Closets often end up as catch-alls for things you want out of the way (I’m talking about you pile of purses and ironing board) — or they become cluttered when you’re only adding new clothes and not getting rid of the old.
Organizing your closet will ultimately help you find your things easier. It looks nicer and will give you more room. Ultimately, it will make your whole life feel like one big happy zen moment.
Step 1. Empty the Closet and Start Making Some Decisions
Remove everything in your closet. Throw it in a pile on your bed or the floor. It will look huge and make you want to get rid of things. Start separating your things into piles: Keep, Donate, Trash and Holding Zone (this is where you put items you’re not ready to get rid of but you know you shouldn’t keep. We’ll deal with this pile later**). I use trash bags. That way I can’t see what’s in there after I’ve put it in and it’s really easy to take it out of your room forever. Clothes or other items that hold memories should be hugged and gently placed in a donate bag. Anything with holes or rips should be in the trash (you and I both know you won’t get it fixed). Once you see your pile reduce in size, that’s when things really start getting exciting. You are going to have a closet again!
Helpful Tip: When sorting, it’s helpful to have some guidelines ahead of time.
- Have I worn this in the last year?
- Does this really fit me (if it doesn’t fit you now, get rid of it. That thing will just make you feel bad!)?
- Is holding onto my high school boyfriend’s sweater really healthy?
These questions will help keep you honest. If you don’t have them pre decided you’ll end up giving away just a few items and having to cram everything back into your closet…and that’s no fun – believe me.
Step 2: Clean that Sucker!
Once you’ve removed everything from the closet, clean the heck out of it. Use a Swiffer on shelving. A Magic Eraser works wonders on the walls. (Don’t forget to get those top shelves.) Vacuum the floor and then you’re ready to put it all back together!
Step 3: Refill that Bad Boy!
Now it’s time to reap the fruits of your hard labor! Categorize items with how often you use them. Items used or worn often should be easily accessible, stored at a height between your shoulders and your knees.
Hang similar items together on hangers by type: shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, etc. Also, separate casual clothes from work clothes, it makes getting dressed in the morning so much faster. Color code your clothes if you’re feeling extra adventurous!
If you are storing folded clothes in the closet, such as sweaters (don’t hang sweaters, it can ruin their shape) and T-shirts, sort them by type as well. You can manage stacks of sweaters on a shelf with sweater dividers to keep them neat and to prevent them from toppling over. Organize linens and spare blankets according to size. (Genius!) Don’t forget to organize shoes as well.
Lesser-used items can be stored on higher shelves or in plastic storage bins, on or under shelving and clothing racks. Store off-season clothes in sealable bins, totes, or vacuum sealed bags and move them to the basement, attic or under your bed to make room in closets and drawers. You can swap them out when the seasons change. Don’t forget to label them for easy reference.
Now you’re done! Congratulate yourself! Sit down and stare at your pretty closet, then snap a pic and send them to me, we want to celebrate with you.
** Oops…we forgot about that pile. You know the one. The memory laden one sitting over there? That pile of “on the fence” items you’re reluctant to get rid of? We can handle this in one of two ways. If you think you can trust yourself: look at them, look at your beautiful closet. Repeat. Then, only take what you absolutely need to out of the pile and put in your clean closet. OR, put them in a bag or bin and store somewhere safe. If you find yourself forgetting about them, or wanting something from the bag, that will help you decided what you need to do.