Make a Space That's Truly Livable
For me, an overrun room, car or office really hinders clear thinking. I might be able to ignore it for a short while, but eventually the mess in my space makes a huge mess in my head – one I have to climb over in order to think clearly. "My clients often say they feel a weight has been lifted," says Wardrobe Stylist and Organizer Sonja Motley Henderson. As Owner of Clutter Free Closet in Denver, Henderson emphasizes that women's identities often are carried in the clothes they wear, and closets speak volumes about who they are. Clutter Free Closets offers closet cleaning, distribution of discarded garments, fashion consulting, wardrobe rework, personal shopping and more.
Henderson's clients often save money as they uncover items thought lost or forgotten or just because reworking a closet uncovers a plethora of previously unfound items just waiting to be used. "I've had clients spend the day in their closets because it's so pretty."
A Stylish Closet During a Tight Move
I met Sonja while she was a sales associate in a wonderful boutique. It was there I began my appreciation for Sonja’s impeccable eye for fashion and no nonsense, honest and trusting style of professional salesmanship.
Most recently, I was in the process of getting ready for a move to another state to accept a new professional position. I contacted Sonja with four very specific visions of work I needed completed:
- Purge closet of unneeded items
- Organize remains
- Create new outfits with existing/remaining clothes
- Select a limited amount of clothes/outfits that will see me through for a couple of months (All of my clothes would not be moved until my house sold.)
She accepted the assignment with enthusiasm, met my tight timeline of scheduling our time together and the result was exceptional. We spent about 10 hours together and it was some of the best money I ever spent. Trust me when I say, high value for dollars spent.
During the time together, I gained a greater appreciation for Sonja’s ability to coach on fashion tips and simplify how to take your style to a higher level. She has a great eye for retaining those essentials that are still worth keeping and those that are past their prime. She sorted consignment items, incorporating two different stores, knowing what each one would take. She further added value and support to my time management, by taking the clothes to the stores, provided a detailed inventory of what items ended up where and what I might expect in return dollars. She went one step further and took the charitable items to find a home for them.
Another quality worth mentioning is Sonja’s ability to linger with you when you have the time to do so or being sensitive to time schedules and executing quickly. She went three steps further by shopping and selecting of a few essentials that I needed, along with bringing me a selection of jewelry to choose from and a few other accessory items.
I would absolutely, with out hesitation recommend Sonja to ease the pain of whatever clothing and closet ailments you might be suffering from. She is up to the job, not matter how big or small; a true professional and an absolute delight to work with!
A Closet less Crowded
What a wonderful day spent on "my closet"! Sonja, I could not be more pleased with your efforts in making my wardrobe up to date and less crowded. Your expertise and diligence in working with me on my entire wardrobe (clothes, coats, shoes, scarves, purses, and jewelry!), to try on items that were "on the fence" and then to take the discards for charity or consignment was amazing. And to top it off, we got more than we paid for your services.
I am now wearing things I had forgotten about and am able to see outfits in what I already have that I never saw before. I am recommending you to all of my friends that love clothes and need the breath of fresh air that you bring... thank you.
A Five Star Review
Sonja Motley has been in the fashion business most of her life, and as a result has an informed and educated eye for what works and what doesn't on any kind of body,male or female. She's also been a close friend for nearly thirty years, and I've shopped with her a hundred times. Yesterday she came over and worked her magic in my wardrobe. After clearing out eight (yes, eight) wardrobes, I had several priceless designer orphans- you know the type- jackets or skirts that are nearly impossible to make into workable outfits. These are Dior, Pilotto, Katrantzou- the kinds of pieces that cost thousands, not hundreds, but they have sat untouched for months and years.
Within a matter of minutes, Sonja eyed my impossibles, nailed the problem, and made perfect suggestions which not only made sense but also were workable across multiple pieces which saves me money and trouble. They fit my body style, my work needs, budget, and habits. She prowled my jewelry collection, captured workable pieces to pull outfits together. She drills down to whether an earring needs to be faceted, cloudy, clear, tropical. That kind of minutae. That's what real professionalism looks like.
In one hour, Sonja saved me thousands. How? When we get gorgeous orphans we don't wear, we end up selling them on consignment for pennies or giving them away at a massive loss. By giving me smart options, which I was able to find quickly online through designer websites (copied Sonja and she approved right away) I have my wardrobe fixes on their way in a few days. For a fraction of what I thought I might have to spend. That's a good investment.
