The change of season is the perfect time to get your closet organized. You certainly know which winter items you never wore, so it will be easy to let those go. With the store windows filling up with colorful spring and summer garments, its the right time to find out what you have and what you need.
Here is a step-by-step process to get you started!
Ask yourself these questions!
Why am I keeping this? (If the word someday is in your answer, out it goes!)
Where would I wear it? (Be specific!)
Who would ask me for it? (Glad you asked! Give it to them. Out it goes.)
Now let go of excuses that make you keep things you don't need.
But it was expensive!-
Yes, but you're not using it. Sell it or give it to someone who can.
I might be able to wear it again- when I lose weight.
Sure, that theory works. That is why every time you open the closet you lose another pound. Sell the clothes or donate them. Buy stuff that fits and makes you attractive. If you did loose a lot of weight, wouldnt you deserve a NEW wardrobe? I know you aren't doing all that work in order to fit in OLD clothes!
But, Id feel guilty.
A gift once received is yours to do with as you like. Does it make your Aunt feel better to know the sweater she knitted you has been in the closet for five years? Keeping it doesn't make it better. If you aren't wearing it, out it goes. (You'll find you will still love your Aunt and she loves you!)
Take these steps.
1- Declutter everything that is not part of your wardrobe. Out. Out. Out. If you dont wear it, it doesnt belong in your clothes closet. Out with the Christmas gift wrap, out with the stacks of photos, out with the gifts you hope to give later. They dont belong with your clothes.
2- Purge- follow the questions above and get honest about what to keep.
3- Divide by season. If your closet is not large, move off-season clothes. If you have a large closet, move the winter clothing to the back and the spring/summer to the front.
4- Divide by occasion:
Dressy clothes etc
5- Within each category, divide by type:
short sleeve shirts
long sleeve shirts
6- Only hang garments that are wearable
Add a basket to your closet for non-wearable items. These include items to be mended, stain treated, or to be dry cleaned.
7- Try to hang everything. Add hooks and closet organizers so you can hang purses, belts, ties and even jewelry- or place them on shelves.
8- If you have memorabilia clothing- such as a cheerleading skirt- do not hang it. Have it cleaned and store it flat in an acid-free box.
Before you rush out to buy any closet accessories, take a good inventory of what you really own.
Count the shoes. How many shoe racks do you need to do the job? (Avoid any shoe racks where the shelf is at angle as the shoes just fall off!) See how many sweaters you really have. How about purses? How many do you need to store? Once you have a count, write it down. Take that inventory AND your closet measurements with you in order to buy the right closet accessory.
Here are a few additional thoughts about that winter clothing.
Dont store sweaters hanging as the shoulders pull. Plan to store them folded.
Make sure you put things away clean. That stain wont come out in six months. Examine each item before putting it away.
Sometimes tall boots tend to flap over to one side. That bend causes a crease that ruins your boot. Stuff some paper or cardboard in your boot so it holds a nice shape until next fall.
Have things that need to be mended? Broken zipper? Hem out? Dont put them away until next fall. Youll want to grab it on a cool day and be disappointed. Go ahead and have it repaired before stowing away. That will be very organized of you and youll be so glad that you thought ahead! Better to have it sit at the repair shop when you dont need it than when you do!
Finally, as you work in your closet, keep a notepad handy. Jot down ideas or thoughts. When you put a pair of Capri pants away and think I dont have a shirt to match these, then write that down. Or I dont have but two dressy summer dresses, I need one, then write that down. Part of being cluttered is having too much stuff that we dont need. So, before shopping for seasonal clothing, decide what it is you really can use. Then have fun shopping because you will feel good about your purchases.
Finished with your closet and ready for warm weather? Then you deserve that bright red polish!
Professional Organizer Lea Schneiders advice has been seen in Womans Day, Natural Health and Better Homes and Gardens Kids Rooms magazines. She is the owner of Organize Right Now and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and the Association of Food Journalists. Youll find her E-book, Closet Clutter to Closet Control: Your Four-Step Process to Organzing Your Clothes and other organizing tips at her website www.organizerightnow.com