The 11 Step Plan for Organizing Your Closet
Reading the “C” word may make you recoil in horror. Needless to say, this challenge isn’t for those who lack courage or for the faint of heart. Going boldly doesn’t entail conquering just the junk drawer. In The Change Your Life Challenge we go for the gusto, the big time, the whole enchilada. That being said, you don’t have to tackle your whole closet in a day! We will take simple steps each day to tackle this big job. As a Chinese Proverb states, “yard by yard life is hard…inch by inch, it’s a cinch.”
So my guess is you have more than one of these “C-word” areas in your home. The good news is that you can pretend (for now) that you only have one, yours. (We will get to the kids next time!) So here are the steps I challenge you to take.
1. Grab all of your dirty clothes and clean them. This includes dry cleaned clothes too! (Imagine my surprise when I found all my missing kitchen towels and long-lost summer shorts! )
2. Take anything that is off-season, fold it neatly and pack it away in labeled storage containers. (I like those large plastic Rubbermaid containers. They can be stacked easily in a garage, attic or another “C-word” area. )
3. Grab a box and remove all the hangers from your closet that don’t have clothes on them.
4. Now arrange all your hangers so that they are facing the same direction. This will help avoid tangles that require advanced yoga-skills in order to extricate yourself.
5. Decide what is going to be on hangers and what is going to be stacked. Are you going to hang sweaters or fold them? T-shirts and light cottons? Pants? I love to hang just about everything as I find it gets less wrinkled—and as you probably guessed—I don’t own an iron.
6. Now that you have decided, go ahead and put everything in its proper place, hanging like items together.
7. You knew the “use it or lose it” talk was coming. I saved this for after the sorting process so that you could easily see what all you have (how many black skirts does one person need?) Take all those clothes you don’t wear and get them out of your closet. Here are a few options for removal:
a. If you have a bunch of clothes from when you were a different size than you are now and you anticipate needing them in the future, fold them all neatly and put them in a Rubbermaid container with the size clearly marked on the outside.
b. If you aren’t sure whether to keep something or get rid of it, try it on. Go look in a full-length mirror. How do you feel? If you find yourself smiling, promote the article to a hanger. If you find yourself experiencing disassociate disorder, give it away. If you are impartial, grab a Rubbermaid and toss it inside. In 6 months, repeat the experiment. (Many professional organizers suggest that if you haven’t worn something within a year, let it go. I find that often I don’t wear something because I have forgotten I own it or simply can’t find it! That’s why I suggest the try-it-on experiment. )
c. If you have a hard time letting go of something because it was expensive, a gift, or you have some other attachment, the best cure is to give it a good home. Place in a bag and deliver these items in-person to a homeless shelter or woman’s shelter. You’ll never regret your decision. If you need extra cash there is another alternative. Become an E-bay junkie. You’ll be amazed at what a silk shirt and other nice clothes will auction for… The key is to be descriptive and take a good photograph.
8. Remove anything in your closet that you wear only once a year. If you have a few fancy outfits or suits that you rarely wear, get them out of your working space. Put them in a hall closet. The goal is to get your closet to the point that anything you grab will be something you can wear—and feel great in!
9. Now you have streamlined your clothing and gotten everything in its proper place. If you have a separate wardrobe for work, group it together at one end of your closet. Basically categorize like items together so you can easily find work or casual wear.
10. You are almost done! Tackle socks, hosiery and intimate apparel next. Throw out anything with a hole or tear. Match up socks. Create a lost sock box to keep in the laundry room for socks seeking partners.
11. Tack up nails to hold accessories, purses and belts. Buy a storage box from your local craft store to securely hold jewelry. Purchase a shoe rack or an over-the-door organizer that easily hangs and holds 20 pairs of shoes. Or… be like me and use Rubbermaid. I have three tubs (1) for dress shoes (2) for boots (3) for all other stuff.