Are your closets out of control? Do you worry that a visitor might open the wrong door while looking for the bathroom, and find herself under a pile of coats, hats or sports equipment? Or you can't even close your bedroom closet door? If you're ready to take control of your closets, you've come to the right place.
Our closets can take on lives of their own. Once the door is closed, it’s anyone’s guess what’s inside. If your closets are miniature storage areas with little rhyme and no reason, the best place to start over is with a clean slate.
You can’t organize effectively while working around a full closet. The first thing you'll need to do is pull everything out, if you can. If not start at the stop, emptying one shelf or hanging rod at a time and work your way down.
1. Control of Your Closets: Start by Letting Go of Stuff!
There are only a couple of ways to deal with too much stuff in your closet. Getting control of your closets starts with getting rid of what you don’t need or find somewhere else to store it. The trick is making those decisions.
You probably know the typical advice: If you haven’t worn it/used it in a couple of years, you probably won’t miss it. But someone else might be thrilled to have a second coat, so consider being charitable. Donate things you don’t need or have a garage sale (get tips on successful garage sales).
If separation anxiety gets the better of you, try this tip. Remove everything from your closets that you know you haven’t used in two or more years. Fill bags or boxes with those things, and set them out of sight. Put the date on the bags and boxes so you still know after a year passes, what's ready to be given away or added to your tag sale.
Even better, take the bags out to the trunk of your car where you'll realize after several months, you're ready to let go and then it's easy to drop them off at the local Salvation Army. The memory of giving things away can also be a reminder before impulse buying, that it might become the clutter you just got rid of to take back control of your closets?
2. Work with the Closet You’ve Got
There’s nothing wrong with a typical closet setup. Some have shelves, some have hanging bars and hooks, and some have both. It depends on where the closet is, and what you use it for. Thing is, there’s often not a whole lot right about the closets so you might want to add baskets and other organizing tools, to help store things for easier access.
Many closets are plagued by wasted space. Shelves may be insufficient, hanging bars might take up more room than they need to, and the ceiling and floor areas might go unused. If you don’t want to make over the closet from the walls out, you can still organize it better than it was.
Large, bulky items can fit at the top or bottom of the space. If there’s an area that you can’t reach very well, that might be the perfect spot for a comforter or extra pillows that you rarely use. Don’t forget the ceiling – hooks up high let you hang things like out of season boots, hats, or even baskets for holding smaller things that you don’t use often. If towels or sheets have a habit of spilling onto each other, add shelf separators to keep stacks straight.
Save the middle space for things you reach for all the time. In a linen closet, that would be your favorite sheets and blankets. In a bedroom closet, this would be your go-to clothing.
3. Try Something New to Get Control of Your Closets
If you’re ready for a real closet makeover, what about an organization system? There are so many to choose from, you might need a full day to explore all of the options available.
Systems for very large closets are like furniture in their own right. Armoires, dressers and hanging rods are designed to mix and match, to create elegant, high-end closets. If you want to create your own custom closet, there are systems you can design and buy online like Easy Closets which my handyman business installed.
If your closet is smaller, you can shelves, pull-out drawers, shoe racks, baskets, hooks, hanging rods and more, all designed to mount using metal tracks fastened to the wall. They're customizable so you can pick individual components based on what you have. Need more hanging space? Add a long bar. If not, use a short one. Collect shoes? Imagine a row of shoe baskets lining a wall.
Homeowner Tip: Make sure when you're installing an organizing system, that you're securing the unit to multiple wall studs so you don't have to worry about sagging shelves or worse.
The keys to organizing your closets are clearing out what you don’t need, storing what you do need within easy reach, and making the best of unused space. Do away with overcrowded conditions, and you’ll have tidier closets where everything is right where you want it to be.
Your closets don’t have to look like a page from a magazine to function well. Keep it clean, keep it tidy, and clear out everything that you’ll never use again. You might even find that you don’t need as much storage space as you thought.
Ready to take control of your closets?
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