The New Year is the perfect time to organize your closet. I don’t know about you, but as soon as Christmas is over, I get the itch to get more organized. Maybe it’s the influx of new things that have been gifted to me? Maybe it’s part of the deep clean that happens as we shed the tree from our house? Either way, I have the organizing bug and I’m sure many of you do too.
I start with my closet because it literally impacts me every single day. I have new wardrobe gift items that now need a home. And because space is tight in my small house, I have to consider how I am actually going to make this space for them. So I am organizing my closet using these easy steps. You can too. It’s simple and it will help you start the New Year right.
First Step to Organize Your Closet: Review and Cull
No amount of closet organization is going to help you if you don’t edit what you have or if you just put all the same stuff back in different ways. Editing is essential for closet organization… there are no if’s and’s or but’s about it!
Whether you take on this task with Marie Kondo’s KonMari method (see this article in Vogue ) or simply use the “If I haven’t worn it in a year” test, you need to purge the unnecessary things in your closet. I suggest taking everything out. Yes, EVERYTHING. Then break all you items up in to categories (shirts, dresses ties, etc.) and go through each item in each category.
Ask yourself these questions about each item:
- Does it fit now? This does not mean it fit two years ago or might fit if you gain/lose a few pounds – it means NOW!
- Do you feel good when you wear it? C’mon, you know – your step is a little lighter in it. You get compliments about your skin whilst wearing it. You get the idea.
- Is it in good repair? No rips, stains or other ugliness.
- Do you wear it regularly? Which, if you’re like me and fancy yourself a French woman disguised as an American, is about 10 things. All the rest is fluff.
If the answer to all these questions is yes, it goes on the keep pile. I realize that this is not an easy thing to do, so make sure you have plenty of time to give to the task. And be brutal. Marie Kondo would say, “ask yourself if the item sparks joy.” I have tried this, with some success myself, but I would also say, listen to your heart-of-hearts. You know the things you don’t like, but you’re just keeping because you paid a lot for them, or they were on sale, or they still have the tags. This stuff is weighing you and your closet down – literally and figuratively. It’s time.
Step Two To Organize Your Closet: Consider Three Alternatives
Once you have done this hard work, you will feel great because you will have an idea what it is you have to organize in your closet. Then, consider the following three alternatives:
- 1.Hire a professional closet system installer
- 2. Buy a closet system kit and install it yourself
- 3. Adapt the closet you have with a few easy changes
Pros and Cons of Professional Installation of Closet Organization Systems:
Professional systems like California Closets, EasyClosets.com and Avera at The Container Store are great because they take a lot of the work out of organizing for you. They will also be the most expensive option. Remember, even with these systems, you still have to do all the culling of the unwanted, but you won’t have to worry about measuring or installing anything. I chose this route myself for the primary bedroom closets. I worked with a designer at one of these companies. She came out to my house and talked to me for a long time. I showed her the sum-total of my clothing. She took measurements and asked questions. Then she came back to me with a detailed CAD drawing and her estimate. The whole process took about 6 weeks from start to finish and cost about $1000 per closet. I think this is a fairly typical scenario for these companies. I went with basic white and my closet is small. Obviously, charges increase with the size of the closet and choice of materials.
Pros and Cons of Do-It-Yourself Closet Organization Systems:
There are lots of ways to get more out of a closet besides a professional organization system. There are several, good, home-owner-installed systems on the market, including: IKEA, Rubbermaid, and Wayfair to name but a few. These systems will give you the custom look without the custom price. With these systems you will need to do all the measuring and installing yourself, or hire a local contractor to do it for you. Bruce and I installed one of these in our guest room closet. It cost about 20% of the professionally installed unit for the same size closet. It did take some time and there was definitely a learning curve and one trip to the hardware store. But we are pleased with the result and the price.
Tips To Organize Your Closet Without Either of the Above:
If neither the professional closet system or the do-it-yourself closet are for you, there are still a few wonderful tips to better organize your closet. You can:
- Hang like-items (shirts, pants, etc.) together and by color (all the blue shirts, then all the red shirts, then all the… you get the idea). Within the color, hang shirts and dresses by sleeve-length (sleeveless, then short sleeve, then long sleeve).
- Create a belt hanging space with a towel bar (above).
- Double-hang your hangers using soda can tabs (shown above) and nearly double your hanging space.
- Use shower curtain hooks on a single hanger and hang t-shirts or camis from the rod. Saves lots of space.
- Install a belt rod using a towel bar. Also shown above.
- Check out the millions (well maybe not millions) of ideas on closet organization on Pinterest.
Remember, when organizing your closet it’s important to have fun! It’s only your closet, it’s not world peace or brain surgery. Have a lovely Sunday my friends.
If you’re still hungry for more, check out my previous blog: 4 Tips on Organizing Inspired by Marie Kondo.