Closets are one of those areas where people struggle to find happiness. It should be so easy… You sort what you have, put it away properly, and that’s that, right? Instead, it seems that you can never find what you’re looking for, items seem to disappear, and still everything seems disorganized.
With winter keeping you indoors anyway, block off some time and get your closet space under control once and for all. With a bit of time, a few containers or bags, and this how-to guide, you can get your storage spaces properly organized.
Before you start emptying your closet, you’ll want to get a few things ready. This is a project that can feel overwhelming, so you need to set yourself up for success.
You’ll want some bags or baskets to sort your items into, a full-length mirror to help you assess your clothes, a garbage bin, and a catch-all container. A tape measure, a pen and paper are also recommended if you’re thinking about additional storage solutions.
Make sure that the room the closet is in is tidy. It will soon be buried under your closet’s contents, so you’ll want to start with a clear space. Make the bed and clear items off the floor.
To properly clean your closet, you’re going to need to empty it. That means removing everything. All clothes, boxes, bags, and anything else you find, need to come out. Taking extra care to group similar items will help you later but isn’t essential. You’re bound to find random articles of clothing in the unlikeliest places.
Now dust all the surfaces, getting into the corners. Run a vacuum across the floor to make sure you get all the dirt and dust. Finish things off with an all-purpose cleaner and a good scrub.
Once your closet is clear, it’s time to get serious. Some people love this part while others loathe it, but either way, it needs to be done. It’s time to decide what stays and what goes.
Take those containers or bags you prepped earlier and create the following categories: Keep, Sell, Donate, Dump, and Maybe. All of your items will be divided into these five categories.
Try on each article of clothing and make an honest assessment as to where it belongs. Do you love it? Do you enjoy wearing them? Will you actually wear them? If you can say “yes” to all three of these questions, put them in the Keep category. Otherwise, sort them based on their condition.
Having a Maybe box lets you hang onto those items you’re unsure about, but be careful. It’s easy to put off a difficult decision for later, but it won’t help you now. Keeping a few items that you don’t know about is okay, but don’t get carried away. Revisit your Maybe pile after a few months: if you still haven’t worn those items, chances are you won’t.
Once you’ve decided what’s staying, it’s time to think about how to structure your closet. This is when you should think about adding storage solutions to help manage your needs. Would a shoe shelf help, or would it take up space? How about some extra hangers?
Before you go shopping, see what you have at home that you can repurpose. A bookshelf or storage cubby that you already own might do the job just as well as a new item. If you do need to purchase an organizer, make sure to get your measurements right. Double-check them before you go shopping: organizing a closet is tough enough already. You don’t need to add multiple trips to the mall to the task.
Group similar items and return everything back to the closet. Keep the items that you use the most easily accessible. Things that don’t get as much use can be tucked away in the back where they’re out of sight until needed.
Organizing items by type will help you understand what your storage needs are. If you have a lot of shoes, maybe a new shoe shelf makes sense. If shirts and jackets outnumber the others, maybe another hanger rod is what you need.
Once everything has been put away, take the time to appreciate it while it lasts. It won’t maintain itself. If you’re not careful, things can get unruly quickly.
Since you’re now committed to keeping your closet organized, plan to take time every couple of weeks to sort through things. Put in the effort when you’re putting away laundry to properly sort things. Make sure that shirts are properly hung and pants are neatly folded.
Decluttering your closet may seem like a minor job, but it can have a massive impact on your day-to-day life. Having an organized space makes it easier for you to find what you’re looking for while keeping your clothes well-maintained.