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It’s time to get your closet organized

December 19, 2009
By CARRA HIGGINS, Staff Writer

While many of us dream of a giant walk-in closet the size of an efficiency apartment, odds are it's not going to happen and making the most of what space we do have is the utmost importance. There are closet organizers, even professionals who will come to your house and do it for you; but if you don't have the extra cash to invest, there are some simple steps to do it yourself. Just make sure you're armed with enough music to get you through several hours of work.

After years of shopping and getting rid of only a few articles of clothing, my home became a shelter for no longer used or wanted shirts, pants, dresses and shoes. Stacks of clothes in all my bedrooms weren't part of my wardrobe rotation (in fact, I forgot I still owned most of these clothes) and instead turned into cozy beds for my cats - something had to give. So, one Saturday I set my mind to finally organizing my closets and riding myself of the messy piles of clothes.

It's said the average person wears 20 percent of their wardrobe 80 percent of the time. If you fit into that statistic, odds are there's a lot of work to be done with all your clothes. Start by emptying your closet, literally, take EVERYTHING out. Set a goal not to leave your room until you've finished (blocking your door with a giant pile of clothes and shoes works well). And don't forget several large trash bags or other storage containers before you begin.

Next, pile your clothes on the floor and bed begin going through them one by one and if you forgot you had something, you're not going to need it. Make three piles of clothes: keep, maybe and discard; but if your keep pile becomes larger than discard and maybe, you might want to re-evaluate how you're making the choices. Granted, nearly everything seems to come back in style, but if it's not a high-quality item that is currently in excellent shape get rid of it. And if you never had to remove the price tag, it's time for the discard pile. According to my best friend, who probably has one of the most extensive wardrobes in Randolph County, a good rule of thumb to determine if it's a keeper is if you've worn it within the last six to 12 months. However, shoes, handbags and accessories are the to this rule.

Instead of saving all those clothes to sell in a yard sale, get rid of them as soon as you've put them into the bags and treat your decisions as a redline sale -no returns, it's final. Other than taking your clothes to Goodwill or another second hand store you can always try to give away these items to friends or someone who may really need them.

Finally, after deciding exactly what's going to be given away it's time to organize. Group the different styles of clothing together. Put dress pants with the rest, dresses with others shirts with shirts and then place like colors together. Shoes can be kept in good shape by leaving them in their box. If you have several pairs and aren't sure if you'll make the box-shoe connection, take a picture of the shoes and tape the photo on the box where it can be easily viewed.

In the end I got rid of several large bags of clothes and approximately 30 pairs of shoes. As difficult as it was, I feel great because my closets and extra rooms are a lot less cluttered. And best of all, hopefully, my clothes will go to someone who could really them. Plus, there's plenty of room to welcome 2010 with new clothes.

Now that your closet is clean for the new year, set a goal to buy what you know you'll wear instead of just what's on sale because it might save you a lot of hassle and money in the future. Finally, keep up with your new and improved closet(s) by devoting few minutes each weekend to making sure it stays organized. It may seem easy to simply fold your clothes, put them in a basket and tuck it in the closet; but how much easier will it be to find that shirt without digging through a pile of folded clothes when you're already running late? And by keeping your closet organized it's easier to know exactly what you have and get out of the 20/80 rut and therefore ensure you get the most out of your money.



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