I have three kids under five. I have a closet full of clothes I love (or thought I loved when I bought them) but wear only 20% of my closet. I wear jeans and a white shirt almost every day. I’m lucky if I shower, I haven’t styled my hair in months, and mascara is the only makeup I use (and it’s usually smudged under my eyes before 2pm). Most of the time this is all okay – life is full and crazy and wonderful. But there are also times I’m tired of looking tired… and wearing the same thing every day. Even if it’s easy and I somehow feel confident (and very comfortable) in my jeans and t shirt uniform. But I also want to feel fresh, put together, and I’ll say it… pretty. Not for anyone else – but for myself. I want to put on an outfit and feel like Cher off of Clueless (did I just date myself?!). Okay, maybe I just want to feel more like myself again. Even if that self gets spit up on my shoulder 10 minutes later and peanut butter hands on my jeans by noon.
Oh yeah, I’m also a professional organizer. So you’d think I’d have a super streamlined minimalist wardrobe. Yes, it’s minimal, and yes it’s *usually* organized (unless my 5-year-old daughter has ravaged it for a dress up party). But there are still missing socks, stained shirts, shoes I never wear, and a random sweater mixed in with my stack of jeans. And like I said, I still wear the same thing almost every day despite having recently purchased items hanging untouched.
Enter Shira Gill, closet refresh expert extraordinaire. Shira is the Diane Keaton of the organizing world. She’s effortlessly chic, casually cool, and easy to be around. Also – have you seen her instagram? It’s stunning. You can’t help but scroll the entire way down and wish your home looked as easy-breezy-beautiful as hers. Plus she’s super nice. Is all of that possible? Um, yes.
I first met Shira last winter when I finally asked her to hang out – er, I mean, casually meet for coffee to talk “business.” At that time I was pregnant and we casually discussed doing a closet refresh after baby number three came. I had a hunch I’d need help re-establishing my style after five years of either being pregnant, nursing, and basically not having time to think about or even ask myself “does this look bring out of the best version of me?”
Fast forward to this August when Shira reached out about collaborating for a mini closet refresh. Besides looking forward to hanging out with Shira again, I actually needed the help. She’d provide the closet magic, I’d provide the hot chocolate and candy (if you follow Shira, you know she has a big sweet tooth). Before she arrived I refrained from making my closet look Instagram-perfect. I wanted the real-deal treatment… and with my three kids and brand new school schedules, there was actually no way I’d even have the time to Mary-Poppins my closet. Jeans were unfolded and tossed back onto the shelf, socks were mixed in with the underwear and some dresses were sharing hangers. Since I usually get dressed in 30 seconds, with at least one kid at my feet or trying on my clothes too, all while shouting at my oldest to brush her teeth before school, I rarely have time to assess the damage.
Clad in heels and her signature casual-chic denim, Shira came bearing the gifts of her donate, repair and toss bins. My heart swelled – oh how I love to purge! Next Shira asked how I would ideally like to look and present myself (queue awkward cricket sound effect). Am I allowed to talk about how I want to look? Is that okay? Is it acceptable for me to say I want to look like I sleep? Oh wait... I have to talk about style and image. Alrighty. Let’s put it this way – I feel best about my "style" when it’s simple and refined... when I don't it just feels right. I have the simple part down pat (jeans and t-shirts for dayyyyyyz), but the refined? It could use some refinement.
Now it was time to dive in. Give me a to-do list and steps – I'm your girl! Section by section we piled all my clothes on to my bed. This is when it got good. For some items it was easy – if it had tears or stains that couldn’t be repaired – it was tossed into one of the bins. If I hadn’t worn it in a while and it didn’t (yes, I’m going to say it) spark joy – it was tossed into a bin. Others it was hard. Like the Madewell top I bought three months ago but just didn’t feel great in. Or the clingy dress that was super cute while i was pregnant, but now felt self-conscious in. For these head-scratchers Shira would have me try the items on (she saw a lot of my ugly purple nursing bra) so she could be my mirror. This was priceless! When was the last time you had someone lovingly tell you the truth about how something looks on you? Sales associates, your mom, or (most) friends all think everything look AMAZING on you. All of the above are super sweet and well-meaning. But it makes for a lot of unnecessary purchases that will get little use.
I would stand there with my hands on my hips (to avoid the awkward idle hands feeling) while Shira would take it in. She would then give me specifics: “that neckline is great – super flattering” or “this dress needs a waistline to look better on your frame” or “boxy tops don’t work for your torso – it’s best to stick with a more form fitting silhouette.” Okay, wow. Especially since I had a ton of boxy (but so stinkin’ cute) oversized tops, incredible boy-cut vintage Levis, and potato-sack-dresses. I now had a parameters for my style. Not just what I liked, but in a way – what liked me. It's good to feel wanted ;)
We went through it all – tops, pants, dresses, sweaters, jackets, shoes, bras… and yes, even undies. We packed two huge garbage bags full of clothes to donate and I wasn’t the least bit sad about saying goodbye to anything (well, maybe except my super comfy shearling slippers that have seen better days). I mostly felt a sense of clarity. Not only could I see everything better, I now knew that everything in my closet was something that I wanted to wear and would feel good in. Talk about some personal breathing room.
Lastly, Shira helped me fill in the gaps – I needed a racerback bra so I could finally wear a few tops I had, a pair of sandals that would work with dresses, an ankle bootie, and yes… new slippers. I loved that she had specific suggestions on where to buy each item, based on my style. That made it more likely that I would *easily* (key for exhausted moms) find what I needed – and what I would like.
After snapping a few pics in front of the closet magic (with photo bombs from my 2-year-old), and exchanging a few photo editing tips, Shira was off and I was left with a top-notch closet. Plus, it was the most adult time I had had in awhile. Double win!
Whether you’re a mama who needs a style refresh or you’re simply tired of wearing the same thing all the time, despite having a full closet, Shira is definitely your gal. And good news – it doesn’t matter where you’re located because Shira’s online closet makeovers can be accessed anytime, anywhere. And you can even wear your black yoga pants and scrubby slippers doing it ;)