De-Clutter! A Guide to Organizing Your Closet

Your closet may have been what sold you on your house. It is so big and spacious you feel like you could happily sleep in it among the beautiful new clothes you will buy to fill it. As the weeks turn into months, however, your dream closet turns into a repository for everything: old sports gear, boxes of photographs and a portable CD player you still have for some reason even though NO ONE uses CD players anymore. You need to de-clutter. Here’s how.

Keep or Toss?

When it comes to your clothes, you are probably hanging on to way too much. Ask yourself three questions: Do I love it? Is it flattering? Is it the image I want to project? If you say yes to all three, you can keep it. Otherwise, put it in one of two piles: donate or toss. You can also keep clothing based on the last time you wore it. If you didn’t wear it once over the two last years, it doesn’t make the cut.

Zone Defense

Your walk-in can be a dream if it’s functional or a disaster if it’s a mess. If you organize your belongings in zones, you can turn it into a one-stop wardrobe breeze. Arrange your clothes the way you think. For example, if you think in terms of occasion, separate clothes by work, weekend or evening. You can also separate by garment: dress, skirt, blouse; or by season. Once you know how to break it down, arrange all the clothes by color. It’s practical and it looks good.

Other Tricks

Some other quick tips to effective organization:

  • Stagger shoes with one facing forward and one facing back – more will fit on the shelf that way.  Or use clear shoe boxes with photos of your shoes tapped to the outside for an easy way to find your favorite pair.
  • If your closet is narrow, hang hooks along the back for purses or coats.
  • Use your closet just for clothes. If anything else has accumulated, find another appropriate place in the house for it – like the attic or under your bed.

Give It Away

As you are piling up the clothes and items you no longer need, consider donating it instead of letting it take up space in a landfill. There are plenty of places that accept gently used clothing:

  • Salvation Army or Goodwill
  • Women’s shelters and homeless shelters
  • Churches
  • Veterans groups, like Vietnam Veterans of America
  • Big Brother Big Sister

Remember to get a receipt from any nonprofit you give clothes to, as you should be able to get a tax deduction for your donation. Be sure to track how many garments you donated and what condition they are in, as that will affect how much you are credited.