The Secret to an Organized Closet

Organize Your Closet and Keep it Organized

How often have you organized your closet, only to find it messy a month later? You may feel like you are a missing piece of the puzzle. Having an organized garment closet may even feel like a losing battle.

The thing is, there are really two components to closet organization, the second being as important (if not more so) than the first: organizing and maintenance. It’s the maintenance part that most people drop the ball on. If you don’t regularly maintain your closet, you’ll have things you no longer wearand hidden clothes and items you can’t find—you know those things that get pushed to the back, only to be found years later when they are out of style or no longer fit. The reality of closet organizing is that it takes little time if you regularly thin, maintain, and adhere to your own organizing system.

Organize Your Closet 

Assess Your Clothes and Accessories

Do an assessment of what you wear and what you don’t wear. Keeping too-tight clothes is not really good motivation to lose weight and saving over-sized clothes is not the permission you need to pack on pounds.

Thin Your Clothing Collection

Put what you don’t want in a box for Goodwill. If it’s really valuable, put it on eBay, but do it now, not next month or never. If you have near-duplicates of clothing, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Do you have clothes that were gifts that you felt obligated to keep? Guess what? You don’t have to keep them. Really. They should’ve asked what you liked. You can do the Marie Kondo spark assessment and hold each item and see if it sparks joy. This can be problematic, however, if you are one of those people who have fireworks rather than sparks. If you are a person for whom everything causes excitement, you’re going to need more than the spark assessment to thin your belongings. You need to figure out how to tame that fire. This really will come down to prioritizing your needs versus your wants and figuring out just how you want your closet to be and what’s important to you. There may be larger issues here, but for today, we just want to help you clear out your closet, and know that, as wonderful as Marie Kondo is, the spark test isn’t everyone’s antidote for clutter, neither is the Konmari method. Feel free to be creative when organizing. It's more fun that way.

Create an Organizing Scheme

Decide on an organizational scheme. Would organizing your garments by type and color suit your brain, or would you rather have the clothes you wear most frequently in a prime location? This, of course, will also depend on what type of closet you own and how accessible things are. Do you have a standard walk-in closet or a modified weird attic cubby with atypical construction? Most people like their clothes arranged by color and garment type, but few people keep their clothes in this order. For a narrow, deep closet (found in many old homes and apartments), you may want to prioritize those things you wear most frequently and put less-frequented clothes towards the back.

Return/Rearrange Clothes in Closet

Once you have a plan, go at the task of arranging your clothes in the closet. Short on space? Think about the vertical and don’t be afraid to add double hangers or storage bins above and below the closet rod. Fabric bins are great for sweater and seasonal storage, and hanging shelves are great for fully utilizing your vertical space. If your closet is large, you can also use multiple hanging shelves to store shoes, jeans and a variety of other items.

Maintain Your Closet

Congratulations on finally organizing your closet. But this is important, if you don’t maintain it, you will be back to the cluttered mess you started from in no time, with tangled hangers, lost garments, and frustrating disorganization. Here are some quick tips for maintaining your closet and keeping it organized.

  1. File your clothing using the organizing scheme you already established. That means, put reds with reds, jeans with jeans, or put your clothes where you belong. You must be both your own boss and your obedient worker here. Follow your own rules.
  2. Don’t let clothes sit around in baskets. Established a dedicated laundry time and put the clothes away when they dry (in their designated place—see above). Don't let them sit around.
  3. Spend five or ten minutes each Saturday tidying your closet (in the event you misfiled a garment or accessory).
  4. Remove empty hangers to conserve space (plus they’ll be ready for when you need them). You can even invest in a hanger stand or rack to keep empty hangers consolidated.
  5. Observe the one-in-one-out rule. If you buy something new, donate something old. As you expand your clothing collection, your closet will not grow with it. Be realistic.
  6. If you don’t wear it, give it away and let someone else benefit from it.

When you get your closets organized, you’ll be amazed at how much less stressful your mornings are. Imagine a life where things are where they’re supposed to be, a life spent living rather than rummaging and looking for thing. And the less you have, the less time you’ll have to spend organizing and cleaning.

*Main photo courtesy of Organized Living.

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