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Posts Tagged ‘closet’

It’s now day three of this week’s wardrobe series and we’re to the point where we can start organizing our clothes storage spaces. This is my favorite kind of organization, so pardon me for being a little excited this morning! Since you’ve done a little clothes decluttering by choosing what to get rid of and either selling or donating it, your storage spaces are now ripe for some creative arranging.

Let’s face it. Not all closets are created equal. Not all dressers are created equal. And those of you with neither closets nor dressers have had to find unique storage solutions for your clothes that perhaps no one else uses. My point is, I can’t really tell you exactly how to organize your specific wardrobe storage spaces, but I can give you some handy guidelines to go by.

Why organize your clothes? You know what you own (hopefully) and if you have a smallish wardrobe, you probably know just about where everything is. But what about using that space more efficiently? We could all use a little more room here and there. Furthermore, have you considered the benefits of logical arrangements of clothes? There are a lot of creative ways to arrange your bins, dresser drawers, or close racks, and by doing so, you will find your clothes more easily and keep track of what you wear (and don’t wear). And if your wardrobe is the opposite of smallish, then organized arranging is a must!

I dream of a walk-in closet

Honey, are you reading this? I’d like a large walk-in closet with shelves, numerous racks, and creative storage spaces. Are you writing this down? How does this weekend work for you? Um, ya, does this sound familiar? Do you dream of a large closet that will pretty much organize your clothes for you? Well, maybe someday I’ll get my wish (hint hint), but for now my basic single rack closet will have to do. And don’t get me wrong—it’s totally functional and it does its job (it’s better than no closet, right?). No matter what sort of closet you have, below I’ve outlined some simple guidelines to help you get it organized through a little creative arranging.

  • Arrange clothes by seasonMonday’s post generated some good discussion about in-season versus off-season clothing. Some people store their off-season clothes in another location (e.g. the basement) and then make the switch when the weather starts changing. I am able to keep my clothes in the closet all at once, so seasonal organizing isn’t a necessary solution for me. But consider the possibilities of removing half of your clothes (or your kid’s clothes) from your closet and storing them in bins in the basement for a season? Would this free up some much-needed space for other things?
  • Arrange clothes by type.  If seasonal arranging isn’t your cup of tea or you don’t really need to go this route, then the next logical level of arranging is by type. What I mean by this is pants, t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, skirts, dresses, etc. Keeping similar clothes together is a sure way to be able to find what you want and keep a good inventory of what you own. When you arrange your clothes in this manner, you’ll not only be able to just go easily grab a sweater from your sweater section, you’ll also be able to get an idea of just how many sweaters you actually have. You might just discover that a little decluttering is in order.
  • Arrange clothes by color.  Now don’t go rolling your eyes and think, “she’s one of those organizing nuts.” I admit that organizing something like your DVD collection by color might look pretty in passing, but it is not at all functional. However, arranging your clothes by color is a whole different story. When you choose a skirt to wear to a play, you probably have a particular color of blouse you’d like to wear with it, right? Let’s say you want to wear a pink blouse. If you have your clothes arranged by type and color, you’d first head over to your blouse section. Then you’d find your pink blouses and easily choose the one you’d like to wear. All the pink options are right there in front of you and you aren’t left digging around your entire closet to see you if have a better pink alternative. Plus, the beauty of the color system is that when you go to put your blouse back after you’ve worn it, you know exactly where to put it. Systems stay in place. Your clothes begin organizing themselves…well, you know what I mean.

The old faithful dresser

Perhaps you don’t have a closet. Or maybe you have a closet but you need a little extra space for certain clothes. Next I’d like to share a few tips about how your can arrange your dresser drawers. It’s one thing to let your eyes wander around your closet to find what you are looking for, but if you have to search through all your drawers to find that one pair of pants you need, then you are wasting precious time. If organized appropriately, your dressers can be as easy to navigate as your closet.

