We often procrastinate about cleaning our closets because of the fear that we will miss something once it is gone. The truth is that if you allow clutter to collect, you won’t even remember what you even have. So, it’s time to get started, honor your instincts and move forward. Here are some strategies to get you going.
Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is a must read if you find yourself surrounded by clutter and mess or if you just want some tips on organization. The book has achieved a cult like following with people wanting to simplify their lives. Although some of her decluttering techniques are a little over the top, I love her phrases and complete enthusiasm toward her subject matter. Some of the highlights:
- She advises to focus on what to keep, not what we want to get rid of.
- The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to “take each item in one’s hand and ask: does this spark joy?”
- Clutter creates stress- imagine a life style that contains only things that you love.
- Organize by category and not place- i.e. edit all of your clothing at once (not seasonally)
- Remove all related objects and place on floor- things stored out of sight are dormant.
- Don’t let your family see what you are discarding and don’t give them your discards, “what you don’t need, your family doesn’t either”.
- “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”
- Forget fancy storage containers- what you have will suffice.
- Don’t stack clothing, fold and store horizontally or roll the item and store that way.
- Touch each item to see if there is still a thrill of joy when your hand contacts the item.
There are many more tips but mostly there is a lot of dialogue about what clutter does to your soul and how riding the clutter sets your spirit free- something definitely to think about. What do you think? What are your best decluttering tips? I would love to hear from you.
The second article I would like you to check out is my practical guide for organizing your closet:
Before you start, assemble some neutral colored hangers in non slip velvet- like Huggable Hangers and black plastic garbage bags. The thin matching hangers are good because they will give you more space to hang clothes, the clothes are protected from stretching out and the consistency of hangers gives your closet eye appeal. The plastic bags are for things to toss and for things to donate. Return/recycle the metal hangers to your dry cleaners.
- Make your bedroom closet your main working closet. Save a separate space to store out of season clothing, formal items and clothing that you think is classic, but not exactly for today.
- Remove clothing from the closet and hang on a clothing rack or place on the the bed. My favorite rack is the Fol-D-Rak because it collapses when not in use and is easy to store.
- Dust and vacuum- if the walls are dingy, you may want to paint. (I like a crisp white, but some experts like bright colors.)
- Try on everything. Do not return clothing that doesn’t fit or look good on you to the closet.
- Have you worn the item in the last 12 months?
- Is it likely that you will wear this item again?
- Take inventory of what you have and start to edit. Ask yourself how many of your jeans still look good, how many white blouses do you need and so on. If you have twice as many of any item than you need, it’s time to shed a few.
- Let go of clothing gifts that you don’t love. Remember, it’s just an object.
- Cast a cold eye on sweaters and tees that have started to lose their shape and pill; toss out anything that looks ratty, doesn’t fit properly or is stained.
- Check to see if repairing an item or altering it will be more costly than the item is worth. It may be smarter to toss and replace.
- Hang on to stuff that makes you smile. Your Christmas sweater or the reindeer pin that your kids made you when they were in second grade does not count as clutter.
- Arrange your closet like a boutique. Divide up clothing by item. Hang skirts with skirts, pants with pants and so on. Then break it down by color and type of clothing. I don’t hang my sporty clothing with dressy items. Keep the closet floor uncluttered.
- When deciding to keep or toss an article of clothing, ask yourself would you buy it again- the answer will be the tell.
- Fold tees and thin sweaters with your Flip Fold. This is a really cool template that helps you fold your tees and sweaters so that they look like the ones at The Gap. Don’t stack too high. Again, divide by color and use. Use dividers to keep stacks neat.
- I use vertical hanging shoe bags to hold my shoes. That way I can instantly see and access. Make sure that your shoes are in tip top repair and condition. Re-purpose shoes that are uncomfortable (that will never change), scuffed, cracked or worn and cannot be repaired. Your shoes tell the world a lot about you- it’s said that your shoes are a window into your soul (no pun intended).
- Hang the scarves you wear on the velvet hangers, use jewelry bags or clear plastic (labeled) containers for your costume jewelry and earrings.
- Belts should be rolled or hung on a belt rack. Belts are usually a ripe area for editing: discard belts that don’t fit, are out of style, worn out or stretched.
- Remember, no two people organize the same way, make sure that your organizational system suits your personality. Staying organized is a learned habit and one that takes time and discipline to master.
- Sort through your discards and donate your excess to your favorite charity or to a women’s shelter. Always keep one of those black trash bags in your closet so that you can continue to edit throughout the season.
- Most of the closet organizer tools can be found at WalMart or Target. If you really get going, The Container Store is the mecca for organizing divas.