Take Back Your Closet with Visual Therapy

“Get organized” seems to be a perennial item on many of our New Year’s resolution lists.

This year, we brought in the experts. Joe Lupo and Jesse Garza are the dream team behind Visual Therapy, a service touted by Vogue, Oprah and others, that helps clients organize their closets to define and enhance their own personal styles.

Currently touring with Macy’s to promote their latest book, “Work It!: Visual Therapy’s Guide to Your Ultimate Career Wardrobe,” Lupo and Garza seek to eliminate the phrase “I have nothing to wear” from their clients’ lexicon by bringing clarity to closets.

The duo adheres to a five-step organizational process: Define your style, edit your wardrobe, fill in the gaps, put everything together and maintain the final product. Here, they walk us through it.

Make Time to Make Space
Garza and Lupo stress that scheduling time to organize is paramount. In other words, trying to fit in an hour between soccer practice and dinner won’t cut it.

“Women have to give themselves permission to put themselves first, to put time and energy into this,” Garza says. “It’s a Saturday, it’s a babysitter, it’s a candle, it’s music.”

“And it might also be a girlfriend,” Lupo adds. Enlisting the help of a trusted friend can make the day more fun, plus you’ll get an objective viewpoint on your clothes.

Review, Edit, Repeat
Try on everything in front of a full-length mirror and ask yourself these questions: Do I love it? Is it flattering? Does it represent me? Is it comfortable? If the answer is “No” to any one of these, say goodbye. Give away things that are new or still in good shape; toss the rest. Above all, do not keep things just because you paid a lot for them.

“If there’s a tag still on it, it’s laughing at you,” Garza says. “It goes.”

The two concede that you can keep a few sentimental items, but archive them and don’t keep them in the middle of an active wardrobe.

Once you’ve purged your closet, shop for any necessities you’re missing. Commit to this review and edit process twice a year, and rotate your seasonal clothing.

Don’t Make Yourself Nuts
Lupo admits that he has to force himself to clean out his closet periodically, but he feels like a weight is lifted once it’s done. Still, he keeps a junk drawer that’s allowed to be messy.

The goals have to be realistic, Garza agrees. “Commit to getting everything out of that closet twice a year, and putting it back in the way it should be. If you just keep adding, you can’t find anything and you think you have nothing to wear. You become reactive and you buy things you don’t need.”

“Your closet is like your mind in a way,” Lupo says. “The goal is to bring clarity to both. You’ll start looking at everything differently.”

“Right,” Garza adds. “Do you really need your clothes to make you crazy?”

Joe and Jesse’s tips of the trade

  • Make a look book by assembling pictures of yourself in your favorite outfits. Label them “Work,” “Casual,” “Going Out,” etc.
  • Hang as much as possible, even sweaters (taking care not to stretch them out), since we tend to forget about pieces folded away in drawers. Use matching hangers so everything hangs at the same level and is easier to see.
  • Organize clothes by color to bring a feeling of harmony to your closet.
  • Use Febreeze sheets to freshen up clothes and shoes.
  • Keep an inspiration board in your closet filled with everything from photos of your family to a picture of the handbag you want.

For more ideas, visit Joe and Jesse’s blog, visual-therapy.com. You can also visit The Better List for expert, local resources in home organization.

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