Care and Storage

“What do you wear while relaxing or working at home?” “How do you care for your clothing?” “How do you store out of season items?” “How do you store accessories and bags?” Thank you for all your questions and lovely comments. Your helpful feedback dictates many of the subjects I cover.

I enjoy a couple of glasses of filtered water every morning with slices and the juice of half a lemon. When adequately hydrated and rested, I always feel more focused and productive.

You may remember seeing all these pieces worn in different ways, but today I styled them in a relaxed, very casual way while at home. I bought the cashmere shell as a warm layer over lightweight blouses, but it can also serve as the first layer under a cardigan or jacket. The pull-on slacks are old from Talbots. I bought them to wear with blazers, but I’ve found them to be very comfortable to wear at home. Finally, the white cotton girlfriend cardigan is here.

Sturdy leather sneakers are perfect to wear while vacuuming, doing laundry, or taking a short walk around the neighborhood on warm afternoons. The shoes are here. Casual footwear, light makeup, and no jewelry reflect that I’m staying at home for the day. However, if I need to run an errand, I can add some accessories and be on my way in minutes.

Other than handwashing and putting my cashmere sweaters in a drawer for the summer with freshly sanded cedar planks and lavender sachets, I don’t store items for the seasons. Most of my garments are appropriate for three or four seasons in East Tennessee’s climate. For example, in winter, I layer a v-neck cashmere sweater over the same thin cotton button-up shirt that I wear in the heat of summer.

In winter, I hang lightweight sweaters on felted hangers inside out so that the shoulder bumps will be on the inside. Then, I arrange the knitwear and long sleeve tees by color within the sections. For example, the V-neck sweaters are together and the crewnecks are together. All the long sleeve tees and cotton cardigans are to the left on the rail.

Long sleeve cotton or silk blouses and shirts (above) serve me well year-round. Vests and sweatshirts (below) are often layered over shirts, blouses, and long sleeve tees, so they hang together in the same corner as the sweaters. Tissue turtle necks and workout tanks will be worn as a first casual layer.

Each time I wear a jacket or sweater, I hang it inside out on a rolling rack to air out for a couple of days before putting it away. I never put a coat back in the closet without letting it air out and fully dry first. Even a tiny amount of moisture from the weather trapped between garments stored in a warm dark closet can introduce mold and other issues. So I treat my wardrobe with respect and care, never tossing anything on a chair, bed, or the floor.

On the left in the photos above and below, you can see ruanas, dresses, and the tops I wear only in summer. (Pajamas, pants, and jeans hang in the guest bedroom.) In the section behind the door are the jackets. I have fewer dressy blazers and more casual jackets than ever before. I place all empty hangers in the same section so they aren’t taking up space between clothing.

The belt hanger was from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Handbags are stuffed with their dust bags filled with tissue paper. When shoes and bags lose shape from improper storage, you can’t make them right again. Everything needs room to “breathe.”

I avoid using the dryer for some items since that can be the most damaging thing we do to clothing. Instead, I hang still damp pants from the hemline and put them on a hook or rolling rack to air dry. The weight of the pants pulls out most of the wrinkles. (See photo above.) Steaming is the best option for getting a smooth finish since ironing can easily scorch jackets and pants. When items need cleaning, repair, or alteration, I do it before putting them away. I have lint rollers and a clothes brush in my closet and laundry room. Also, there is a lint roller in my car and travel bag.

A tie-rack from Bed, Bath & Beyond makes a useful necklace organizer behind the door. I place pearls, bold necklaces and bracelets in a felt-lined drawer in a bureau. Earrings, rings, and watches are in a jewelry box. I fold scarves and place them on felted hangers.

I rarely use shoulder straps on bags, but I don’t want to lose them, so I hook them onto the end of the rail at the entry. (Left side of photo below.)

Shells, tanks and camisols are on a top rail above the scarves, followed by bras. I hang Shapeez bras to retain their shape. I bought the hatboxes along the top shelves at TJ Maxx and Steinmart. You may also find them at Marshalls.

An overstuffed closet means creases and stressful mornings, so I have edited things that no longer serve me well. There is now ample space between each garment and room for each handbag to be stored neatly. All shoes have their place on a rack. I press garments as needed before putting the laundered items away. It makes getting dressed a breeze when everything is ready to wear and easy to see.

Previous organization posts are here and here and Mr. Mickey’s closet is here.

