IMG_0050Your closet can easily become an unorganized,  jumbled mess. It holds all sorts of clothes, from t-shirts to formal wear, and cozy sweaters to tank tops. Don’t forget about shoes and accessories like belts, hats, purses, and scarves. For some of us, it’s also a place to store random items that we aren’t sure where else to keep.

Because most people probably use their bedroom closet at least once a day, it’s important to keep this space organized. However, this can require a bit of upkeep to maintain, since traffic is high and clothing is so frequently removed and placed into the closet.

What Belongs in My Closet?

The first step to closet organization is to decide what really belongs (and fits) in there. Ask yourself: Is this closet large enough to fit the current season’s clothes and provide storage for summer clothes? Is there enough space for accessories and other items?

Figure out what and how much you can realistically fit and remember that less is more in this case. Less clutter means you will be more easily be able to open your closet and locate what you need. This will result in much simpler and less stressful mornings. For the clothes and items that don’t fit in your closet or you no longer need, designate a box for self storage, to donate to charity, to sell, or send to the dumpster.

IMG_0047How Can I Decide Which Clothes to Keep?

There have been studies that say most people only wear 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time. Why do we keep the rest around? Clothing can sometimes hold sentimental value or retain memories, but with limited closet space, it’s important to keep practicality in mind. Try not to make excuses for keeping clothes that you no longer wear (or have never worn).

For example, you may want to keep clothes around because you hope to someday fit in it or have the confidence to wear it, you think it may come back in style, it was a gift and you feel bad giving it up, or “just in case” you need it. Let go of these thoughts and focus on whether it is an article of clothing you will realistically wear within the next six months.

To help narrow down your clothing, consider removing the following:

  • Anything torn, stained, or worn out
  • Anything that no longer fits
  • Anything that is out of style or you no longer like
  • Anything you haven’t worn in the past year
  • Anything that still has tags on it and isn’t new

What If I Don’t Want to Part With It?

Here’s an idea if you have clothes that aren’t practical, but you aren’t yet ready to give them up: Place them in a storage bin in self storage or just another room of the house. Wait it out for the next few months. If you find an opportunity to wear something from the bin, great! Pull it out of storage and put it back in your closet. If you realize that you don’t really miss the clothes and may have even forgotten about them, you can then give them up for real. Another idea: If you have t-shirts from special occasions and activities, sew them into a t-shirt quilt.

IMG_0051How Should I Organize My Closet?

Hang like items together, with the most worn items towards the front, and then sort by color. For example, if you work five days a week, you’ll want to see your work shirts first when you open the closet. Hang them all together and organized from lightest to darkest.

To make the closet look more uniform, purge any random wire hangers and invest in plastic hangers of the same color. It may seem like a small thing, but it can actually go a long way in making the closet appear more organized.

Don’t forget about the other stuff: Setup organization tools for accessories: a hook for belts, a basket for purses, and shelving for shoes.

Sweaters and t-shirts are items that would also benefit from a shelving unit. These are made of a more delicate material that can lose its shape and stretch when left on a hanger too long. It’s better to fold these and place on a shelf in the closet or in a drawer.

Check up on the closet organization every time you do laundry. Make sure things are in the right place and your mornings will be much simpler the rest of the week.

How Do I Maintain My Closet Organization?

IMG_0049Once you get rid of the excess items, and you can take inventory and better identify what is missing from your wardrobe. A key to maintaining organization is to limit new clothes you bring in. Think about whether you really need it before buying something new. If you don’t need it, but really want it, consider getting rid of a similar item currently in your closet when you bring in a new purchase. For example, if you find a great pair of jeans on sale, but already have enough jeans, just purge an older pair to make room for the new.

You’ll probably want to repeat this decluttering and organization process once or twice a year. If you have a smaller closet and transition your clothes between seasons, that is the perfect time to also declutter. If you have a bigger closet that can store all your clothes year round, make sure to schedule a time to reorganize.