Simply Clean: 10 Steps to an Organized Closet
Is it just me or do you process change by cleaning and organizing, too? A feeling of “everything in its place”—at work and at home—gives me a sense of general life order. And what better place to start organizing than your closet? As we enter the busiest time of the year, here are my top tips for making your closet clutter-free.
1//Make it a Family Affair
Getting your partner and kids involved in organizing can make a difference in your family’s day-to-day life. Everyone should be in charge of his or her own clothes, accessories, and toys. This will cut your cleaning time in half and ensure nothing important is thrown away by mistake.
2//Start from Scratch
Pulling everything (yes, everything!) out of your closet is the most effective way to get to the bottom of it. If you don’t, chances are, the same unworn clothes will end up staying in your closet.
3//Stage a Rolling Rack
Staging your items on a rolling rack makes the step above a much easier task. Not only can you see what you’re dealing with, but you can ask yourself: “Should this really go back in my clean closet?”
4//Out with the Odd
Bank statements, insurance information, and tax documents don’t belong next to your shoes, scarves, and sweaters. Remove items that have no business in your closet and create a computer file to organize and store them in one accessible place; file the remaining papers in an office cabinet.
5//Sort it Out
Now it’s time to sort. Throw out old and damaged clothing, and donate what you don’t need or don’t wear.
6//Organize in Sections
Designate a place for everything—shoes in one place, sweaters in another, and so on—to help you keep order and save you time each morning. Make smart use of the space by installing shelves to double your storage and help sweaters and T-shirts better keep their shape.
7//Apply the 80/20 Rule
You may not want to admit it, but the majority of clothes you have probably go unworn. It’s said that the average American only wears 10-20 percent of their wardrobe. To cut down on the fluff, remove items you haven’t worn in a year. Drop off the excess at Goodwill, your favorite consignment store, or arrange a clothing swap with friends.
Are your shoes overtaking the space? Try a hanging-shoe rack, over-the-door organizer, or displaying them on shelving by color. Do your clothes overcrowd the closet? Use a thin black hanger to create space and visual consistency so you can find things more easily. Feeling rushed each morning? Dividing shirts, dresses, jeans, and jackets will bring a sense of order and save time. Solving your biggest challenges will motivate you to create your dream closet.
9//One In, One Out
For each new piece of clothing you buy, donate one item. This will keep you from returning to your pack rat ways. After the “big clean,” dedicate 15 minutes a week to straightening your closet. Spending this small amount of time will ensure you never have to go through a major declutter again.
Recognize and celebrate what you’ve done. Treat yourself to some new hangers or buy that handbag you’ve been eyeing. Now, you actually have room for it!
by Kerrie L. Kelly, FASID
Kerrie L. Kelly, FASID, is an award-winning interior designer, author, product developer, and multimedia consultant helping brands reach the interior design community. To contact her, visit kerriekelly.com or call 916-706-2089.