Tuesday, September 20, 2011

5 Steps to an Organized Closet

Summer is over, the kids are back in school and suddenly you look around your house and realize that while you were out frolicking in the summer sun, your house and especially your closets are a disaster! Never fear, here are five steps to get you back on track to an organized closet (and hopefully keep you there!). This approach can work with any closet, from your mudroom to your bedroom closet.

Step 1: Purge & Sort
Once you begin this part of the process, it’s best to just plow through without stopping so make sure you have some uninterrupted time to dedicate to this step. It will be well worth it in the end, I promise!

Remove everything from your closet (yup, I mean everything!) and start sorting your belongings into 4 piles:

1) Items to keep,
2) items that belong somewhere else,
3) items that can be donated and
4) items that should be thrown.

The easiest task to tackle is items that really don’t belong in the closet. The box of Christmas lights that you shoved in your mudroom closet last January really doesn’t belong there! These items should be moved to their appropriate locations to free up more space. Likewise, if you are cleaning a bedroom closet and have extra storage space, move out of season clothing into storage until you need them again.

The hardest task to tackle in this step is identifying the items that are never used or are worn out and should be donated or thrown away. We all own a sweater or a pair of shoes that we have never worn but swear we will, once we have the perfect pants to wear with it of course! If you haven’t worn or used an item in 2 years you probably never will, so donate it. Someone will find that sweater and give it a good home where it is loved! If you find you simply can’t bear to give the item away, put it back in your closet for 6 months and if it hasn’t been used when the 6 months expire, donate the item.

The opposite end of the spectrum is items that have been used or worn to death and now are in disrepair. If it is broken or has holes or stains or rips, throw it out!

Step 2: Clean

After you have sorted through everything, take some time to clean your closet. Vacuum or sweep, wipe down the walls and dust the trim. Closets are rarely cleaned from top to bottom and a clean slate will feel great!

Step 3: Have a Strategy

You have done a fabulous job of sorting through and cleaning your closet. Now, before putting everything back in, take some time to think about how you use the space in your closet and what you can do to maximize it. A few closet organizers from the local store can make a big difference on a tight budget. If this is a closet that faces more challenges like space constraints or use by multiple family members, a custom closet is a great option to really maximize your closets potential.

The key here is using your wall space to its full potential and making sure that everything has a home where it can be found and put away easily. Adding vertical shelving space that holds sweaters or other items is a great way to add usable surface in a closet. Likewise, a shoe organizer can transform a jumbled pile of shoes into an organized and tidy space that protects your shoes and makes them easier to find.

Step 4: Move back in

Once you have installed your new organizational components, move your items back in! Again, take your time to think about how you use your items and put them back into the closet in ways that can make your life easier. For example, in a bedroom closet, sorting your clothes by color can ease the process of picking out your outfits in the morning. For mudroom closets, sorting jackets and other items by user can make getting out the door much faster.

Step 5: Maintenance

This is the most important step! A great closet organization system can do wonders for keeping your closets in tip top shape. However, a once or twice yearly purging and sorting of items in your closet will ensure that you never again reach the end of summer and wonder what happened to your house while you were out playing in the sun!

For more ideas on closet organization, check out the Closets For Life website. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Closets For Life is a custom closet company that works with residential clients as well as designers, builders and architects to create innovative solutions to all of your organizational needs. Closets For Life is a family owned and operated business.

Contact Closets For Life for a free in-home consultation for your new closet,
Ph: 952-484-0416, Email: rlyrek@closetsforlife.com

Shawnessy Schwartz
Closets For Life Aficionado

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