Whether you have a large walk-in closet or a small reach-in closet it’s important to keep it organized. The benefits of organizing your closet are many. The most obvious is that you can find the item of clothing or accessory easily. Another benefit is that you save money.
Benefit #1: Save money
Yes. You save money when you keep your closet organized because you know what you have so you don’t go out and buy duplicates or triplicates. And, because you are keeping your clothes tidy, they last longer.
Benefit #2: Save time
An obvious benefit to organizing your closet is that you save time. When your clothes are organized you are not hunting through piles of mis-matched shoes or a jumbled pile of clothes on a chair in the corner of your room.
Benefit #3: Clothes last longer
It’s true! If you regularly hang up or fold clothes neatly you avoid some of the wear and tear.
Now that I’ve established it’s a good idea to keep your closet organized, I’m going to give you tips and tools to help you maintain an organized closet.
Tip #1: Remove wire hangers
Wire hangers just take up space. You may think that because they are slim that they are the best to use in your closet. They are not. Clothes don’t stay put on a wire hanger. They tend to fall off.
I understand that wire hangers linger in your closet because clothes come back from the cleaners on a wire hanger. When you go to wear that item of clothing, remove the hanger from the closet.
Have a bag in your closet or near the closet to hold the wire hangers. Then, when you take clothes to the cleaners bring the bag along to return the wire hangers.
Invest in slim hangers that either have grips on the ends or have a cloth covering. The Container Store has many good options for hangers. Here’s a picture of hangers I use in my closet.
Tip #2 Create short hanging space
Add a second hanging bar if you need more short hanging space. The fashions now are much more casual than they have been in recent decades. People do not need as much long hanging space as they have in the past. It’s easy to keep the short hanging clothes more organized in your closet when you create more hanging space.
Then you can, if you want to, group the short hanging clothes by sleeve length and/or by color. When you do this, you’ll be able to see at a glance how many shirts you have that are a certain color or sleeve length. This makes coordinating outfits and getting ready a snap!
Tip #3 Clear the floor
Keep the floor of your closet as clear as possible. I encourage you to have a donate bag or box in your closet so that if something doesn’t fit, doesn’t look right, or you don’t like it anymore it can go straight into the bag. The next step is to make a date with yourself to take it to the donation site of your choice when it is full.
Gather your shoes and pair them up. Put shoes that are too worn to donate in the trash. Donate any that are still wearable that you don’t want anymore. They can go into the donate bag I was just talking about.
Then decide if you want a shoe rack that sits on the floor or if you want a shoe holder that can go on your closet door.
Another option is to get some shoe boxes and put shoes that you only wear on special occasions in boxes on an upper shelf in your closet. I like the clear boxes from The Container Store best, but you can use any box that your shoes will fit into. Take a picture of one of the shoes to put on the outside of the box to remind you of what is inside.
Tip #4: Use stackable drawers or bins
If you have lots of athletic wear (honestly, don’t we all have lots of that now?) sort them into tops and bottoms and then put them into stackable drawers or bins. They will be easy to grab when you’re ready to get dressed in the morning.
You can also use these bins for things like socks or even face masks.
Tip #5: Fold or hang
This is an age-old question. Many people ask when they are organizing the closet what should you fold or what should you hang? Some things are easier to fold and keep tidy. These include (but are not limited to) bulky sweaters, sweatshirts, and sweatpants. But it’s also a matter of personal preference.
Some people like to hang lots of their clothes. If they have the space, why not? Then there are others who prefer to fold lots of their clothes. It’s truly up to the individual and the space in the closet.
As you go about organizing your closet, start small. Do one section at a time. Take everything in that section out. Clean that section and only put back the clothes that fit and that you want to wear. Understand that just because something fits doesn’t mean that you want to wear it.
You may want to try some clothes on to be sure you still like them.
Remember the reason you are organizing your closet. Are you tackling this project because you want to be able to find your clothes easily, save time, save money or all of the above?
Organize your closet first and then decide if you want or need any of the organizing tools I mentioned above. It’s a mistake to buy before organizing. Know what you need before you shop.
Reach out to me for personal advice or join the Clear Space for You, virtual clutter support group for weekly guidance. There are new groups starting in February. Click here to read more articles like this one.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane specializes in residential and home-office organizing and working with people affected by ADD, hoarding challenges, and chronic disorganization. Please contact Diane for a free 30-minute phone consultation.