2011 Organizing Guide: Closet Clean-up

Have you already started to tackle your organizing projects for 2011? Feeling a little overwhelmed? Here’s a great place to see immediate results: your closets.

Starting with your closets empties out space to get items from other areas of the house put away between uses, opens up space for off-season storage, and may even give you room for long term storage. (Other good alternatives for long-term storage are shelves in the attic, garage, or basement.) Start one closet at a time, or tackle them all in a day for a huge organizing pick-me-up.

The best way to evaluate your closet is to pull everything out. Bring a dust cloth, broom and vacuum along and take advantage of the moment to get rid of any dust bunnies or clean up any spills. Then it’s time to sort – determine what really belongs in this closet by function. Is it a linen closet? The guest room closet? A bedroom closet? A utility closet? Does it need to do double or triple duty? Put the items that belong in that closet into one pile, those that you want to keep but don’t fit the purpose of this closet into a put-away pile and, as always, be ruthless with what you don’t use and don’t need and make donate, recycle, and garbage piles.

Once everything is sorted, evaluate how it will fit back into your closet. Do your items fill your shelves, or do you have empty space because your items aren’t as tall as the space between shelves? This could be a good place to add stacking shelves, or undershelf baskets and reclaim space. Do you have piles that topple over onto one another? Shelf dividers can solve that problem and adjust to whatever width you need. If you have a lot of seasonal bulky items, use Space BagsĀ® to compress the air out of clothes and bedding so they take up less space.

Are there a lot of similar, small items that need to go back into the closet? Baskets contain those items and give you easy access to retrieve them. For items that are used less often, storage boxes come in a variety of materials and sizes from utilitarian to decorative. Boxes are spill-proof and stack to make the most of shelf space.

Do you have hanging rod space that’s unused? You can turn that space into shelves or double your rod space with hanging storage solutions.

Don’t forget the door surface itself – you can add custom organizers for shoes, hats, gift wrap, jewelry and other small items to the interior and keep everything hidden. Add a set of hooks to either side of the door as a place to hang jackets, bath robes, or your outfit for the next day to speed up getting ready.

Once your closet is put back together and organized, see how much space you have left and make a mental or written note for yourself. As you go through other rooms you’ll know the proper place where other items can be stored away when not in use.

More resources:

Your Linen Closet, Revived

The Utility Closet

Say “No” to Bulky Blankets and Stuffed Cabinets

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