Martha Proctor writer
It is time for spring cleaning, and if your closet is looking cluttered and somewhat disorganized, read on. We talked to professional organizers and wardrobe consultants to gather tips on how to get it all sorted out. Think of it as a way to create a whole new wardrobe without having to spend a lot of money.
one Devise a procedure.
This applies whether you prefer to empty the closet completely before you begin, or opt to work one shelf, rod, and basket at a time. A plan will save you from feeling overwhelmed.
two Remember the “twenty/eighty” rule.
We wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time. Gather the clothes you love and wear all the time and put them aside. Everything else should be given a critical eye. Try things on, and if there’s a shadow of a doubt, toss it out. These items can be sent to a consignment shop or a clothing drive, or the Red Cross and Salvation Army. Some food pantries accept clothing as well.
three Separate, categorize, and designate.
Weed out what you don’t wear, the mistakes with price tags still pinned to them, and items you are tired of wearing but want to keep. Make a pile for clothes that are unflattering, out-of-date, no longer fit properly, and whatever else has to go. Separate summer clothes from winter clothes; make a pile of items to be moved to other closets in your home, or put into storage.
four Put like things with like things.
As you begin to return items to the closet (after a thorough cleaning of floors and shelves), group suit jackets with suit jackets, blouses with blouses, slacks with slacks, and so on. This will allow you to figure out what you need to replace and see exactly what you have each time you open the door.
five Group clothing by color and style.
If you do have a number of sweaters in one color, say, beige or navy, group them by style (turtleneck, crewneck, v-neck) in small, manageable piles or by bulk (thick Irish or cable knits in one or two piles, and thinner silk and wool blends or cashmere in another).
six Get rid of wire hangers.
Recycle them at the dry cleaners. Buy packets of good, identical wood or plastic hangers, widely and inexpensively available, and you’ll notice a difference in the way your clothes are preserved. Always remove the plastic bags from the dry cleaners (clothes need to breathe), and all wire hangers, before putting clothes away. All knit clothing should be taken off hangers and folded.
seven Buy good hooks and other simple devices.
Put one or two hooks on the inside of the closet door and several within the closet. Double rods will double the space for skirts and blouses, suits and jackets.
Try hanging shelves and shoe bags, canvas boxes and sturdy baskets.
eight Clean your closet and your clothes regularly.
One or two times a year, your closet should be cleaned top to bottom. Dust and dirt infiltrate clothing and break down fiber. Toss cotton and wool sweaters in the dryer on “no heat” to refresh them. Give everything a good shake and refold sweaters and tops neatly. Remove shoes from shoe bags or from shelves on the floor, and dust thoroughly.
nine Call a professional to redesign the closet.
Before you call, think about what doesn’t work in your current arrangement and how you can get the most out of the space you have. Think about lighting, or how vertical space can be used. Choose a design that can be easily altered when your needs change. This might be the time to call a wardrobe consultant to help you put together a new wardrobe using the clothes you already have.
ten Stay organized to save time and money.
Once you have sorted, cleaned, and organized your closet, it won’t seem as difficult to be tidy. Putting things away will be easier because everything will be in its place. All the clothing you wear will be in your closet, and instead of spending money on complete outfits, you can simply embellish your wardrobe with one or two new pieces. You won’t hesitate to open the closet door to its contents; well, not until it’s time to clean again.