Organizing your not-so organized closet

Written by Nicole Harrison

Closet organization is not many people’s strong suit. Closets are the one place in a home where things get shoved when guests come over, and it’s safe to say items accumulate easily in these hidden corners of the home. If you’re anything like me, you rarely spend time cleaning and organizing your closet because let’s face it, who has time for that? Having a clean closet is beneficial for so many reasons – the number one being our sanity. A well-organized closet helps you come up with the perfect outfit especially on those mornings you’re running short on time.

Here are five foolproof tips to give yourself a clean, stress-free closet.

Color code your clothing. This one is self-explanatory. When you are looking for that one grey shirt you got from your aunt Betty for Christmas and can’t seem to find it anywhere, a color-coded closet is the perfect solution. Not only does color coding make finding clothes easier, but it looks refreshing and put together.

Categorize your clothes. Sort your clothes in different categories. Put blouses, sweaters, cardigans, t-shirts, dress pants, dresses, skirts, button downs and whatever else you have hanging in your closet in their own sections. You will find it extremely helpful to keep your dress and casual clothes in separate locations. Categorizing clothes makeTMATSPRING2013140-2627556146-Os putting outfits together a breeze.

Invest in organizers. Trust me on this one. If you don’t have built-in shelves in your closet, we recommend you invest in some kind of organizer. These are perfect for your shoes, sweaters, pants, and other items you don’t have places for. One of our favorite and most handy organization tips is to take your old moving boxes and cover them with scrapbook paper or fabric and use them as bins for small, miscellaneous items. If space is an issue consider investing in a wardrobe box where you can fit three feet of hanger clothes from your closet in addition to out of season shoes and store in a basement or utility room until the seasons change.

Flip your hangers. Do you have too many clothes? Is it hard for you to get rid of the clothes you don’t wear? After you have organized, color coded, or categorized your closet, you can start the downsizing process. This trick will help solve your crowded closet problems. Flip all of your hangers backwards for a certain time period (usually three or four months does the trick). After you wear something hang it back up facing the normal direction. At the end of the three or four months, get rid of the clothes whose hangers are still backwards. If you’re still unsure about tossing certain clothes, ask yourself if you would buy it again today.

Clean your closet. Once your closet is sorted and organized, take time to deep clean it. Just because it looks nice doesn’t mean it’s clean. Vacuum or mop the bottom of your closet and take a rag and wipe down the walls. Most likely you will find dust bunnies on the bottom of your closet. Spending time deep cleaning your closet will add that extra sparkle as a finishing touch.

These simple steps should be a helpful guide to get your closet in tip-top shape in no time. If anything, hopefully this post inspired and motivated you to go through your closets and get organized. This winter has consisted of brutal temperatures and icy roads, organizing your closets could be the perfect cure to your cabin fever!

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Reject These Common Reasons for Keeping Clutter

Janine Adams

Janine Adams is the founder of Peace of Mind Organizing®

Written by guest blogger Janine Adams

As a professional organizer, I often help guide clients’ decisions about whether or not to keep or part with items. For some people, letting go is really tough. When they have more stuff than they can store, it can lead to some interesting conversations about why they want to hang on to things.

There are three common reasons I hear for wanting to keep items that are no longer used or loved. these reasons don’t hold water with me. If you hear yourself saying any of these things about items you don’t use or love, I encourage you to think twice about keeping them.

 1. I paid a lot for that! You know what? You may have paid a lot, but the money’s gone. And the only way you might get any of it back is to sell the item or donate it and take a tax deduction. What’s more, there are hidden costs to keeping it: you probably beat yourself up when you see it, so there’s an emotional cost. If you trip over it, you could hurt yourself and pay a physical and monetary price. And if you pay to store it just because you paid a lot for it, things are starting to get ridiculous.

2.  I might need it some day. You’re right, you might. But then again you might not. And if you can’t find it when you need it, then keeping it doesn’t do you much good. I think we all live in fear of discarding something and then discovering that we need it. It makes us feel stupid. But realistically, what’s the worse-case scenario? You get another one. In my opinion, if you have more stuff than you can store, the actual benefit of parting with an item you don’t need now (i.e. creating space) outweighs the potential benefit of having it on hand should you ever need it.

3. It was a gift. Gifts are tough. You hate to disappoint the gift giver by getting rid of something given in love. But, again, if you have more stuff than you can store, wouldn’t the gift giver prefer that you let it go? Regift it. Donate it. Just get it into the hands of someone who will actually use or love it. It gets even more tricky when the gift giver has passed away. But that unloved and unused gift won’t bring them back. Perhaps you have a mutual friend or family member who would treasure that item. If so, pass it along. It boils down to this: Just because someone gave you something doesn’t mean you have to hold on to it forever.

When you’re trying to conquer clutter, try not to fall into the trap of these excuses for keeping stuff you really don’t need. Once you let the excess go, I bet you’ll feel liberated.

Janine Adams is a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, Missouri, and the founder of Peace of Mind Organizing®. She helps clients create order, harmony and, yes, peace of mind, by helping them declutter and create new systems and routines. The co-creator of Declutter Happy Hour, she is a blogger for Rubbermaid and has appeared on both A&E’s Hoarders and TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive documentary TV series.