Tips for Easy Closet Organizing
Many of us in older homes and apartments have to deal with a drastic lack of closet space. Sometimes, it isn’t lack of space but it’s too much stuff that you no longer use or need. Here are some tips for closet organizing to get you from a chaotic closet to a stress-free and orderly space.
Make three piles: give away, throw away, and keep.
Go through each item in your closet, and pull each item out one time. This includes all clothing, shoes, belts, ties, handbags, tote bags, whatever you’ve got in there that falls into these categories. The goal is to handle each item one time and one time only, and to put each item in one of three piles: give away, throw away, and keep.
Get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in a year.
If you haven’t worn it in a year, chances are that you won’t be wearing it anytime soon, and that if and when you do decide to wear it, the preferred fashion style will have changed. In the meantime, you can gain yourself some valuable room in your closet. Overcrowding is not good for your clothes; it makes them wrinkled and prevents air circulation to keep them smelling clean. Any everyday item that you haven’t worn in a year goes in one of two piles: give away or throw away.
When you have your throw away pile, take it outside and put it in the trash bin before you do anything else. Once you have that give away pile, don’t second guess yourself. Trust that your first instinct was correct, so take confidence in that. If you want to get a receipt for tax time, make a list of how many dress shirts, how many dress pants, how many suits, etc. Then put those clothes in the car and drive them to your nearest thrift store. Ask the thrift store for a receipt so you can claim the tax deduction. Sometimes, the thrift store even has a list of the typical amount you can claim for specific clothing items and shoes.
Okay. Now that everything has been taken out and assessed, it’s time to put it back in, but in an organized fashion that takes away the stress of looking in your closet.
First, launder anything that you are in doubt about. Then, once you can see all that you are keeping, you’ll be better able to decide what items you need to purchase to organize them in your closet.
Consider purging all wire hangers and the triangle-shaped plastic ones, and even the contoured plastic hangers that some stores let you keep when you buy the item. You’ve seen commercials for hangers that are covered in velvet, that come in a variety of colors, and have a contoured shape. These hangers keep clothes from slipping off, and retain the proper shape of your clothes, but they also make things less bulky so that you end up being able to hang more clothes in the same amount of space.
These are wonderful hangers, but if your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase these, consider the hangers from the local discount department store. They are basically the same quality, and you can buy a pack of four at a time for about a dollar a hanger, and go back for more when your budget allows.
Other handy storage
If your closet has a high clothing bar, you can get an inexpensive extender that hangs from your existing rod and gives you a completely separate nearly three-foot rod below it. Also, if the clothing bar is high enough, you may want to purchase a set of inexpensive, clear plastic drawers to keep in the closet to store bulky or small items, like sweaters or socks.
Take a look at your closet and bedroom doors. You may prefer to buy over-the-door shoe hangers, which come in either a design in which each shoe slips into its own pocket, or each shoe slips onto a molded piece. If you don’t want shoes displayed outside the closet, you can buy shoe cubbies that hang from the closet rod and have shoebox-sized shelves to store each pair in. Or, if you have room on the closet floor, you can put a standing shoe rack there. Some people prefer to either keep all their shoe boxes, or get clear plastic shoe boxes from the discount department store; then, shoes can be stacked on the floor or on closet shelves. One trick is to take a photo of each pair and tape that to the end of each box. Finally, you can get for ten dollars or less either a shallow plastic storage bin to slide under the bed, or even one of the square trays that are meant to put under a washing machine to catch leaks; either of these hold many pairs of shoes and can easily slide out from under the bed.