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.

 

  1. 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  If an item is uncomfortable or ill-fitting, stained, ripped, worn out, outdated, or inappropriate for your age or the image you desire to project, it may be time to let it go.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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

Other ways to keep your clothes closets organized and clutter-free are:

  • Use sturdy hangers and avoid wire hangers as they rust, bend and do not provide good support for garments.
  • Whenever possible utilize the shelf and wall space to stack or hang items.  However, do not overload or assign too many items to one system.  For example, if you put up wall hooks for bags or purses, decide that you will put no more than three items on one hook.
  • By all means, keep as much off the floor as possible.  Stuff on the floor can be a safety hazard, as well as contribute to excessive and unnecessary wear and tear on garments.
  1. Prevent future closet clutter by making a commitment to maintenance and conscious consumption.

Make maintaining an organized closet an ongoing activity.   Organization is not a one-time job because things don’t stay organized without attention and maintenance.  Quarterly sessions scheduled into your calendar for regular maintenance can make keeping closets organized easier.

 

When shopping, ask yourself if you can use something you already own to fill a need before you buy something new.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you will take it back if it doesn’t work or you decide you don’t need it.  Few people follow through on that commitment.

 

I cannot overstate the power and joy of organizing and decluttering your closets.  Once you start, you will feel a change in the flow of energy, experience increased satisfaction, and save money and time.  Remember, less is more. If you have only what you love, looks good, and what perfectly fits your lifestyle, you’ll have more confidence, energy and success.

 

Perhaps these following famous people can better drive the point home:

 

 True elegance consists not in having a closet bursting with clothes, but rather in having a few well-chosen numbers in which one feels totally at ease.   Coco Chanel

 

 

They should put expiration dates on clothes, so we would know when they go out of style.    Gary Shandling

 

 

I did not have 3,000 pairs of shoes.  I had 1,600.  Imelda Marcos

Spring is the perfect time to create a plan for clearing out, cleaning up and making way for the new.  Some people look forward to the process and the wonderful sense of rejuvenation and peace that comes with it, while others are overwhelmed by the thought of where to start.

 

Here are four steps to help you get started.  If you take it step by step, and task by task, you can make the seasonal transition a simple and graceful process:

 

Step 1.  Assess the situation.  Go from room to room and make a comprehensive list of everything you want to do in each room to make it clean and fresh.  Think in terms of what needs to be eliminated, cleaned, replaced or repaired.

 

Step 2.  Create categories.  Break your room-by-room lists of tasks into three groups:

  • Decluttering:  note items to swap out, store, donate, or sell.
  • Housework:   jot down what needs cleaning
  • Repairs:  list things to fix or replace.

Use this checklist for ideas.

DECLUTTER:

o  Declutter the closets by donating clothes you no longer need or wear

o  Eliminate unneeded small appliances, cookware and dishware that are cluttering the kitchen.

o  Eliminate extra books you’ll never read again

o  Go through your craft supplies and recycle abandoned projects

o  Clear out the hall closet and store the winter coats, hats and gloves

CLEAN:

o  Have drapes and carpeting professionally cleaned

o  Wash the windows inside and out and clean the blinds

o  Clean the refrigerator, oven and stove

o  Polish vinyl and wood floors

o  Clear out the cobwebs

RENEW:

o  Replace the welcome mat and throw rugs

o Swap out bedspreads and replace pillows

o  Replace the shower head, shower liners and curtain, and guest towels.

o  Replace the kitchen curtains

o  Replace burned out bulbs in ceiling fixtures or lamps

REPAIR:

o  Fix dripping faucets or running toilets

o  Repair holes in walls or broken tiles

o  Touch up wall paint

o  Repair broken windows or torn screens

 

Step 3.  Dedicate time.  Set aside specific blocks of time in your calendar for these tasks.  Having a time line and schedule will better ensure your success.  Make an appointment with yourself to get these jobs completed and keep that appointment.

 

Step 4.  Get help.  For the bigger jobs, decide whether to do-it-yourself or hire a professional.  You can also enlist the help of family members or friends.  A Certified Professional Organizer® can assist you with the decluttering process as well as keep you motivated and on task.

 

Spring brings new potential to all aspects of our lives.   A thorough spring cleaning is a great way to revitalize and rejuvenate your home and yourself.  Now is the time to clear out and clean up!

Maintaining an organized and efficient home or office doesn’t have to be daunting. You can do it in 5 to 15-minute chunks.  Keep this list of small tasks in a notebook or post it on a wall or bulletin board. Whenever you find a few spare minutes during the day, choose one or two tasks and make good use of the time.

IN THE OFFICE:

  • Clear the clutter from your desktop.
  • Return supplies and file folders to their proper homes.
  • Revise and rewrite your daily to-do list.
  • Start a box for things to take home.
  • Go through and organize a small pile of paper.
  • Pick anything up from the floor that doesn’t belong there.
  • Scan your email in-box for items to delete.
  • Read a short newsletter or article.
  • Update your voice mail message.
  • Make a list of phone calls you need to place or return.
  • Jot down a few ideas for your next business meeting.
  • Open, read and sort the day’s mail.
  • Organize receipts.
  • Go over and update your Outlook task list.
  • Pull out one or two overstuffed file folders and check for possible discards.
  • Review a project checklist.
  • Water the plants.
  • Organize a desk drawer.
  • Stretch your muscles.
  • Take a quick walk around the building.
  • Make an overdue phone call.
  • Transfer contact information from business cards to your computer.
  • Check over your calendar or appointment schedule.
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Practice deep breathing.
  • Create a mission statement.
  • Enjoy a healthy beverage or snack.
  • Take stuff to the building’s recycling center.
  • Organize your briefcase.
  • Relax and think beautiful thoughts.

 

IN THE HOME

  • Shake out all your throw rugs.
  • Clean out a kitchen drawer.
  • Wash the mirrors and glass on framed artwork.
  • Organize potting supplies in the garage.
  • Sweep out the garage.
  • Go through your hanging clothes and pull out six things for charity.
  • Put a load in the washer and start it up.
  • Clear off the front of the refrigerator or the bulletin board.
  • Check the pantry or refrigerator for expired foodstuff.
  • Organize your purse or briefcase.
  • Wash the dishes.
  • Clear off the seats and floor of the car.
  • Make the beds.
  • Fill a bucket with water and vinegar and wipe off the window sills.
  • Get out the vacuum and sweep the blinds.
  • Sort through catalogs and recycle.
  • Pull articles you want to keep from magazines.
  • Check coupons and gift cards for expiration dates.
  • Wash the fronts of all your cupboards.
  • Return CDs and DVDs to their cases.
  • Pull off the couch cushions and vacuum inside the couch.
  • Check the medicine cabinet for expiration dates.
  • Check all your battery run clocks to make sure they are still running.
  • Put scattered books, magazines, catalogs into a basket or bin.
  • Wash the bathroom, kitchen and entryway rugs.
  • Wash off the refrigerator shelves.
  • Clear out everything under the beds and vacuum.
  • Sort through kid’s school papers and artwork.  Put keepers in a folder.
  • Make a shopping or grocery list.
  • Take a walk, a shower or a nap.