Five Steps For Organizing Your Closet Space Part 2

Sort and Dispose

With a now-clean closet and piles of belongings spread out as far as the eye can see, you can really go to work.

Examine every item you've removed. If it's an item of clothing, check if it's still wearable. If there are no tears or ragged seams, try it on. Clothing you love and wear often, even if only seasonally, deserves premium treatment. Clothing that no longer fits should be discarded unless you can answer yes to one of the following:

Do you think you'll ever lose (or gain) the weight necessary to have the garment fit well again?
Is the garment worth altering to make it fit, and can it be altered successfully?

If you uncover an item you'd long forgotten, ask yourself if you would use or wear it again if you could find it easily. If you haven't so much as looked at the item in question for the past three years, you should probably discard it. Place it in one of your boxes or cloth bags; anything to separate it from the essentials you'll be putting back in your closet.

Is there a family member, friend or close relative who might have use for a serviceable item you're loath to part with? Is there a church, local charity or regional Goodwill or Salvation Army office set up to retrieve wearable used clothing or household goods? Consult your local Yellow Pages to find out.

Be bold. Be brutal. Don't take up precious closet space with anything you know you won't wear or use often in the future.

Make Every Inch Count

With your closet still stripped bare, it's time to inventory the contents and rethink the space.

How many suits, dresses, blouses, slacks, etc. do you need to store? A reliable rule of thumb is that one foot of rack space will hold six suits or eight dresses, leaving enough room for visibility and access.

List your inventory and sketch out on plain paper or graph paper how you'd like it arranged. Keep in mind that what's used regularly should be handy. If you're tall, you don't want to bend every time you reach for an often-used item, and if you're short, you don't want to have to mount a step-stool. Frequently needed items should be kept at eye level.

If your closet is tall, there may be room for additional upper shelves where seasonal items such as blankets, boots, heavy sweaters can be stored. Could you install a double row of clothing rods; one low and one high? Slacks and long coats will need full-height vertical space, but you could double up on suits, jackets, shirts and blouses or anything less than 42 inches-long.

Search catalogs, the Internet and retail stores that specialize in storage-organizing tools. Look for:

  • Shoe bags and belt and blouse hooks you can hang on the back of the closet door or suspend from a clothing rod
  • Lightweight, flexible drawer units that slide onto shelves or under hanging clothes
  • Suspended storage you can hang on clothing rods to store shoes, handbags or sweaters
  • Multiple shirt, blouse, belt and slacks hangers that store a lot in a little space
  • Dividers that let you stack sweaters or freshly laundered shirts on open shelving

Continued in Five Steps For Organizing Your Closet Space Part 3

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