Organize Any Closet in 5 Years

Posted on Aug 2 2012 - 12:43am

by Mary Sigmann, CPO

Many closets are so cluttered that just opening the door can make your heart sink. In an organized closet everything is accessible and there is a feeling of peace when you open the door.

How do you know when a closet needs organization? If you can’t see what you have, can’t find what you want when you want it, and feel frustrated every time you look inside, your closet needs organizing.

Here are five steps to turn your jumbled closet into one you will love.

1. Remove everything from the closet and spruce up the space.

Wipe down walls and shelving, sweep it out or vacuum carpeting. You are creating a masterpiece, so start with a clean canvas. If it’s a large closet, empty and clean it one section at a time to prevent discouragement and overwhelm.

2. Make three piles: 1) things to keep, 2) things to sell or give away, 3) things to throw out.

If you are organizing a clothes closet, everything you keep should fit, be in style and be ready to wear. If an item is uncomfortable or ill-fitting, stained, ripped, worn out, outdated, or inappropriate for your age or the image you desire to project, it may be time to let it go.

If you are organizing a storage closet, the things you keep should be in good and usable condition and worthy of the space they take.

If an item is in good condition, but no longer useful for your lifestyle, box or bag it up for charity or your next garage sale, or to pass on to someone you know who may better use it.

If it’s torn, broken, cracked, discolored, or in overall disrepair, and not capable of being repaired or refurbished, it’s probably time to throw it out.

If you are uncertain about an item, move it to another location to look at it again later. When the time comes to reassess your decision, ask yourself: “Do I really love it?” “Do I, or will I, ever use it?” If the answer is “no” get rid of it.

3. Take the “throwaways” directly to the trash, and the “giveaways” directly to your vehicle.

If your charitable donations are already in your car, the next time you are out and about you will be prepared to drop them off. Another benefit of getting these things immediately out of the house is that you will create space within your environment that can be used for additional sorting, organizing and decluttering.

4. Put back the items you are keeping so you can see and access everything easily.

There are several ways to organize a clothes closet:

- By season: hang the in-season items in the more convenient location of your closet and out-of-season clothes toward the back, stored in plastic bins, or in another location.

- By use: keep categories of clothes such as work, casual, evening, exercise or sports grouped together.

- By complete outfit: assemble everything for a single outfit together, including shoes and accessories.

- By color palette: group everything together that goes with black, same for brown and navy.

- By item type: keep all items of the same classification together, such as pants, blouses or shirts, sweaters, dresses, etc.

Use your lifestyle to decide which system best works for you. If you have to dress up for work each day, you may want to have complete outfits at the ready to minimize the amount of time you need each day to dress and prepare. If you are under no time pressure when choosing your daily outfit, any of the systems can work.

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