Is your closet a disaster? Does opening the closet door create feelings of stress and confusion? When you reach for an item do the walls come tumbling down?
Your clothes closet is a major contributing factor in how you start your day. If you feel rushed in the morning, perhaps it’s because you stand there wasting precious minutes surveying your wardrobe, deciding what to wear. What does your daily inventory reveal? Pants and skirts that don’t fit? Dresses that you never should have bought in the first place (price tags still in evidence)? Fashion relics that you haven’t worn in years? Sweaters and whatnot jumbled in corners and on top of shelves? Hordes of empty wire hangers that seem to produce families overnight? (Get rid of the hangers now—recycle them at the dry-cleaners.)
To save precious minutes in the morning, decide what to wear the night before while drifting off to sleep. To do this effectively, you must visualize your closet and everything in it, along with the location of each item. So, first you have to organize your closet.
Wardrobe Inventory and Sorting
Before attempting a closet makeover, you need to take stock of your entire wardrobe and schedule uninterrupted time to complete the project. Now is the time to be ruthless about items that are wasting precious space. Begin by pulling everything out of your closet. Then follow this three-step process:
1. Sort clothes and accessories into three piles
- Items you LOVE and WEAR. (This one is easy.)
- Items you FEEL GOOD IN. (If an item makes you feel special, there’s a good chance you’ll wear it in the future.)
- Items to RECYCLE. (Take these clothes to a consignment clothing shop or to a charity or thrift store.)
In the process of sorting, create a want (as opposed to need) center. Put clean clothes you can’t decide about in storage containers in the garage, attic or basement. You may be able to recycle these at a later date. Clothes tend not to improve with age. Now you have only the “I love to wear it” pile to deal with!
2. Separate the “I love to wear it” pile into categories. For example:
- Career outfits and accessories
- Drawer-bound foldables
- Seasonal articles
3. Subdivide by category.
- Suits, pants, skirts, blouses, etc.
- Same with shoes and accessories
Reconfigure Your Closet Space
Why put your clothes back in the same old closet? Here are some ideas for creating a more organized space:
- Change rod placement. Sometimes it helps to relocate the rods from which clothes hang, or to add a rod so that you have two parallel rods at different heights to accommodate clothes of varying lengths.
- Add shelving. How about another shelf just below the closet ceiling? Use it for folded items that you want to see, but don’t need to touch.
- Consider possible closet organizing tools. Many types of shoe racks and see-through shoe boxes are available. Use the back of the door for tie, belt and scarf hangers. For folded sweaters and workout clothes, choose a system of drawer units that suits your needs.
I favor wire organizing units because they provide ventilation for clothes, visibility, and easy accessibility. Drawers slide in and out effortlessly, and shelves offer strength and support. Wire systems are fairly easy to install, can be reconfigured as your needs change, and are among the most affordable available.
Custom designed wood or laminate systems look fantastic in your closet and seem to add value to the resale of a home. However, the shelving, cubbyholes and shoe units lack flexibility when your needs change or fashion produces a major shift, like the bulkier shoes and longer skirts we’ve seen in recent years.
If neither wire nor wood systems meet your needs, create your own modular system with see-through lidded containers that can be stacked on shelves or in cubbyholes with endless variation.
Control the Hanger Population
Last but not least…..have you ever wondered how hangers seem to produce babies overnight in your closet? It happens because you leave them there to produce clutter. Get rid of old wire, discolored, and broken lucite hangers and purchase new durable hangers of uniform color. This step alone will make your closet “feel” good and your clothes will thank you for it. According to Bo Niles in an article for Family Circle magazine, if planned right, the average closet can accommodate approximately 184 hangers.
Your new closet will save you both time and money. You’ll know exactly where to find things and, better yet, where to put them back. It’s easier to mix and match outfits when you know what you have and can see everything clearly. Best of all, you’ll be able to expand your organized closet. In other words, go shopping!
About the Author
Sally Allen, a certified professional organizer, is CEO and owner of A Place for Everything©. Since founding her company in 1997, Sally has helped individuals and companies throughout the U.S. effectively arrange space and efficiently manage time. A recognized expert in the field, Sally learned her organizing skills while employed by Marriott International Hotels and Resorts, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Committee, the 1996 Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and through moving her family 19 times.