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Declutter and Organize Your Closet

Use these easy tips to create breathing room in a crowded closet.

| March/April 2011

  • Carve out some coveted space in your closet.
  • Create breathing room in a crowded closet.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison

When you open your closet door, what do you see? Are there piles of wrinkled clothes covering the floor, cramped hangers competing for space and seldom-worn attire taking up precious real estate? An overstuffed closet can lead to daily stress. Though it’s often much easier to accumulate clothing than it is to let it go, with these helpful hints, you can carve out some coveted closet space.

Un-crowd, de-clutter  

First, simply pare down. Set aside half a day to go through your wardrobe ruthlessly, donating what no longer fits, what you haven’t worn in a year or two, and what’s outdated. Take everything out of the closet and put it in piles to keep, donate or consign, trying on only the items you aren’t sure about. (In the process, you’ll likely discover at least one “treasure” you’ll want to reclaim!)

Once you’ve whittled down your wardrobe, try this easy clutter-control practice. Put two containers in your closet: one for donation, one for consignment. As soon as you try on an item and decide it’s no longer for you, place it directly into one of the boxes. When one fills, pop it in the car and drop it off at a charity or resale shop.

Once you’ve reduced your holdings, you’ll be surprised at the amount of space you’ve freed up. Before you begin to reload, take this moment to sort everything by category—separate all shirts, pants, dresses, skirts and accessories into categories. Organize items according to color or by use, such as dress shirts and T-shirts. This system helps you see what you have. (If you still have more than your closet will bear, and if you have a climate-controlled attic or basement space, you can rotate out-of-season items.) To further streamline, remove as much as possible from the closet floor. A hanging shoe rack helps get shoes up and in sight. The same goes for ties, belts, scarves and hats. As you organize your wardrobe, it’ll be easier—and obvious—to see what you have, what you may need and which items to chuck.

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