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Closet Organization Made Easy

It’s tempting to just shut the door on closet chaos. But organizing your closet can bring much-needed peace and calm to your wardrobe and your psyche. Check out our quick and easy step-by-step guide.

With a mile-long to-do list, closet organization probably isn’t your top priority. After all, you can just close the door and forget it’s even there! But avoidance won’t work forever, and closet chaos can take a toll worse than any wardrobe malfunction.

“When there’s no organization to your closet, you can feel out of control,” says Debra Baida, founder of the organizing firm Liberated Spaces. “It’s overwhelming and the stress can spill into other areas of your life.”

Fortunately, creating and maintaining an organized closet is easier than you might think. These tips will help you find peace — both in the closet and out.

1. Ditch the deadweight.

Why waste time rummaging through never-worn items to find a favorite? The key to closet organization is purging the shabby, outdated and unused. Here’s how:

  • Use the wear test. If you haven’t worn an item for a year, put it aside. You should only keep pieces you either love or wear frequently.
  • Nix nostalgia. It’s common to feel sentimental attachment to clothes — the dress you wore to your engagement party, for example. But instead of letting it clutter your closet when you never wear it, frame a photo of you in it. “A picture can be enough to satisfy the memory,” says Baida.
  • Follow the one-size-away rule. Yes, you may fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans at some point, but keeping ill-fitting clothes eats up space and can be a depressing reminder that you haven’t met your goal. Instead, “only keep clothes that are within one size of your current one,” says Baida. When you do reach your goal weight, reward yourself with new duds.
  • Phone a friend. If you have trouble parting with things, ask an honest friend to help. Hearing from her that something isn’t flattering might be all you need to toss it.

2. Arrange like with like.

When you arrange your clothes, group them by category. Put all your work blouses together, line up jeans one after the other, and so on. Finding what you want is easier when you only need to look in one place, says Baida.

3. Keep shoes visible.
Shoes take up a lot of space and get messy quickly. Invest in some multi-tier racks that fit under short items, such as shirts. They’ll be easier to see and keep organized. Store rarely worn shoes (like dressy high heels) in clear boxes on a shelf or under the bed.

4. Give accessories their own place.
For scarves and belts, try using a clear, pocketed shoe organizer that hangs over the door. The pockets keep items separate and let you locate them quickly.

5. Heed the seasons.

If you switch over your closet to match the weather, assess last season’s staples before putting them in storage. If you didn’t wear something all season, it’s probably safe to donate.

6. Maintain the newfound order.
Whenever you buy something new, think of it as a replacement for a less-fabulous piece. A one-in, one-out approach helps you keep up the space you’ve allotted for each category, says Baida.

Once your closet’s in order, it’ll be one less thing bugging you in the morning. And the more stress-free your a.m. routine, the more you can focus on what really matters. 

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