Create your own boutique - the way you like it.


For many years, my clothes were kept in multiple locations around the house.

We were (kind of still are) constantly in renovation. I moved into a house that already had my husband’s furniture in it and all his possessions. He'd been married before and had decanted a very large house into our new dwelling, I'd moved to the US with two bulging and overweight suitcases, several boxes and a couple of 70's paintings. 

Since he's not psychic, he bought the house before we were engaged, so he naturally put all his clothes in the main bedroom closet. 

The house was built in the 1960’s and has a really unusual layout. I swear it was designed for swingers. Lots of open floor plan and very few rooms with doors that actually shut. I'm sure there are old car keys still around here somewhere. There was one other closet and it was tiny. Hmm....

I am creative and inventive.

Clothes stayed in suitcases, I nabbed some drawers, a couple of cupboards, I was tempted to keep jewelry in the kitchen drawers with the cutlery. I kept shoes displayed in the empty fireplaces. Probably not the wisest decision but I liked how they looked.

I had plastic bins which I abhor. But they were clear so I could see through them and I’m very visual and I slipped those under beds which also drove my husband crazy and made it really hard to vacuum.

I pointed out to my husband that he wore 20% of his clothes 80% of his time but he had the walk-in wardrobe. As mentioned above, he was in the house before me. 

My point was, he didn’t need to take the coat cupboard over downstairs as well. Not that I was resentful at all. Ahem.

But there had been "scope creep" since I moved here - clothing here is so much cheaper, there's Nordstrom Rack, brilliant thrift stores, Nordstrom....

He's insanely busy at work, so he gets decision fatigue. It took a couple of tries, as clothing is a low priority for him, but I managed to shove most of his things in his walk in and moved all my bulky coats down there, which helped enormously. 

Everything else was in that small closet  - in the room I use as an office -  so miscellaneous items were in nooks and crannies depending on where I could display them, for example, earrings sat on window sills so I could see them easily, bags hung from door knobs or picture hooks on the wall.

I have a very good memory (when it comes to clothing, disclaimer). And I inventory my clothing often, so I know exactly what I have at any time. Assembling outfits for me therefore is not an issue.

But I always had a dream of having everything in one place like a glorious boutique where I could mix and match outfits and I could twirl around to an imaginary audience who would tell me how amazing I looked.

Cue 2020 and Covid.

I send out a personal thanks to my husband’s company who decided that he could work from home. And again, also very grateful that his company was considered an essential service.

This gave my beloved husband more bandwidth than he’d had in years. "Drinking from the fire hose" is a good description for where he works, which is a cool place, by the way. But he didn’t have the commute, he didn’t have the multiple people in an office constantly interrupting him, and he suddenly had time for creative projects.

So, over the course of two weekends, he built me a wall-to-wall closet. I’m not kidding.

This thing stretches the entire back wall of one of our rooms. The IKEA cabinets are white, they’re crisp, they’re clean, all the rails are where I can reach them (I'm five foot two). I do need to stand on a step still to get up to the top shelf but wahoo!! 

Everything is in one place and I can see it all! It’s like the best Pinterest board ever. I didn't want doors on any of the sections. It's a tangible mood board!

He's a born inventor, so he's designing a roller door, in case I’m worried about dust. But to be able to walk into that room and see a boutique, I’m in total heaven.

This was a very long way to get to the point...if you're still here...

  • Where are your clothes?
  • How are they stored?
  • Can you find them easily?
  • When you see them, do you feel happy?
  • Do you feel an overwhelming sense of glee, happiness, joy, inspiration, when you see your clothes?

If not,  reassess where you store them or decorate your closet. Inside and out. 

There are so many patterns available with stick on wallpaper, adhesive images, cushions, chairs, stools. Buy hangers in a color you like, or padded or the wooden ones that add a touch of "store" magic.

Fresh flowers, fragrance, rearrange your clothing by color, hang your accessories like the art they are. Speaking of art - what about paintings, pottery, style books, magazines, posters, your vision board - hey, what about a water feature? A mirror ball? 

And remember, you want curation, not clutter.

How can you make your closet into your own personal boutique? 

Think about all the stores that you’ve walked into where you really liked how they looked and felt. Use those as a guideline and also think about the other things that create an ideal environment for you.

Do you need soothing colors? More light? A full length mirror? Music? 

Then, I give you carte blanche to transform your closet - and your experience with getting dressed. If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong...

Aroha, Erin.

Photo by Erica Zhou on Unsplash


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