She has recently expanded into men's wear, to the delight of a great deal of fashion smart executives in the Denver area. Her excellent eye for what compliments, what flatters, hides and makes the most of a man from office to casual Friday just got added to her repertoire this past year. For my part, I'm very glad I can still call on her extraordinary high end fashion knowledge and expertise, her extensive knowledge of stores and offerings in this area and online.
When we want someone to go through our closet and advise us, having someone with deep knowledge of not only fashion but also color, flow, line, current trends, body types, tastes, what's runway and what's functional, business vs. casual, how to mix and match colors/fabrics/patterns, you don't give this to a rookie. Sonja has an innate understanding of image, grace, style, impression, and how clothing expresses our uniqueness. She's one of a kind.
I Had No Idea
We all have appetites. For many of us they change over the decades, and reflect new values, ways of life, new waistlines (sadly or not), a change in marriage status or any number of shifts in who we are becoming.
A few years back, I had an appetite for designer clothing, and was known among my friends for knowing the location of the best sales, the best deals and where to score Dior.
Ultimately that left me with eight (yes EIGHT) wardrobes of clothing, along with nearly 250 pairs of boots and shoes. What an embarrassment. For a lifestyle I never lived, never would live.
For the last nearly thirty years I've had a close friend, Sonja Motley, whom I met while buying earrings, of course. Born in Germany, this lovely woman has been a shopping partner in crime for many years. She's also got an unerring fashion sense, and as my life morphed into one of adventure travel and away from the boardrooms, Sonja steadily but surely helped me unload my overload.
She had also opened up her own closet decluttering business.
Sonja and I loved fashion, talked it, laughed at it, and enjoyed it thoroughly. I was fortunate to have her as my roommate for two years.
Recently, just a few months after Sonja had moved in with her longtime boyfriend, I asked her for help with my own closet. As sometimes happens, we fall in love with a few key pieces, can't let them go, for we still need to do corporate work- but they are now orphans. Too fashion-forward to match with traditional blazers or skirts, these were items I wouldn't relinquish, but couldn't wear.
Sonja gave me an hour.
Watching her work was pure joy. She whisked out the pieces in question, eyed them, eyed me, scanned my shrunken closet (only one now) and told me what was needed. She drilled down to the size, shape, color and type of earring, whether it needed to be cloudy or clear, big or small, tropical or tailored. Encyclopaedic knowledge.
Those new items that she recommended are coming in now, and she has nailed every single one.
Her solutions were brilliant. I'd never have thought of any of them. Sonja's impeccable knowledge of line, fabric, flow, color, shape, movement and what works with a given body, your age, what you do for a living are simply remarkable.
It reminded me of a time when I had the opportunity to give a speech in front of people who have known me for two decades. Afterwards, a number of them came up and said, "We knew you spoke for a living. We had no idea you could do THAT."
How much do we really understand how talented and amazing our closest friends are? What they have achieved, and the true extent of their gifts?
One of my gifts to Sonja was to give her a detailed, five star review on Yelp. I then put it on my Facebook page for further promotion. At first she was terrified, until she read the review.
Sometimes the patina of friendship or family ties can cause us to overlook, ignore or not fully appreciate the exceptional aspects of those closest to us. Family members who are incredibly gifted, but hey, he's my brother. So? How much do we know how others see those we love?
When my estranged brother took his life, I attended his wake. In doing so I was introduced to the man I never knew. A hero who had saved multiple lives. A mentor, a father figure, a beloved friend. Later, I wrote a blog that included this line: "Sometimes it takes a wake to wake you up to a family member."
I hear people say that they already know someone well. Do we? Do I? I clearly didn't fully appreciate the real depth of Sonja's skills and knowledge. This has allowed me a brand new level of admiration for a woman I've known for three decades. Or thought I knew.
This Christmas, as we ponder spending time with family and friends, I wonder if we are brave enough to peel back some of the layers of who they are to others. It's like unwrapping the best present ever. We are all of us deep universes, complex and multifaceted and genuinely interesting. You'll have to put your devices away to do this.
But it will be worth it. I promise.