  1. I enjoyed seeing your closet and Mr Mickey’s, too. My closet is coming along. I think I need to pare down more.

    I looked at what Amazon calls velvet hangers. Are they the same as you use? Some reviewers complained that they break easily. The thinner hangers would help my small closet. If I am going to iron, I certainly don’t want to mash everything together in the closet.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Susan, your organization tips are always so very helpful! Would you say you have reduced your wardrobe significantly the past year or so? Thank you for sharing so much with us!

    1. I’ve been reducing my wardrobe for about four years. I have donated about four tall kitchen trash bags full of clothing in the past twelve months, and I rarely shop for anything new.

  3. Hi Susan!
    I’m very new to your blog and have thoroughly enjoyed looking at your past & current posts. I am getting very inspired to reorganize my wardrobe & closets!

    It’s been fun to get a peek inside your fabulous closets & storage. I love your organizational skills. Thank you for all your practical advice on fashion and life style! I’m so happy I found your blog and website.

    Happy Valentines Day
    Jodi Sprague

  4. Great post, as always! Thank you, Susan!

    I have admired your skin for weeks and just today received three Beauty Counter products I ordered. I can’t even express how impressed I am with them so far. The packaging is beautiful. I ordered the oil cleanser, a serum, and the peptide night cream. The oil cleanser is divine. I was skeptical. Wow. I love it already. The scent is lovely and my face feels so soft I think I’m going to love the other products as well. I was just dipping my toe in the water, but now I’m sold!

    Also, I started listening to the Walk series by Richard Paul Evans on my morning walk. So good. I would tell my significant other about it when I returned home each day. Now we’re listening to it together in the evenings. What a great writer Mr Evans is. We’re in the middle of the second book, Miles To Go.

    Thank you for all these recommendations, Susan. I so look forward to every post. You are a lovely and inspiring person.

    Happy Valentines Day!!


    All the best,


  5. Another great post Susan! Thank you for sharing your well-organized closet with us. Seeing the pretty dresses in your closet reminded me of how much I enjoy wearing dresses in the summer. I was wondering if you could share how you style your dresses. In particular, it seems to be difficult to find “un-frumpy” light-weight jackets or sweaters to wear over sleeveless dresses. Thank you again for your blog.

    1. All the dresses are midi length with three-quarter length sleeves or tank styles. I organize the dresses according to the primary color, with the tanks first and the sleeved dresses next. I wear short fitted jackets with tank dresses to keep the proportion balanced 1/3 to 2/3 and often wear platform sandals to give the illusion of longer legs. I shared a dress styling post last year here.

  6. Hi Susan, I enjoy your posts so much. I have been following for over a year and have learned many things! I’m wondering if you have ever done a post on purses? You mention you do not use the shoulder straps often— why? What do you think of the various styles? For example hobo vs satchel vs crossbody. If you have done a post on this I would appreciate the link. Thanks!

    1. I prefer handheld satchels or small crossbody bags during the day and a small clutch for evenings. A large slouchy bag over the shoulder affects the posture and line of your clothing and adds width where it lands. A structured bag fits well with my classic style, whereas a slouchy hobo bag with fringes would fit with a boho style.

  7. I am totally impressed with your organization. Although I don’t have closet space as substantial as yours, I know that I can organize mine much better. Well done!

  8. I love your blog posts so much. I’ve been working with a health coach recently to address poor eating habits and tummy issues. It’s resulted in 45 lb weight loss. YAY! As added incentive to maintain this new lifestyle I am having my two small bedroom closets professionally customized this spring. I refer back to your blogs often as I begin to build a new totally functional wardrobe for the life I have as a retired active woman. Your blog provides so much useful information.

  9. What a wonderful post. I love looking at your closest and the organization of the clothes and accessories. I have so much to do and refer back to your posts for inspiration!


  10. Like all the other commenters this post is especially helpful for bulging closets. I find in Florida the summer/ spring / fall and barely winter doesn’t call for storing clothes but my closet space is limited so I am always looking for ways to make it more organized and user friendly. I have handbags stored in the top of my closets and find I can’t reach them easily so I don’t change my handbag very often. I have a question about shoes especially ones that haven’t been worn yet. Do you keep them in the box or take them out as soon as you purchase a pair. Thanks for taking the time to offer guidance on your lifestyle wardrobe and makeup as well as healthy eating habits.

