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How to Organize your Closet in 5 Easy Steps

How to Organize your Closet in 5 Easy Steps

home organizing

Clear your closet with order and find your things easily

Organizing your closet can seem like a daunting task especially if you have struggled with it and it’s vexed you for some time. You can’t see what you have. Items live on the floor. There is no rhyme or reason to what you have and you don’t know all that you DO have. You spend valuable time looking for things and can’t find them when you need them. Your closet is an eye sore and you’d rather close the door from yourself and anyone else.

Closets don’t have to be feared. They are the places that hold objects we use, we wear, that protect us from the elements, and that help us function at home and work. While the closet may seem like a dark and mysterious place behind closed doors, we can treat them with respect for all the good they provide.

So, how do we tame the closet so that it functions for us and is no longer a place of fear and dread? Step One: I always start by pulling everything out to see what’s there and to reexamine clothing and other items in a new light. Lay all the clothing in piles on the bed. Look at each one and make a decision if this is something you use regularly and if it still fits, is it still in style, is it adding to your life and your wardrobe? Some items are easily answered, “yes” and they go back into the closet. First, make sure that you do a thorough sweep, dust, vacuum to make it a clean place for your clothing. Second, I love the “huggable” hangers by Joy Mangano. I eliminate the wire hangers. Plastic are fine so long as they provide enough support for the clothing. I like all the hangers to match. It creates a unified look and makes the closet look great.

Back to our closet. Step 2: put in the items you know are definite. Then start sorting clothing you know you definitely don’t want and eliminate. If it’s still good, pass it onto a professional women’s organization for underprivileged women, donate to Goodwill or Salvation Army, to a shelter, sell it at a garage sale. If’ it’s stained, rip, torn, then toss it out or turn it into a cleaning rag. Most people have over inflated ideas of how much they think their clothes are worth and they aren’t worth much. Resale and consignment places want current clothing styles and usually want things dry cleaned before hand. It may not be worth the cost if the resale is low. Only high end designer clothing can generate a decent return on eBay and other resellers.

With the “maybe” pile, try it on. Does it still fit? Will you really wear it again? Is there some sentimental value to it? Did it belong to a family member? Did you wear it to a friend’s wedding? Was it given to you by someone special? If you aren’t going to wear it again and want a memory of it, take a picture of it and pass it on. The “maybe” pile often has more “no’s” in it than”yesses.” If you already have 12 black tops, do you need to keep all of them? A client’s husband has 28 jackets in his closet and won’t be able to wear all of them and most likely wears only a few on a regular basis. Keep the essentials and pass the rest on.

So far this discussion has only addressed the clothing aspect. Women have to contend with hats, scarves, jewelry, belts, shoes (lots of shoes), purses, bags, and more. The same process applies.

Of course this assumes that someone has a closet that has the infrastructure to contain these items. Many closets have very little, if anything aside from a rod and a shelf, to hold all the things we have. Step 3: Customizing your closet with shelving, built ins, bins, baskets, dressers, shoe racks are all essential to having your closet function properly. There has to be places for all these things to live once the sorting is done. The Elfa closet system from The Container Store is great and not too pricey. They can help with planning the space, especially if it’s strange shaped closet, like many of the older closets are in Oakland–long and narrow that don’t open fully to the front. You must find some type of infrastructure that organizes your many things so you can see them and find them when you need and want. Get everything off the floor except the shoe rack and storage bins if they need to be there. Make sure long dresses and coats don’t cover over shoes and other things below so you lose sight of them.

Step 4: When returning clothes to the closet, group all like clothes and colors together: pants, slacks, blouses, jackets, blazers, skirts, dresses, evening wear, coats, etc. And within each category, group the colors together so you can  easily go to that color for what you want to wear. Keep all garments facing the same direction.

Step 5: The key to maintaining your closet is to create a system for taking clothes out and returning them. They NEVER go on the floor or over a chair/door/bed post. If they are dirty, they go in the hamper or in a bag to go to the dry cleaners. If they can be worn again, they get hung up AS SOON as they are taken off and put on a hanger. Clean clothes get put away after they are out of the dryer into their designated homes. They don’t sit in a basket or in a pile or on a table from which they are taken as needed.

You can have a great looking and functioning closet that you enjoy and use with ease and flow. If you need help, call Steve Adams at Creative Space Organizing at 510.501.1213 and let him get your closet functioning to its best!