I’ve been there:  I see a fabulous bargain I can’t pass up, so I snap it up; someone kindly passes something on to me I didn’t ask for, so I say yes to protect their feelings.  In either case, I end up with something in my space that has no place.  Next step is to look around my home trying to find somewhere to put it or just plop it on the floor to deal with later.  The lesson to be learned is that if something has no logical, useful or permanent place in my home, it has no business being there.

One approach is to get rid of something else to make room for the new item.  If you have a sweater drawer so full that it can’t possibly hold another sweater, don’t buy or accept another sweater until you go through that drawer and give away anything you no longer wear, love or need.

Another solution is to learn to say, “no.”  I love the idea of “conscious shopping.”  Most of us become temporarily unconscious when we shop.  We operate purely on emotion rather than being rational.  Instead of asking the logical questions, “Do I really need this?” or “Where is this going to go when I get it home?” and “What am I going to use this for?”  We say, “Ooh, how pretty, and so cheap!”  Now what?

When beloved friends or family members offer you their cast-offs and you are reluctant to refuse their kindness, just say, ”Thank you so much!  Let me go home and see if this goes with the rest of what I have and I’ll let you know if I can use it.”  Make sure this person knows you are grateful for the offer, but that the unsolicited item may not be for you and you know they will want to make sure it goes to the perfect recipient.

Face it, there is very little we actually need.  Our spaces are already crammed with items we rarely, if ever, use.  First, ask yourself this question:  “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do I need, love or want this thing?”  Then ask, “Does it really have a space and a place?

 

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