Over the past weeks, I F I N A L L Y finished cleaning out my bedroom, linen, and coat closets—plus a myriad of drawers. Such satisfaction.
I am a dork and at the risk of proving it, I will say that after I am done with such a cleanup, I literally stand there admiring the cleanliness, preciseness, and clutter-freeness of my handy-work. Awww, if only it would last.
With that said, I decided to write up some tips on effective closet organization. I know that writing a blog posting about cleaning out a closet seems a bit condescending (as if you don’t know how to clean out your own closet) and trite, but honestly, I am using this as my accountability exercise.
I am working on my own personal battle with clutter and this helps me . . . hopefully, there is something here that may help you. At the very least, I hope that it motivates you to get started. Despite what the weather these days indicates, it is Spring (almost Summer) and who doesn’t like a good ol’ Spring-cleaning purge?
1. Pull everything out—EVERYTHING!
The best way to get optimal organization is to start with an empty slate; this includes anything not attached to the wall, e.g. shelving units, shoe racks, etc. The empty space allows you to see things differently—it allows you to determine a system (perhaps a whole new system) that works best for you.
Otherwise, you may be tempted to keep your configuration as it was before, and honestly, that may not be the best use of space.
The Struggle is Real.
2. Look at your space with new eyes and visualize a system that will be most functional.
Step back and take a full assessment of your space. What is the best way to set up your space? If you are organizing your closet, determine what clothes you wear more often, if you need to adjust your space with the in-season clothes front and center, if you prefer sorting your clothes by color or by functionality, and if you can easily get to everything.
For me, out of sight is out of mind. It is amazing what I found in my most recent closet cleanup.This is another reason why I emphasize taking everything out. Items can fall in the smallest of crevices. Clothes and items fall, hide, and go missing. That is why cleanups can be so magical—it’s like Christmas.
3. Set up DUMP boxes in advance (and USE them).
Before you begin, have boxes ready to put in discarded items. It is important to have a place to sort items that will be donated and items that will be trashed (or recycled if appropriate).This step is often the hardest part—not the setting up the boxes part, but the dumping the items into the boxes part.
Why? Because we often hang on to things that are – in all honesty – just collecting dust. There might be clothes that you are saving for when you can fit into them again; there may be items that you are keeping in case they come back into style. It’s a personal battle; everyone has their own motivations, sentiments, and reasons for holding on to things.
Questions to ask when cleaning out your closet:
- When was the last time you’ve worn or used the item?
- Does the item fit?
- Does the item need to be repaired?
- Do you have a sentimental attachment to the item?
4. Organize for you.
There is so much advice out there for how to organize your closet. I mentioned the color blocking. I know people who must have their clothes sorted by color. For me, I partially use that system—I place items by functionality first (e.g., casual pants together, sweatshirts in one section, dressier tops hanging together) and then I sort by color in those sections. Honestly though, I don’t sweat over it. I believe that you need to set up a system that you are comfortable with and works best for you and your needs.
Here are some creative tips that I found beneficial—some of which I “borrowed” from others and some which I came up with. Regardless, I thought that I’d share:
1) Wrap up complete sets of bed sheets.
I think this idea is brilliant—it’s been tested out by me and I love it. You simply fold one of your pillowcases, top and fitted sheets and then pack them into the other pillowcase. When you need to change your sheets, you can simply grab the wrapped set and not have to go looking for all the parts.
2) Combine sets of pillowcases.
I am a stickler for having matching pillowcases, which to my dismay, rarely happened before this trick. I could never find the pillowcases’ counterpart. To combat this, I now fold two matching pillowcases together as one by laying one on another before folding. Now when I pull out a pillowcase, I know that I have a set.
3) Decorative boxes can make anything look pretty.
Dollar store decorative boxes are the best when it comes to closet organization. They can make storing toilet paper and other non-attractive item more aesthetically pleasing.
4) It’s all about the fold.
My OCD often reveals itself in my folds. For example, my towels must have the rounded fold facing outward; there are no unsightly towel ends showing in my closet. I am not quite at that Joan Crawford wire hanger level (not even close for those who may take me seriously), but I do appreciate a pretty (and consistent) display of folds.
The folding can also dictate how much clothes you can fit into a drawer. Instead of laying out clothes flat in a drawer, I started storing t-shirts with the fold facing out. I did this for many reasons, mainly because: (1) you can fit more shirts in a drawer that way and (2) my sons can SEE what the shirt looks like before pulling it out. Before with the laying flat system, my sons would pull out every shirt looking for just the “right” one. I won’t lie, they still do this—it is one of my pet peeves—but it does seem to keep the shirts IN the drawer rather than on the bedroom floor.
5) The sock sorter.
I purchased this little gem (Decor Hut Honeycomb Design Drawer Organizer, Sock Sorter, for Underwear, Accessories, Scarfs & More, 2 Pack) off of Amazon and have to say, “I like it.” Socks have a really bad habit of going missing in my household, or should I say MATCHING SOCKS are a rarity. Thank goodness, my youngest decided to make a fashion statement with his non-matching socks. Stop with the judgment—he wears them proudly and intentionally.
However for those who do prefer having a matched set of socks, using this item has allowed sock sets to stay intact. And it looks nice too.
I hope that the above recommendations have motivated you to do your own cleaning. It is such a great feeling to P-U-R G-E. Unfortunately, there always seems to be other mounds of clutter to tackle. It’s like this stuff has babies–where the heck does it come from?
Oh right I have two boys.