Home » Your Ultimate Closet Organizing Guide for the New Year
A New Year always brings with it the desire to start fresh. As a professional organizer, I have spent countless hours organizing closets with hundreds of clients, and honestly I have never seen a closet that was that bad. People always call me, intimidated to show me their closet in fear of embarrassment. The truth is they just need to find a system that works for their personal needs. That’s when I step in and implement strategies that work for their specific needs, and I look like a hero. The key to success is very simple, and by following these few simple steps anyone can transform their closet into an efficient peaceful space.
Before you can begin organizing your closet, it’s crucial to get rid of anything that’s just wasting space in your closet. I like to edit my wardrobe each season, so now is a great time to take a close look at your summer clothes. If you have gone through the whole entire summer and never wore that spaghetti strap floral dress, you’re probably not going to wear it next summer either. Next, you want to donate anything that no longer fits, is damaged, or not in style. If possible, it’s always beneficial to move your summer clothes and summer sandals to a different closet, or purchase an under bed storage bin for summer items. It that is not an option, group them together and put them in the area of your closet that is least accessible, leaving your winter clothes in the front area of your closet for easiest access.
Next, you want to group like items together depending on your personality type. I like to group all my shirts, pants, skirts, dress clothes etc. together. But that doesn’t work with everybody. The key is to organize your closet the way you get dressed. Some of my clients like to group their clothes together in colors, others prefer to group like items together, while others like to group their clothes together as sets so they can just grab a whole outfit and go. There is no wrong way, but the strategy is to use a system that makes it easy to the find any item you want quickly. Generally jeans, T-shirts, sweaters, undergarments and exercise clothes don’t need to be hung and are more efficiently folded and stored in a dresser or open shelves in your closet.
No matter what size your shoe collection is, getting them organized makes them easy to find and protects them from damage. Along the same guidelines as sorting your clothes, separate your shoes into groups. Keep formal shoes or shoes that you use only for special occasions in clear bins on your shelves, along with your summer sandals or flip-flops. This leaves your casual or frequently worn shoes easily accessible on an over-the-door hanging shoe organizer or on shoe racks on the floor under your hanging clothes.
Creating space for accessories can be a mixture of closet and drawer space depending on your preference. Handbags can be stored in labeled overhead bins, or on shelves for easy access to the frequently used handbags. Store belts on a hanger or on hooks on the inside closet wall to maximize space. Scarves can also be organized this way, or can also be stored in bins on shelves. Ties can be stored on special tie hangers, or rolled up in a dresser drawer with dividers.
Jewelry is a tricky accessory that many of my clients struggle with. You can’t simply toss all your jewelry into a pile or it will get damaged or tangled. Jewelry also varies in size and shape so that one jewelry box might not fit all of your jewelry, and then the excess ends up in a pile on your dresser. Begin by sorting your jewelry and decide which items need to be repaired, donated, or tossed. The best way to store jewelry is in a designated drawer in your dresser, with a jewelry tray that contains compartments in multiple sizes to accommodate your personal collection of jewelry. This keeps jewelry sorted, accessible, and free of dust or dirt that can collect on jewelry stored on top of a dresser. For expensive jewelry, I always recommend keeping the box that came with your purchase. This is the best way to ensure your jewelry stays safe from damage and protected from dust.
Last, it is very important to note that you should always begin with organizing your closet first. Many of my clients go out and purchase organizing storage items before they begin, and then believe they are organizing incorrectly when they don’t work. If you finish the tips above first, you have already purged what is no longer needed, have taken a clear inventory of all the items that belong in your closet, and are ready to purchase a storage bin or item in the correct size to fit your specific needs. By following this simple organizing guide, anyone can get their closet under control and spend the New Year with the Ult
KATHRYN WARDEN is the owner of The Art of Order, LLC, an organizing company based in the Washington, DC metro area. The Art of Order, LLC assists people in clearing clutter from all areas of the home. Kathryn is the author of Paper Piles to Files: A Guide to Eliminating Paper Clutter in Your Home, available at www.theartoforder.net.