Organizing Your Closets--What's Next?

Containers with snap lids control unruly cords.

Start With Sorting

Sorting is simple, but sometimes we forget to do it. More like a puzzle game than a chore, sorting can really shorten the time it takes to organize objects. Categorize everything by color, purpose, size, and shape. If it's tools, all the hammers go in one bin, all the screwdrivers in another, and drill bits are separated into a cubby hole, nook, bag, box, bowl, or bin. If it's clothing, all the short sleeved shirts go on one side, all the long sleeves on the other. Black shirts all go together, white ones together, red ones, plaid ones, etc. Colors can even meander in families of cool and warm, with blue fading into purple into red into orange into yellow, like relatives in a color wheel.

Got a miscellaneous drawer full of matchbooks, old bottles, chewing gum, pennies, twist ties, paper clips, and rubber bands? The twist ties, paper clips, and rubber bands can go in a little box named "office supplies" while the pennies can go in a bank. Put the chewing gum in your pocket or purse (or throw it away if it's old), put the old bottles in the recycle bin or save them as vases (see Found Art). Put the matchbooks wherever you've stored your birthday candles. Put your birthday candles (and your matchbooks) wherever you stored your emergency candles. Put your emergency candles (with matchbooks and birthday candles) wherever you've stored your emergency flashlight and radio. Name this box (bin, crate, bowl, knapsack, backpack) "emergency" and place it in a handy but out-of-the-way location. You could also put those birthday candles in a drawer labeled "gift" and keep extra cards, bows, ribbons, wrapping paper, and crafted gifts together. Sometimes in cleaning, as in math, an item is a subset of more than one set. In this case the birthday candles belong both to holidays and to candles. It's up to you where you want to keep them--just don't keep them with your shoes.

Shoe keepers make more room and create order.

Find Your Sole

Are you the owner of a hideous heap of mixed footwear? Do your shoes get up and walk away in the night? Try an organizer. Some, like the one shown, resemble rows of mailboxes. Others hang neatly over a door and offer pegs or hooks on which you may arrange them. Still others can be stashed under a bed. There are options. We must bravely ford the wave of powerful pumps and find a pleasant place of peace amid the stormy sea of sneakers! It can be done!

Add a Little Zip!

Zipper seal bags are great for sorting things like socks, handkerchiefs, mittens, and scarves into neat, organized stacks instead of tangled spider havens. Added benefit: no dust. Bags keep things clean!

Smaller bags are great for tiny and easily lost items: magnets, keys, eyeglass screws, miniature light bulbs, pencil refills, or the parts to that broken watch you'll fix later. Several smaller bags can be placed into a larger bag to keep them all together, sorted and separated into useful groups you can find in a snap.


A Tisket A Tasket

I like baskets for allowing differently sized items to group together. The contents of a larger basket labeled* "hair care" might hold combs, bobby pins, barrettes, conditioner, or a blow dryer. Under the sink you can keep all your cleaning supplies together in one basket. In your linen closet you might find wash cloths stay neater when contained; the right basket can also add a splash of style. Magazines and newspaper clippings can look much better when hidden in the depths of a sweet wicker ensemble. The only limit to your decorative flair is your imagination!


*You can affix labels or just remember the designated category for a container.

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