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Five Steps For Organizing Your Closet Space

Updated on September 22, 2009

It seems like no closet is big enough to hold everything you want to store in it. There's never enough room. Sure, if you squeeze and push you'll eventually get the door shut, but when you fling it open again you may never find what you're looking for. True, if you had twice the space, it might relieve the stress, but only for a while. Without prudent organization, your closet will eventually fill up, and you'll feel stressed again.

The closet problem has five possible solutions, each one demanding progressively more attention and creativity:

  1. Empty and organize
  2. Sort and dispose
  3. Make every inch count
  4. Expand your space
  5. Seek alternative storage

No matter what choices you make, the following items will be useful:

Cardboard boxes
Drawstring cloth bags
Packing tape or twine
Pencils, erasers, and plain or graph paper
Yardstick or measuring tape

Optional tools and supplies:

Paint and brushes or rollers
Adhesive-backed wallpaper or self-stick paper
Fabric and staples or tacks

Empty and Organize

Set aside time, perhaps on a rainy Sunday or an afternoon when the family is out. Lock the cat in the kitchen; send the family dog outdoors. You don't want furry creatures with dirty paws sitting on or mussing up clean or freshly laundered clothing.

Open that closet door and be brave. Pull everything out, piece by piece.

Don't just dump it in a lump in the middle of the room. Start sorting immediately, and have cardboard boxes and drawstring cloth bags handy. If you sort as you go, the job will be less daunting.

Utilize every flat space in the room: bed, desk, table, floor. You want everything piled neatly and placed so you can see it. Lay things out carefully in categories; suits, jackets, coats, slacks, blouses, belts, shoes, accessories, plus everything else you've tucked away on upper shelves or in other hard-to-reach spots.

With everything out and visible, you can assess the condition of the closet and make spot improvements. Dust each shelf; poke a soft brush into every crease and corner. Why not have a clean space while you're at it?

After possibly years of neglect, or of being weighed down by accumulated belongings, some shelves may need shoring up. Now is the time to reinforce or rebuild them. Perhaps a partner's participation would be helpful.

Consider how well the closet functions. Would a higher-wattage light bulb let you see things better? Would fresh paint make the space less dingy or more appealing? If closet decorating suits your needs and skills, plan to do it while the space remains empty.

Unless your taste is demanding or the closet is used by frequent guests, you may want its walls to just look clean and bright. Quick-drying latex paint in any pale shade might do the trick, and it could be paint left over from another recent household improvement. One professional designer recommends painting closet walls with high-gloss white so they will reflect light, thus creating better visibility.

Some decorators roll on adhesive-backed wallpaper to make closet walls cheerier, or upholster the walls with fabric stapled on or held in place with decorative tacks. Self-stick paper with a wipeable finish is another way of keeping a clean, easily maintained closet-wall surface.

If yours is a shared closet, you might want to vary the color and finish throughout so that anyone using the space will know what goes where. You needn't be fancy. Wallpaper remnants or self-stick paper left over from other projects can be applied to define different areas. Don't reuse any patterns you've grown to hate; you don't want to grimace every time you open your closet.

An inviting ambience would be ideal, but most important is always knowing where to reach when you look inside.

Continued in Five Steps For Organizing Your Closet Space Part 2


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    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      This is inspired writing! Makes me want to run right home and get my closet organized. I feel like one day might not be enough, though...LOL! Voted up and useful.