1. Set aside a good chunk of time and double your initial estimate. Clear space and make the bed. FYI: Have a mirror nearby. The process requires trying on a lot of clothes you haven’t worn in a while.
2. Take everything out, including shoes, handbags and accessories. As you remove things place them in one of four piles: “keep”, “repair/clean”, “give away/donate, ” and “throw away. ” Your “keep” pile should include clothes you love and feel good in. FYI: Most people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time.
3. Discard clothes that don’t fit, are worn, stained, or dated, or don’t go with anything else. If you can’t bear to part with your “sentimental keepers”, pack and store them away. You’ll still have them, but they’re not taking up valuable space in your closet. In time, if you find you haven’t missed them, you can kiss them goodbye!
4. Use double-hung rods for shirts and skirts; they dramatically boost storage space. FYI: The top rod should be hung at least 36 inches above the lower one.
5. Separate shirts, skirts, dresses, pants, etc. Within each group, order colors from light to dark and fabrics from light to heavy. Face all items and hangers in the same direction. If you share a closet with someone, keep your clothing separate. FYI: Don’t use those awful wire hangers. Bring them to your dry cleaner for recycling. Use wood, padded, or sturdy plastic.
6. Keep longer garments to the back or sides of the closet, leaving room on the floor for shoes or other items. FYI: An over-the-door hanging shoe rack can be useful if floor space is limited. These are also great for small accessories like hosiery and scarves.
7. Fold sweaters and T-shirts so they don’t stretch, but avoid stacking them to towering heights. Divide them into manageable piles according to color and frequency of wear.
8. If you have the room, put a chest of drawers into your closet to store socks, underwear, pajamas and workout clothes. FYI: It doesn’t matter what the dresser looks like; you can use a cast-off from the attic, basement or another room.
9. Store out of season items in the back of the closet or on high shelves, or another closet if you have one. Hang hooks for purses, hats and belts.
10. Leave plenty of room to get an item in or out. The goal is quality, not quantity. Heed the old saying, “Less is more. ”
Now when you look in your closet and see only clothes you want to wear, you can avoid the morning frenzy of trying outfit after outfit. Good luck; you can do it!
Rosemary Chieppo has been a professional organizer, writer and public speaker since 1999. The costs of not being organized are enormous: time, money and stress. Organizing is the greatest gift people can give themselves; it clears the path to life’s more important destinations! Visit Rosemary's website at http://www.borntoorganize.com .