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Closet Organizing Systems

Organizing closets doesn't have to be a scary exercise in futility. Once you've cleared everything out, follow these 3 steps to achieve a closet in which you can actually find everything!

What To Do With All Those Clothes

1. Separate Clothes Into 5 Piles

    A. Clothes that are outdated, ripped, stained, don't fit, are out of fashion, or you wouldn't dream of ever wearing again.

    SPECIAL TIP

    It's very tempting to keep clothes that are no longer new but not entirely worn out.

    But ask yourself this: How many old T-shirts do you really need to keep for washing the car or doing yardwork? Keep 2 or 3 and get rid of the rest.


    B. Clothes that need minor repairs.
    C. Clothes you love and wear at least once a month.
    D. Special occasion clothes.
    E. Any other items that don't fit into the other 4 categories.

2. Organize What's Left

    A. Clothes You Don't Want. Take all the clothes from Category A above and, depending on their condition, either put them immediately into a large plastic garbage bag and dump it into the trash or donate them tomorrow to your local charity.

    B. Clothes to Repair. Put all the clothes from Category B that need to be repaired into a basket or container and give yourself a two week deadline to get all the repairs made (either by you or your seamstress).
    If it's not done in two weeks, dump or donate the entire basket. After all, if it's not important enough for you to repair, it's clutter, and it's very easy for clutter to build up in the closet.

    C. Clothes You Love. Sort everything in your C pile by category of clothing (blouses, skirts, pants, suits, etc.).
    Then hang up each category in your closet in the following order: sleeveless to long-sleeved, light to dark, short to long.
    This helps you plan your outfits in advance to save time later. And if you've ended up with 10 white blouses, consider donating some of them!
    If you share a closet with someone, put each individual's clothing on either side of the closet. Don't mix them together.
    Think vertical – double tier closet rods will literally double the amount of hanging space in your closet (shirts on the top, pants on the bottom).

    D. Specialty Clothes. If your closet is still looking a bit full, take your specialty clothes or out-of-season clothes and hang them in a guest room closet or some other location. When organizing closets with a client, we hung all of her formal dresses in a canvas garment bag and put them on a rod in her garage since she had very little closet space in her home.

    E. Miscellaneous Items. Categorize and organize everything in your Category E pile into inexpensive organizing containers so that each category remains separated and place the containers on shelves in your closet (i.e., purses, scarves, tote bags, etc.)
    Ice cube trays work great for storing jewelry. Over-the-door shoe racks or tiered shoe racks that go on the floor are great for "capturing" shoes into one location.

"Ann was extremely helpful and productive. She assisted me with an incredible amount of work for the time she worked with me. She explained things very well and did not judge me for the mistakes I had made prior to meeting her. I would refer her to others and use her again. In fact, I would not want to work with anyone else!" -Brian, Sacramento CA

3. Fun Finishing Touches and Practical Closet Organizing Ideas

  • If you have an empty closet wall, install a few hooks to hang belts, umbrellas, handbags, and even long necklaces.
  • Think quality, not quantity, and don't overstuff! You should be able to easily get an item in or out of your closet.
  • Don't buy another thing to wear without first determining if you really need it.
  • Organizing closets is not a one-time task. Go through your clothes and shoes once a year and purge those items you no longer want.
  • Keep related items together in storage containers that are clearly labeled so you can identify them when you need them.
  • If you have a lot of folded clothes, install some open shelves, bins or a drawer system in your closet for easy access.
  • Keep clothes that need ironing in a basket in your laundry room or near your ironing board, not on a chair in the bedroom.
  • Keep several baskets in your closet for laundry, dry cleaning and mending – only hang up clothes that are currently wearable.
  • Don't forget to “go vertical” on your closet shelves. Clear storage bins work well, or if there's room, install extra shelves and keep a step stool nearby to reach them.

"I've used Ann's organizing services to help with my garage and shed. I had boxes and files that I had stored for many years. Not only did Ann persevere through all my stuff, but she kept me focused and really helped me make very tough decisions on personal things. Even though it was hard work, we were able to also laugh and have fun. She was like the energizer bunny! I now can park my car in my garage and all my Christmas decorations are stored out in my shed. I plan to use her services again to gradually go through my house. I would not hesitate to recommend Ann to anyone who needs her services."
-Dale, Carmichael, CA

Celebrate! Stand in your closet and go WOW!!! You did it and doesn't it feel great? You've become an expert in closet organizing systems.

Now when you go into your closet to get dressed, you may have a lot fewer items but they're going to be ones you know you like, they fit, and you feel good wearing them.

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