  • Assign dressers to basic categories of clothes.  My husband and I both have two dressers for our non-closet clothes. We each have a small night-stand dresser that contains our undergarments, socks, and other similar items. We also each have a regular-sized dresser where we keep the clothes that we prefer not (or don’t need) to hang up (like shorts, t-shirts, jeans, etc.). Therefore each dresser contains a particular group of clothes and makes for a logical division. If you only have one dresser per person in your household, then that’s fine—you’ll be more interested in the next tip.
  • Each drawer should contain only certain types of clothes.  It’s not really very effective to just throw clothes in whichever drawer currently has a wedge of room. How will you ever find anything? It’s best to assign each drawer to a particular clothes type (or a few clothes types). For example, one drawer can be socks and undergarments, one drawer can be all your pants, one drawer can be all your t-shirts. That way when you wear something, you not only know exactly which drawer to find it in, but you also know exactly which drawer to return it to. You’ll never be looking for spots to squeeze that clean laundry into ever again.
  • Maximize space usage in each drawer.  No matter if you are dealing with a sock drawer or a t-shirt drawer, it’s important to spend some time maximizing the space usage within the drawer. Is there a better way you can arrange the socks to fit more pairs? Is there a particular style of shirt-folding you can learn to be sure you are not wasting any space? Be creative!

Additional clothes storage options

If I wanted to bore you, I could outline and review a practically endless list of alternative clothes storage solutions. But I most certainly do not want to bore you! Instead, I’ll just suggest a few popular options if you are looking for additional space beyond your traditional closet or dresser.

  • Storage bins.  Clear plastic storage bins are the best kind because you can see what’s inside and they are usually stackable. Put them in your closet or under your bed, the locations are limitless! And if you want to be even more organized, you can label each bin so you can keep track of what’s inside. This type of storage solution would work particularly well if you wanted to arrange your clothes seasonally.
  • Collapsible clothes racks.  Perhaps your closet is full and you need more room. Or maybe one bedroom in your house has no closet, but you still want to hang certain clothes. Clothes racks are nice because they are usually cheap, quite adjustable, and can be collapsed and stored if you aren’t using them. Plus, you can pretty much put them anywhere!
  • Wardrobe armoires.  A level up from the adjustable clothes racks perhaps, these fancy pieces of furniture often offer a closet and dresser in one. They look nice and they are mobile, but you must be willing to spend a little more money.
  • Closet organizers.  This last option isn’t really an alternative clothes storage option per se—it’s really more of an improvement or addition you can make to your existing set-up. Google ‘closet organizers’ and you will find an overwhelming list of choices. These popular space-savers can be purchased at a number of stores, but you can also build one yourself!

Reader Reflection

I’ve offered some general clothes organization guidelines above that hopefully you will be able to apply to your wardrobe no matter your situation. However we all have unique lifestyles and homes, so would anyone like to share some creative clothes storage solutions you’ve come up with?

What’s next?

Continuing the wardrobe series, tomorrow we’ll investigate some shopping tips when it comes time for us to have to buy new clothes.

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I’m pretty excited about this week’s series, Organize My Wardrobe. One of the reasons I’m excited is because I plan to play along with the rest of you and do a little work with my own wardrobe. If there’s one thing we need to always stay on top of in our lives, it’s our clothes collection. As clothes constantly come and go in our lives, we need to be sure we have a system in place to organize our wardrobe every step of the way. Each day this week I will explore a different topic:

  • Monday: Clothes Clutter Control Part 1 [Reducing clothes clutter]

What is clothes clutter?

So today I’d like to start off the series by tackling clothes clutter. Just what do I mean by clothes clutter, you ask? In general I mean clothes that you don’t need or don’t wear that are just taking up your precious space and causing stressful clutter. I’m not going to get on a pedestal and tell you all to be minimalists and have one pair of clothing. I happen to love clothes myself! What I would like to do is take you through a step-by-step process of fine-tuning your clothes collection to get it down to a manageable and appropriate size. It’s time to take a deep breath. You can do it! And remember I’ll be doing it too.

Step 1: Sort your clothes

The first thing you need to do is go through your clothes and begin sorting. This first step is fairly easy actually, so enjoy it! Simply go through all your clothes items, one by one, and start sorting them into the following categories:

A. I wear this regularly.
B. Hmm, I haven’t worn this in a while…
C. Uh, I’ve actually never worn this.
D. Wow, I had no idea I owned this!
E. Gosh, I wonder if this still fits me?
F. Ugh, did I actually go out in public wearing this?

