10 Tips On How To Organize Your Closet

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Closets are never big enough. I dream of the kind of closets you see on TV, complete with a chaise lounge, rotating rack of clothes, and a giant box of chocolates. However, my life is not a television show or a commercial for a high-end department store. I'm doomed to deal with impossibly small closets, and an undeniable lust for shopping. If you find yourself faced with the same dilemma, use these tips to take the chaos out of your closet.

1. Don't buy into fads:

If you're prone to staying up until all hours of the night, you've undoubtedly seen a rash of informercials telling you to buy the hottest juicer, the leanest grill, or the most efficient closet organization product. While they may be tempting, and they always are, these "innovations" are usually not the miracle product you've been seeking. They're mostly cheap versions of common household items like hangers, or storage boxes. They may be flashy, but they're mostly unnecessary. It's like trying to reinvent the wheel, and like the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

2. Don't let suitcases go empty:

Suitcases are big, empty, space-suckers. Put your suitcases to work when you're not traveling by using them to store out-of-season clothing or unused linens.

3. Make sure you can see everything:

If you can't see it, you won't use it, and it's just taking up precious space in your closet. Make sure everything is visible and within easy reach. If you must store something in a container that makes it difficult to see, be sure to label it so you know what it is, when you need it. This will also prevent you from buying duplicates of items because they are "lost" in your closet.

4. Utilize levels:

Just because you have one clothing rod at the top of your closet doesn't mean the space below needs to go unused. Install another rod or put a short set of shelves underneath. Relegate longer items like dresses and coats to one side in order to make space for the storage underneath. Also, don't forget the space available above the rod. Mount a shelf for blankets or knick-knacks.

5. Simplicity over space:

Don't shove things into the deepest, darkest recesses of your closet just because you feel like you have to use every inch of free space. The truth is that most of those things will get lost until you move out, or have a massive garage sale. Favor simplicity and visibility over using every inch of space.

6. Use stackable laundry baskets:

Laundry baskets are huge, and if you have more than one, they're probably taking up a good portion of your usable closet space. Fortunately, companies now make stackable laundry baskets for people who are "storage challenged." These are hard to find at some department stores, but any specialized organization or home store should have your fix at around $15 apiece.

7. Coordinate:

Organize your closet by color or by clothing type. (All pants in one place, all button-downs in another, etc.) Sure, it may seem like a pain now, but it becomes an easy habit, like brushing your teeth, and it takes the stress out of your morning.

8. Clear it out:

Some people have made a holiday for getting rid of old clutter. It's called "Discardia." Really. So put on your best holiday sweater, grab your favorite holiday drink and get started. You probably don't wear a good portion of what's in your closet, so try this easy trick: turn all of your hangers backwards. As you wear an item of clothing, hang it back up, and turn the hanger to face the right way again. After six months, any clothing that hasn't been turned around is ready for the thrift store. Obviously, make an exception for seasonal items that only get used for a few months out of the year.

9. Put your most used items at eye level:

This tip is simple. It saves you the hassle of rummaging for items you use every day. It's also a good idea for your car keys!

10. Call for help:

If your house and your closet have really gotten out of hand, it may be necessary to bring in a professional organizer. Some companies will just advise you, and help you come up with your own plan to get your closet in order. Other companies will do the whole job for you, from planning to installation. It may be an expense, but it could save you from stress and expensive failed attempts. Professional organizers are seeing your space from a whole different perspective, and they will help you avoid the pitfalls you have succumbed to in the past.

Closet organization seems like a huge job. It may take you a weekend's worth of trips to the thrift store, and dozens of failed attempts at assembling DIY storage units, but it will save you the stress of dealing with an unorganized closet every day.

Last Updated: July 23, 2012
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About Chanti Burnette Chanti was a freelance writer for IdealHomeGarden.com.

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