Five Tips for Closet Nirvana
Have you ever found yourself thinking that your closet has just too much open space? That it’s too easy to find things? Have you never lost a garment only to have it turn up months later on a hanger in the bowels of your closet? Is your entire closet filled only with the clothes you like to wear? Does your spouse hate how quickly you can find and get dressed in the perfect outfit? Have you ever wanted to invite your friends over to admire how you can locate anything and everything in your closet in 15 seconds or less?
If your closet is a cornucopia of closet goodness, then this article is not for you. For the other 99% of us, you’ve tried everything from buying closet organizers (and paying way too much for them) to moving into a new house just to get more closet space. There are five simple tips you can implement today to save your clothing, your closet, and your sanity.
No offense, but you have too much stuff. Before you can begin to organize your closet, you need to remove the excess. Start by getting two large boxes. Label one “Donate” and the other “Sell” (or if the extra income isn’t worth the bother, congratulations, you only need one box). Put them on the floor of your closet.
Go through each item in your entire closet and ask yourself just one question: “Have I worn this in the last year?” If the answer is no, toss it in the Donate box unless it’s a high dollar item that would consign well in which case it goes into the Sell box. Remember that you’re not making judgment calls about whether or not one day hot pants may come back in style. Just purge everything you haven’t worn for over a year.
Everyone has their own style of sorting and we’re going to assert for the moment that a sorted closet is a good thing. For most people, closets are sorted by either type of clothing or by the cram-things-wherever-there’s-room method. The problem with sorting first by type of clothing is that it makes you go through a bunch of clothing that you would never think of wearing at this time of year.
Hopefully, you’ve just finished purging so you have some empty space to work. Begin by sorting clothing by season (winter, summer, etc.). The benefit of this is it puts all clothes that you might want to wear near each other. Not only does this mean you can ignore the other areas when they’re out of season, you can easily find items that go together because they’ll be in close proximity.
Once you’ve sorted by season, feel free to sort by type of clothes: Pants, jeans, suits, short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops, and so on. For your accessories, put them where you can see them. Too many of us are “out of sight, out of mind,” so avoid drawers. If you’re going to use bins, make sure they’re of the clear sided variety so you can see what you own.
As a bonus tip, while you’re sorting each item, turn around the hanger on the closet rod. When you wear something, turn the hanger around the correct way. It makes it easy to see what you really like to wear, and in a year, you can purge everything that’s still on a backwards hanger.
When you walk into your closet, you should think to yourself, “I’m really happy I spent a small mint on my wardrobe, because it makes me look great.” The easiest way to make you actually want to spend time in your closet is to make sure you have good lighting.
In the early days of closets, a single, small wattage bulb was all that architects felt was necessary. This is why early architects tended to dress poorly: they could never see anything in the darkness of their closets. If at all possible, get someone to install better lighting in your closet, the brighter, the better. If you’re lucky enough to be able to put in a skylight, you’ll have the added benefit of natural sunlight (just remember to use UV-screened glass to minimize clothing fading).
If you have a single bulb and can’t redo your closet lighting right now, go with a high as wattage bulb as is safe. Also, use one of the “natural color” bulbs so when you pick out your outfit for the day, you’re seeing the colors as if you’re out in the real world.
Minimize Visual Clutter
While we’re on the subject of improving your ability to see things in your closet, try to reduce visual clutter where you can. One of the worst offenders are wire hangers and the plastic bags that our dry cleaning comes back in. Not only are these bad for your clothes, they clutter your closet, so take things out of the bags and re-hang them on decent hangers when you get them back from the cleaners.
Also, don’t use your wardrobe closet for long-term storage (like suitcases). Space is limitless, but your closet should be for your clothes since you wear them a whole lot more often than you wear your suitcase.
Maintain Your Wardrobe
How often do you go to put something on and realize it needs to be dry cleaned? For most of us, our immediate response is to leave it in the closet in the hopes that we’ll remember to take it when we go back to the cleaners the next time. Instead, hang a dry cleaning bag in your closet and when you find those items that need to be cleaned, put them in the bag. Also, items that you take off that need to be dry cleaned should be immediately put in the bag as well.
You should also have two other bags in your closet. You need a bag designated for things that need to be repaired. The next time you find there’s a button missing or a zipper won’t close, put the item in the To Be Repaired bag and the next time you’re feeling up to it, deal with everything in the bag all at once.
You should also have a bag for donations. If you go to take an item out and it’s torn or irreparably stained, put it in the Donate bag. If you find an item just doesn’t fit you and unless your body morphs drastically never will, put it in the Donate bag too. Don’t hesitate, put it in the bag and let it be gone forever. The five tips above simple to manage and easy to implement. You’ll find that the happiness it gives you the next time you quickly find an article of clothing or an entire outfit is priceless.
Tonia Tomlin is the Founder and President of Sorted Out™ and Sorted Out Publishing. Tonia is an author, publisher, speaker and mother of twin girls. She has been featured on HGTV’s, Mission: Organization, and is the author of the book Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms-of-Multiples’ Guide to an Organized Family
. For more information, please email: Tonia@SortedOut.biz or visit www.SortedOut.biz