Step 2: Make piles, lots of piles

Make piles, rearrange sections in your closet, whatever works. Just get everything sorted and BE HONEST. Also while sorting, be sure to keep in mind things like seasonality (i.e. you don’t wear winter clothes in summer and vice versa) and other conditions like pregnancies (i.e. certain clothes don’t fit when you are pregnant, but you will resume wearing them again afterwards). Now let’s tackle the individual piles:

  • PILE A [I wear this regularly.]: Yay! Put these clothes right back into your closet. You love them. You wear them all the time. These clothes have the qualities you should be looking for when you more closely examine the rest of your clothes in piles B through F.
  • PILE B [Hmm, I haven’t worn this in a while…]: A good rule to go by is to ask yourself this question: Have I worn this in the last year? (again, consider seasons). If you haven’t worn it in ONE year, then you will likely never wear it again. Find a box. Use this box for all the clothes you decide to get rid of. We’ll call it the CCC box (for clothes clutter control).
  • PILE C [Uh, I’ve actually never worn this.]: This is a phenomenon I’ve encountered with my husband before. Now I don’t want to pick on him here, I just want to illustrate a point. When we were packing up his apartment to move into our new house, I discovered clothes in his drawers I had never seen him wear before. He told me they were clothes he had purchased for amazing prices at thrift stores with his brothers years ago. Buying clothes at thrift stores is a wonderful practice, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a problem with the system if you never actually end up wearing them! Put them in the CCC box.
  • PILE D [Wow, I had no idea I owned this!]: This pile could be a fun one, but it could also be a sign that you have too many clothes. On one hand, you might discover a clothes item you didn’t remember you had because somehow it had gotten shoved way back into the bottom drawer of your dresser. That’s fine. Resurrect it and wear it. Put it in PILE A. On the other hand, you might discover a clothes item you didn’t remember because you have several closets full of clothes and couldn’t possibly keep track of them all. This is an indication that you might have too many clothes.
  • PILE E [Gosh, I wonder if this still fits me?]: This pile gives us a chance to play dress-up! But be warned, you might be disappointed. A few days ago I tried on a dress I wore on the first date I had with my husband. Guess what? It didn’t fit. In fact I could barely get it on. Oops! I’d better cut back on the ice cream a little. In any case, clothes that don’t fit really should just go into the CCC box. I know I’ve said it before and you might be thinking it now, “but what if I lose weight and it fits me again someday?” Great! Lose weight (I hope to do this!). But be honest with yourself–by the time that happens, will you still want to wear that dress? See PILE F.
  • PILE F [Ugh, did I actually go out in public wearing this?]. This is the pile of clothes that cause you to scratch your head and ask yourself how in the world you ever went out in public wearing something so wacky! Fitting with the pile letter, these are perhaps the clothes you’d give an ‘F’ grade to. Let’s face it, clothes go in and out of style so quickly it’s ridiculous. But again, you need to be honest with yourself. Will you ever wear those parachute pants again? What about that sweater that looks like something straight out of the Cosby Show? If a shirt just makes you shudder looking at it, put in the CCC box.

Wait a minute, you didn’t mention shoes!

Nope I didn’t mention shoes. In fact I didn’t really get much into specifics at all. The above list of ‘piles’ is meant to be a general guide. You can use the guide for shoes, as well as jackets, undergarments, hats, and anything else you can wear. As far as specifically managing individual clothes items goes (like your prized shoe collection, for example), I’ll reserve those topics for another day.

What about kid’s clothes?

Excellent question. While today’s guide won’t work exactly with kid’s clothes as well as with our clothes, it still fits in most areas. What you need to consider is the further element of clothes-sharing and hand-me-downs, something we’ll actually discuss in more detail tomorrow.

What’s next?

Speaking of tomorrow, here’s what’s coming up in the Organize My Wardrobe series: I’ll outline some creative ways you can get rid of the clothes you put in your CCC box, from making a little money, to helping someone in need.

Reader Reflection

How does clothes clutter control work out for you and your lifestyle? Do you have any stories to share?

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