    1. I remove shoes from the box and place them on a rack since I enjoy seeing them. I have the good fortune of having a finished room over the garage, so I have room for some of the shelves from when I had my company. They are perfect for shoes and totes. I’m not likely to use them if I can’t see things.

  11. Where do you put your “drying rack” for clothes to air out?? And what size is your beautifully organized closet? Hoping my grandson goes to Med School at ETSU so I can explore your beautiful area!

  12. Inspiration!! My goal is to get my closet to look as good as yours. I need to donate some more. I am keeping too many clothes that I don”t wear because they were expensive. Thank you for the encouragement!

  13. Susan, thank you for this post. I have trouble deciding what to hang and what to place in drawers. This has been most helpful.

  14. Hi, What is the brand of steamer that you use on your clothes? I have bought two in the past and both were ‘useless’. I am willing to spend on a good one. Thank you for your great posts. I am fairly new to them. I enjoy them so much!

    1. The best upright steamer I’ve ever used is the Jiffy here. The best travel steamer I’ve ever used is here. Only use distilled water in the tanks, but water calcification still happens, so clean the tank monthly. Fill tank 1/2 vinegar 1/2 distilled water. Turn on until it just starts to steam. Then turn off for 1/2 hour. Then run until the tank empties. Then fill with distilled water and run again to get the vinegar smell out.

  15. Thanks Susan for a stroll thru your closet and Mr. Mickey’s. Both are so neat and tidy. I have a large steamer that I use to steam wedding dresses, prom dresses and suits. The smaller one I have can travel with me. I also use my Rowenta iron to steam things as it has vertical steam. I too take extra care not to cook my clothes too long in the dryer. I also don’t wash my jeans every time I wear them. I always close all zippers on jeans, pants and garments so the zipper don’t catch any clothing while in the wash. I use little wash bags for bras and anything that is delicate. I turn a lot of things inside out to protect the garment’s wearing side.
    Since Spring may be here soon, would you mind showing us a few transition pieces and maybe a skirt or dress that would be nice for Spring and/or Summer? Thank you. Also maybe a hair tutorial on how you style your hair from wet to ready to go out the door. Does Mr. Mickey have someone trim his beard or does he do it himself? If he does do it himself, does he use a comb and electric trimmer or a comb and scissors. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for the helpful comment and suggestions. I also close zippers on everything and wash in cold water. I have been cutting Mr. Mickey’s hair and beard for years.

  16. Your wardrobe is very organised I like the way you have colour coded your clothes. Do you ever hang clothes out on the line to dry?

  17. Thank you for the great article! I learned something new – to hang sweaters inside out so the bump will be on the inside! I also hang my scarfs. I am currently living in an apartment while waiting for our home to be built. The closet is small, so I purchased space saving pant hangers so that several are on one hanger. This saved me from having to fold and store them elsewhere. I also like to hang most things. I find that I forget about things if I put them away in a drawer. Your closet is a visual inspiration!

  18. Hi Susan!
    I am a new reader, and have enjoyed your posts very much! I’m not quite 60, but getting close! I love your classic style, and have also been a Talbot’s shopper for years. It allows me to hang on to clothing a lot longer since items are well made, fit nicely, and are modest but stylish for mature women. I happen to love patterned pants, and they usually deliver! 🙂
    I’m looking forward to catching up on some of your past posts since I just found you about 3 weeks ago. Your organization tips for a tidy closet are inspiring. I use the slim velvet hangers, as well, and find they are great space savers. I tend to fold my sweaters to avoid the shoulder bumps, but I’ll have to try your inside out method!
    Have a lovely day!

  19. Such a motivating post. Thank you so much for this. It’s a joy to walk into a closet that’s well organized and a wonderful way to start my day as well.

  20. Wow, you still have a lot of items and choice in your closet. You are fortunate to know your personal style so well. I am not quite there! Great tips. My closet is in pretty good shape. I don’t know if I can make room for the scarves as you hang them, but what an improvement that would be for me so I am going to try it out with at least some of them. Cheers!

  21. These are wonderful ideas. One question: what do you store in the hat boxes, aside from hats? I’m mentally preparing myself to spend at least two days editing my closet and getting everything organized. I have found that I have multiples of tops and pants mainly because I am not organized. Loving your posts, please keep them coming.

