Having a curated, organized closet is pivotal to leaving your home on time, being more efficient and productive, as well as to have sufficient clothing for every season and activity. But there are other values as well: you’ll save money by not having to move to create more storage, will not purchase items you may already have and will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. All it takes is an afternoon and the fortitude to part with some of your stuff. Next, we’ll show you how to keep your closet organized, and your life, just the way you want it. Here’s how it’s done:
Examine Your Wardrobe
Take everything out and lay clothing on the bed, and boxes, storage bins on the floor. This first part is the hardest, but it will make the rest of the afternoon go much faster and easier. Evaluate whatcha got. Try clothing on in front of a mirror if necessary. If you love an item but it does not compliment you or worse, highlights a problem area, put it in a contractor bag (so you cannot see it again) earmarked for donations.
Segregate your wardrobe by different categories: Work/Athletic/Casual/Formal. Put these items back in your closet and color code them. This means all the blue tops for work are together, followed by another shade and includes everything you use for that activity in that color. Put short-sleeved tops together by color, long sleeve, etc. Soon your closet will start looking very organized. Best of all- you will find what you need more easily.
If you are having problems parting with garments because you think you’ll need them later, try this hack: replace all garments in your closets with the hook facing AWAY from you. If you wear a garment, return to the closet with the hook facing TOWARD you. After a few months, donate any garments facing AWAY from you. You’re not using them and someone else will be glad to!
BTW: if you find your wardrobe is deficient or lacking certain items, know that it is not necessary to go out on a shopping spree at a retail store. Instead, keep your carbon footprint small and your region’s landfill contained by purchasing quality used clothing from reputable online vendors or the local thrift store.
Consider installing a DIY Closet Organizer
Many times, we just contend with builder-grade rods behind suspended doors. For a modest cash outlay and one weekend day of labor, you can change all that and create the closet organization that works for your needs. Once you have culled your wardrobe, you’ll have a better idea of how you would like to access these garments and therefore, what you’ll need. There are several brands and even custom closet companies, but for most of us, a vinyl-coated steel wire kit and several hours measuring and using simple hand tools, possibly a drill, will make a big difference in our lives for years to come.
Reevaluate Your Storage Bins
Consider keeping outerwear and seasonal clothing in a zippered hanging storage bag(s) in your hall closet by the front door. That will make way for more room in your bedroom closet. There is no point in having storage that isn’t in daily use.
Save space by investing in hangers that hold multiple items for skirts, leggings, pants, camisoles, and tank tops. There are even hanging storage holders for shoes and footwear. For a truly cohesive look, use only one type of hangers such as those thin velvet styles that come in an array of colors and metals. The good news is that recently this type became available in heavy-duty strength as well- no more doubling and tripling up hangers to support maxi coats!
Save your upper shelf space for items you do not use often such as winter hats, wool scarves, and mittens. Label these with Post-It™ notes to make locating what you’ve stored much easier later on. Instead of storing out of season handbags on shelves, consider accessory hooks so you can see what you have at a glance. BTW: Stuff tissue paper from the craft store inside to help these items retain their shape. No bureau for nightwear, underwear, and hosiery? Put these in labeled bins on the shelves below eye level for quick everyday access.
A great trick to save hanging space is by rolling tee shirts in a sausage roll and placing them upright in a storage bin. This way they remain unwrinkled, take little space and are easy to identify and remove as needed. Just reach on in!
Good to Keep on Hand
An unraveling seam has sent many a fine garment to the donate bin way before its time. No one has the time to get out the sewing machine every time they need a quick repair. Get the most wear from your wardrobe by keeping a sewing repair kit with scissors, a measuring tape, pins, needles, and an assortment of threads in your laundry area. While hand-held steamers are economical, hanging a garment in the bath after your shower will work just as well. And if you really love your clothes, find room in your closet and budget for a professional garment steamer. These can be found for under $100 and are worth every cent.
What? No Closet?
Hard as it is to imagine a life without clothes hanging space, we have all lived at some time with limited options. In these instances, here are a few suggestions:
ARMOIRES: Victorians had ‘em and many of these bulky furniture items feature mirrored doors and shelves or drawers inside as well as hanging space.
ROLLING GARMENT RACKS: These are available at many big box stores as well as online and are most often crafted from chromed steel. They feature an edgy look and can be accessorized with zippered hanging garment bags to keep your clothes dust-free. Most racks require assembly- invite a couple of friends over, order a pizza and make a party of it!
THAT SWEDISH HOME GOODS STORE: You know the one. They sell great spring-loaded, free-standing closet components that are available in set combinations or for DIYers to create their own. These units start at about $150 and up but if you rent, these are easy to take with you.
ROLLING UNDERBED STORAGE: These units come with segmented interiors for different types of folded apparel and feature clear zippered tops for easy access.
STEAMER TRUNKS: Chances are if you have a steamer trunk it is being used for TV remote storage. Evict them puppies, buy them a bowl, and use the interior space instead for out of season bedding, coats, jackets, sweaters, etc.
BOOKCASE: If you have one, cull through your reading material and donate as many bestsellers, etc. as you can. Use that shelving space for bins to store shoes, accessories, lingerie, etc. instead. After all, today the majority of us read our literature online!
We hope our suggestions will help you control clutter, find new homes for disused apparel, and curate your wardrobe and home furnishings to include only what works for you. This way you can reclaim time- dressing for work will go faster, you can use this ‘found time’ for more important things, and when you have just what you need within easy reach, your self-esteem soars.