Assess your “biggest closet problem” first: Do you have too many shoes for the space? Get a better shoe system like an over the door organizer or hanging shoe rack. Do you have too many clothes for the space? Get thinner hangers to make more room. Having trouble finding your items in the morning, divide the t-shirts, dresses, jeans, etc. into separated sections. Or is it that you have WAY TOO MANY EXTRA things in the closet? Find them a new “home” or contain them in one “extras” box in your closet. Whatever your biggest problem in the closet is, attack that first. The rest will be easier by default.
Recruit the Troops. No matter how much of a super mom or dad you are, the whole family should help with this task. Not only should it be your spouse and kids’ responsibility to organize their clothes, accessories and toys but chances are if you try to do it without them, you’ll throw away something that seems insignificant to you but important to them. Plus you’ll cut your cleaning time way down.
Schedule Time: Block off an hour on your calendar this week or next to tackle the problem. When you actually carve out out the time, it’s amazing what you can accomplish in an hour. If you don’t have a free hour, you should at least be able to break it up into two half-hour sessions. If you need to, arrange for someone watch the kids. Better yet, have your spouse take the kids out of the house for an hour while you go to work and then return the favor when it’s their turn to hit the closets.
Start from Scratch. Take the time to pull everything out of your closet and then throw away and donate what you don’t need. If you don’t take it all out, chances are you’ll just move the same unnecessary or unwanted items to another part of the closet.
Declutter quickly. The easiest way to declutter your closet is to get rid of anything that is not clothing, shoes, or accessories. Bank statements, insurance information, or tax documents should never be in your bedroom closets. Pick up a Life.doc to organize all of your most critical information in one, easily accessible binder. Then get a File.starter to file away all of your important loose papers in a file cabinet or milk crate.
Organize in Sections. Designate areas of your closets specifically for shoes, hats, sweaters, etc and stick to them. This will save you time in the morning when you’re looking for that black cardigan. If you only have areas to hang items, put in shelves as this will better utilize your space
Apply the 80/20 Rule: The majority of clothes you have probably go unworn. We don’t know if it’s true or not, but we’ve heard the statistic that the average American only wears 10% – 20% of the clothes they own. Try to eliminate some of the extras. As you rotate in your new wardrobe, put those items that you haven’t worn once in the previous season in a bag to give to charity or swap with friends. And anything with holes in it should be either thrown out immediately or put in the rag bin. Be ruthless!
Try the One in One out rule: For each new item you buy to put in a closet, force yourself to donate one item (or pitch it if it is past its prime). This will keep the pack rat in you contained!
Keep It Up: Use 15 minutes a week to straighten and deal with your closet for every week after the “big clean” organizing day. When you tackle it BEFORE it becomes a nightmare, you save more time and will have less stress over it later.
Reward Yourself: Give yourself a treat when this pesky task out of the way. Do something to celebrate the clutter free closets like buying a stylish hanging sweater organizer or even a new shirt. You’ll certainly have room for it!