How to Organize a Closet 1

How to Organize a Closet

Are you afraid to open your clothes closet because you may get hit in the head with an avalanche?

No worries. . .the “How to Organize a Closet” tips on this page will help you!!

I have always enjoyed figuring out how to make things better and more efficient, and closets are a great place to begin to get a handle on your home organization. If you clean, organize and maximize the closet space you have, you might have room to put away more items in the closet and thereby make the other areas of your home more organized as well.

This article focuses specifically on how to organize a closet for clothing.

Before you begin, take time to get the following items ready:

  • Schedule several hours of un-interrupted time (or 1-2 days depending on the size of your closet and the amount of clothing you need to deal with
  • At least 4 large trash bags or boxes. Label them “Trash”, “Repair,” “Donate,” and “Keep.” You can print the handy labels under the FREE STUFF section of this website.
  • Vacuum, dust cloth or Swiffer Duster (telescoping handle works great here), step ladder
  • Music -- it will make the job easier and increase your energy and motivation!

How to Organize a Closet – Step 1: Remove all clothes and shoes (and anything else stored in there) from the closet. If you’re sure you will be finished in one day, go ahead and pile them on your bed. However, if you won’t be done before bedtime (or you’re not sure), put them on a table, a sheet on the floor, the bed in the guest room or other location. This will prevent you from having to move the items off your bed at the end of the day when you’re tired and ready to get some much needed rest.

Now that the closet's empty, vacuum the floor and baseboards. Dust the rods and get rid of any dust-bunnies! If your closet needs a fresh coat of paint, do that now as well.

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How to Organize a Closet – Step 2: Assess each item one at a time. Examine it carefully. Is it dirty? Does it have rips or tears? Are the zippers working? Are there one or more buttons missing? When was the last time your wore it? Is it the correct size (the size your currently are, not the size you were or want to be)?

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How to Organize a Closet – Step 3: Place each item in one of the four bags/boxes. If you haven’t worn the item in 6 months or more, don’t keep it!! Donate it! Let someone else benefit from it. Unless you absolutely love it and it’s been MIA, you probably won’t wear it anyway. The same idea goes for items that are too large or too small. Place them in the “Donate” pile.

If the items are ripped, torn, stained and un-wearable, place them in the “Trash” pile.

For items that are the correct size (the size you are currently wearing), and need simple mending (buttons replaced, etc.), place them in the “Repair” pile.

The rest of the items can go into the “Keep” pile.

Sort your shoes into one area.

Sort purses into another area.

Sort accessories (scarves, belts, hats, etc.) into another area.

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How to Organize a Closet Step 4: Trash the trash immediately. Take the “Donate” items out immediately before proceeding.

Once that is done, I recommend going through the “Keep” pile a second or third time and re-assess every item again. We often get emotionally attached to clothes and keep many things that we will never, ever wear – especially if someone we love gave it to us. You can keep the memory, but ditch the clothing!

Don’t get into the: “I’m going to get back to a Size 6 and wear that again” mentality. While you might get back into a Size 6, if you work at it, the reality for all of us is, we probably won’t. And . . . if you do, consider the fact that purchasing something new in a Size 6 is your reward for all that hard work!!

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How to Organize a Closet Step 5: Deal with the “Repair” items now. Don’t wait – this will only prolong the process. If you’re not good with a needle and thread, ask someone you know who sews to take care of these items for you. Alternatively, take it to a dry cleaners (they usually have someone who sews/repairs clothing). Deliver these items to get them taken care of before you proceed. If you wait, it may not get done

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How to Organize a Closet Step 6: Categorize the “Keep” Items. Now that you’ve pared down your “Keep” pile, it’s time to decide how you want to store what you’ve kept. The main two divisions of clothing are seasonal --- Spring/Summer – Fall/Winter. Separate your “Keep” clothing into these two categories.

It’s best to store your off-season clothing in a separate closet. If space is limited, consider using an under the bed storage container or an off season storage bag. You can also check with your dry cleaners as they often provide storage service for those with limited space.

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How to Organize a Closet Step 7: Create a System. Create a system that works for you to organize your clothing. Here are some ideas that various people use to organize their clothing:

  • By Occasion: Formal, work, causal, sport
  • By Type: Dresses, pants, blouses, sweaters
  • By Color: Put all items of the same color together

You can even combine these types to create a more specialized system:

  • Sort by Occasion then,
  • Sort by Type then,
  • Sort by Color

You can even sort blouses into short sleeve and long sleeve combinations. Use something that is simple, easy and makes sense to you. It’s YOUR closet – it doesn’t have to look like a magazine!

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How to Organize a Closet Step 8: Assess your closet storage space requirements. Look at the closet space you have. Is it wide, narrow, tall? Do you have a high ceiling? Do you have room for hanging shoe storage or space for floor or shelving units? Each closet space is different.

You also need to determine what types of items you will be storing (do you have more dresses than separates – if so, you will need longer storage areas to accommodate dresses than if you were storing pants, blouses, skirts, etc.).

Depending on the space you have, you may wish to purchase some additional storage items such as:

  • Over the door hangers and shoe storage hangers
  • Additional rods, hooks, bins, baskets
  • Special shelving (Home Depot, Lowes, Container Store carry closet shelving items and have people on staff that can help you decide what works for you)
  • Under the bed storage containers and/or bed risers to lift your bed high enough to place additional storage in this space Look at the door/opening to your closet. Is it a single door or double? Doors can hinder storage space. You can perform a little carpentry magic to amend the door. A simple alternative would be to remove the door and replace it with an adjustable rod and pretty curtain.

If your closet has a high ceiling or a ceiling with a slope, it is possible to hang a rod high up (2 or 3 inches from the ceiling). This is a good place to hang off season clothes or items that are worn only occasionally (holidays and other special occasions, e.g. weddings).

How to Organize a Closet Step 9: Purchase what you need. Take time now to measure your closet. Proceed to purchase what you need to store your “Keep” items. If you seek the help of a closet storage specialist at one of the stores mentioned above, realize that it might take extra time to acquire and install the system. Make allowances for this and keep your clothing out of your closet (if possible) until the installation is complete. This will save time and energy from putting the clothing up and taking them out again.

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How to Organize a Closet Step 10: Decorate? Before installing your new organizers and putting up your “Keep” items, consider decorating your closet. Paint and wall paper can make your closet look and feel like a designer boutique! You can hang some great smelling sachets to make your closet smell as great as it looks.

How to Organize a Closet Step 11: Put up the “Keep” Items. It’s now time to put back the clothing and accessories back in the closet using all the wonderful organizing items your purchased. Take advantage of every shelf , hook, nook and cranny!

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Step back and enjoy the view. Next time you feel like spending money shopping for new clothes, take a minute to assess what you have in your very own personal “Boutique.” You may decide to save the money for a vacation instead!

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