Stumbling through the bathroom door, you stoop to pick up the pair of shoes you tripped over. Glancing around, your eyes follow the trail of discarded t-shirts, jackets, and pants.
You know why that stuff is all over the floor, and it’s not just because you’re lazy. It’s because getting things in or out of the closet is a task. Crammed in haphazardly, clothing cascades down the shelves. Shutting the door is almost impossible; you really only shove it closed when company comes over.
Sighing in defeat, you grab an outfit from the clean laundry pile on the chair in the corner. Everything is wrinkled, but maybe no one will notice you wore the same blouse Monday if you do something different with your hair…[/box]
If this story sounds familiar, you’re probably already aware that a disorganized closet can have a much bigger impact on your life than just how you look. Messy clothing storage is responsible for unprofessional appearance, late arrival times, and an inability to dress appropriately for the weather. Plus, not being able to see all of your options can seriously limit your wardrobe choices.
Luckily, it’s not hard to maximize your space and get the most out of your closet. Here are three straightforward steps to help you make it happen.
1 . Take it out, and sort it!
The first step in any organizing project is to really see what you’re working with, so start by taking everything out of your closet: every blouse, every skirt, every sweater. While you are pulling things out, start sorting, too. Dressy clothes, work clothes, casual, seasonal – categorize them in whatever way makes the most sense to you. These categories are also going to help you when it’s time to put everything away, so it’s important to find categories that work and make sense to you. As you pull items out of the closet, put them in their categorized piles.
Pulling everything out allows you to see what you have, and sorting shows you how many items you have in each category. Both are helpful when it comes time to decide what to keep and what to let go, which is the next step of the process.
2 . Purge it!
Here is the tricky part: going through all of your clothes and deciding what to keep and what to let go. As organizers, we know this is the hardest step! Here are some basic questions to ask yourself: Does it fit? Does it flatter you? Have you worn it within the last two years? Will you actually have the chance to wear it in the future? The last two years question is an important one because if you don’t wear it, it doesn’t matter whether it fits and flatters or not.
The only exception is formal wear. Everyone needs one suit/dress/dressy outfit. But only one or two. (Not all four of your high school prom dresses. From the nineties.)
If you’re struggling because you spent a lot of money on something, because the clothing has never been worn and still has tags on it, or because you think you should sell it to recoup your investment, here is what most professional organizers will tell you:
Yes, you spent money on those clothes and yes, you could probably sell them. But, is it worth your time? How much time will it take to go online and make an ad? To field messages and questions about the clothes you’re selling? To arrange a rendez-vous to deliver them (or, the alternate option, to invite strangers into your home)?
Is selling really worth it? Or are your time and space worth more?
Donating gets the clutter out of your home and allows someone else to enjoy them immediately, without all the hassle (and with the tax deduction!). Donations are truly a gift to others, a gift I can tell you firsthand is deeply appreciated by those who cannot afford new clothing with the tags on.
One last word on purging: If you have a lot of clothing that is too small, and you’re saving it because you are planning on losing weight, resist the urge to keep the entire wardrobe of small sizes. Instead, only keep one or two of your favorite pieces to remind you of your goal. Creating a new wardrobe once you reach your goal weight is the fun part! And, in the meantime, you won’t be drowning in clutter.
3 . Put it back!
Now that everything is sorted and purged, the only items that should be left are the things you are actually going to wear. Hooray!
As you put the puzzle together, figuring out where you want each type of item to live, take the time to make sure everything works for you, not the way that you think it should look. Your closet should add efficiency to your morning, not cause frustration and confusion. If that means putting work clothes on one side and casual clothes on the other, even if it means you have shirts in more than one place, that’s okay! You can also label shelves and use hanging clothing dividers to help you remember where everything goes while you’re getting used to your new system.
Though it’s certainly a project unto itself, taking the time to organize your closet will benefit you in the long run. Imagine smoother mornings, more variety in your outfits, and a bedroom and closet that feel great!
Too busy, overwhelmed, or tired to tackle it on your own? Want a little support? We can help! Contact us, and we’ll be glad to talk about specific closet solutions that are right for you.