these lights never stick around; the adhesive surface is never exposed. Thank goodness! Despite toying with substandard lighting replacements, he’s very particular about the aesthetics of the lighting he would like to settle on. I can certainly understand that. But what most concerns me is how well the light functions. Always in a rush, my goal is to help him minimize his time in the closet and make it easier for him to get in and out.
One thing we did to help him take control of the closet was to shift his black luggage around so that the three pieces he stores in the closet don’t suck out whatever light is actually available in there. Another thing we did to take control of the closet was to get a pile-up of footwear up from off the floor. That pile also absorbed light that could not bounce off the wood flooring as a result. As soon as we did these things, the lighting significantly improved, though the closet still does need a stronger light.
We went through all the drawers and dark recesses – light issue notwithstanding – of the closet. We eliminated from the space anything that turned the closet into a dumping ground. Gone was the box containing the footbath. Gone was the humidifier, unused for years, that they used to set up whenever one of their kids got sick. The result was that he had the feeling that he could spend time in the closet and enjoy it.
Another pile-up that I noticed is his accumulation of papers, receipts, notes, and cards. A bad habit, he dumped on the built-in dresser top. I helped him create a shelf space behind a cabinet with a door where he could place an organizer. This way, he could eliminate these paper scraps from the dresser top. To help him take control of the closet even further, I gave him a homework assignment. I told him to get that space cleaned out, organized, and to display special things that would make him feel good to walk into, and take pride in, his closet.
I contend that if you open up your closet and see chaos, that chaos impacts your whole day. When you visit the closet again in the evening, that chaos returns again. Who needs that bad energy, not only once, but twice in one day? It was a great “a-ha moment” for my client to realize how much this would help him.
That my client really needed to take control of the closet meant that he would be able to have absolute control over a domain that is all about him. The deep benefit of gaining this kind of control is that it could help him to gain greater control over other physical spaces, like his home office. It would also help him feel calm about his clothing selections every day, giving him a sense of ease and confidence that would benefit him throughout the day. He could not disagree.
Within 24 hours of helping him to take control of the closet, he sent me this text message: “Thank you again so much for coming over and helping. It already has made such a big difference just walking in and picking things out.”
After a lot of laughing, prodding, pleading, insisting, and organizing, we have a very successful result.
Do you need to take control of the closet? Maybe it’s time we have some closet talk, too!
Joseph Rosenfeld helps successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs transform their self-confidence by improving their personal style. Get Joseph’s free report that helps you know “7 Ways to Transform Your Personal Style.”