In a fit of Martha Stewart-induced organizing frenzy you've completely emptied your cluttered bedroom closet. So now what?
Before you return all those clothes and other items to the closet… Have you initiated the S. P. A. C. E. program? Consider following the 5 simple steps listed below to help you de-clutter, organize and get the most out of your now empty closet.
Sort your clothes/belongings into three piles or boxes:
1. To Keep
2. To Donate
3. To Trash
Be ruthless. (You have never and will never wear that sweater that great-aunt Bessie made you 8 years ago. ) Be honest. (The last time those jeans fit President Carter was in office!) And sort without hesitation. (Why exactly have you kept your old high school marching band uniform?) Keep what you actually use and wear, donate what you can, and toss the rest.
Purge your sorted piles to rid yourself of everything except those items you actually wear and use (meaning you’ve worn it more than twice in the past year). There may be a multitude of reasons why you don’t wear something- doesn’t fit, out of style, dislike the color, scratchy fabric… It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if the article of clothing is old or new, expensive or cheap, a gift from a relative or picked up from the lost-and-found box. The bottom line is that if you don’t wear it then it’s stealing valuable space. If the item is still usable, donate it to charity- Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If it's too far gone, toss it in the dumpster… today!
Assign everything to a particular place/storage area. When items have a designated storage area they have a greater tendency to find their proper home rather than end up on the living room floor or in the infamous “junk drawer”. The key to maintaining organization is to make it convenient to put things away in their proper place. It will always be easier in the short run to just drop what you’re using on the nearest shelf, but what about finding it the next time? The 10 seconds you save now by not returning the item to its proper place will cost you 10 very frustrating minutes searching for it later.
Containerize and label everything you can. That may mean placing items in actually containers (see-thru plastic is best for most items) or it may mean, as mentioned above, simply designating a space for each item or type of item. Always try to put complimentary or like items together. For example- all pants on one hanging rod, all your make-up in one drawer, your red belt in the same cubby as your red shoes, etc. Needing something and then finding it quickly because it’s right where it belongs can be a surprisingly gratifying experience.
Evaluate your closet and your method of keeping it organized at regular intervals in the future. Is your system working for you- 1 month, 6 months, 12 months later? If not, you can change yourself and your habits, or you can modify your system to best work with your personality. When possible, modify your system to match who you really are. You’ll be far more organized and happy in the long run, and that, of course, was the ultimate goal to begin with.
About the Author
Chris Rasure is the owner of InnerSpace Custom Storage Solutions, located in Tyler, Texas. InnerSpace provides computer-aided design and professional installation of custom closet systems as well as organization systems for the garage, laundry room, pantry and home office. The InnerSpace website provides information and example photos of their professionally designed and installed systems as well as helpful organization tips and links to purchase closet and organization accessories for the do-it-yourselfer.
Take control of your life. . . Start with the closet. TM