  22. Hi Susan,
    I’ve read your blog for many years and incorporated many of your ideas and suggestions. As we get older our lifestyles change. I and many of my friends are caregivers now, for aging parents, needy spouses, and grandchildren. We go to book clubs, Bible study, and volunteer. We do our own housework and gardening. Many of us don’t have a walk-in closet, let alone two. I try to duplicate what you wear but on a much smaller budget. I buy Charter Club vests and Karen Scot shirts. I have boots, gardening shoes, walking shoes, and “going away”shoes. I have four purses, none name brand. My friends tell me I always look “like a million bucks”!
    Perhaps you could make some other budget friendly suggestions, like how to find a proper fit bra for less than $75.
    Thanks for all your practical suggestions, especially how to hang things

  23. Wow! What a lovely closet. I enjoy reading your blog and am inspired by your simplistic but elegant style. Thank you for sharing!

  24. If I had a closet your size I wouldn’t have issues either. I do everything with my clothing that you stated that you do with yours!! I have always been super careful with my clothing. Since High School to be exact!! Thank you for sharing!! I’m not the only one!! I feel better!!

  25. Susan, I noticed that you mentioned “shoulder bumps” on your sweaters from your felt hangers. Are you aware that there is a style of felt hanger that has a rounded, sloping, shoulder that totally eliminates the bump problem. I bought them on Amazon. I use them for all my blouses and sweaters. They are great. Carmona Adams

  26. Dear Susan,
    Great idea about using the handbag dust bags filled with tissue paper to keep the shape. I’ve just used the tissue paper but your idea is tidier and more efficient. And now I have a use for the dust bags.

    I’ve been looking for a good steamer. Do you have a recommendation?
    Thank you.

    1. I’ve owned and used many types of steamers. The best upright steamer I’ve ever used is the Jiffy here. The best travel steamer I’ve ever used is here. Only use distilled water in the tanks, but water calcification still happens, so clean the tank monthly. Fill tank 1/2 vinegar 1/2 distilled water. Turn on until it just starts to steam. Then turn off for 1/2 hour. Then run until the tank empties. Then fill with distilled water and run again to get the vinegar smell out.

  27. Susan,
    You reminded me to add lemon to my water as I read this post. 1 was in the habit for a while and lapsed. There are always lemons on hand for tea, salad vinaigrettes, and cooking. The refreshing taste and extra vitamin C are a bonus.

    My closet is in good shape except for the shelf of shoeboxes. I have a few under-the-bed storage boxes (multi-pair) for out-of-season shoes already. They are all in very good shape. Shoes are my weakness!

    Your closet organization makes life so easy to get dressed.

    Thank you.

  28. Hi Susan,

    Your posts are always informative and helpful to me. I have been following you for several years and was glad that you decided to continue with your blog after retiring from your business.

    I read The Walk series when it first came out and loved it. When The Broken Road trilogy was published, I couldn’t wait to read it. Both were full of locations and landmarks that I have traveled to and explored, which made them extra special to me. If you haven’t read The Broken Road trilogy by Richard Paul Evans, I highly recommend it

  29. Omg! I love seeing how organized you have your closets and how you care for your clothes! Amazing. Less and selective pieces are better than have so many clothes that are not used!

  30. This post has been so very helpful. I am slowly weeding out clothes I do not wear and planning a list of basics to purchase. Thank you . What a lovely couple you are.

  31. Hello from Texas. Do you HANG all sweaters except cashmere ? Also , will you re-post where to buy the sleeve bands to keep sleeves rushed up . Thank you

  32. Love this post! Just seeing it today…
    Do you have a recommended steamer that you use? I had 2 and they were both recalled, and I havn’t replaced them.
    You’re right about the damage ironing can do to pants. I’ve experienced that too many times.
    Still love how you have streamlined your wardrobe. Wish I had that size closet though. Only one season will fit in my all too small closet! So, I love to read these tips! Thanks!

    1. The best upright steamer I’ve ever used is the Jiffy here. The best travel steamer I’ve used is here. Only use distilled water in the tanks, but water calcification still happens, so clean the tank monthly. Fill tank 1/2 vinegar 1/2 distilled water. Turn on until it just starts to steam. Then turn off for 1/2 hour. Then run until the tank empties. Then fill with distilled water and run again to get the vinegar smell out.

  33. I received the recommended velvet hangers today. BB&B is pretty darned speedy! Who gets excited about hangers? Me.

  34. Your blog is new to me; and I thoroughly enjoy it.
    You indicate that you do not buy new clothing and accessories.
    Where do you make your purchases?

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.