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Closet Organizing - Ouch! What Fell On My Head?

Nov 7, 2007
Yikes! Does this article's title sound like your experience in domestic organizing? You need help!

Don't panic! Let's start with a simple (yet messy) closet and I'll show you step-by-step how to put that whole things-falling-on-the-head problem behind you.

One of the most important parts in closet organizing is probably one you've managed to overlook. What is it?

Getting rid of the junk.

Okay, okay. I know I've struck a chord here. You're pulling out your hair. You're looking for a place to hide.

Really, it's gonna be okay!

Let's start with an easy question. Have you ever given thought to why you keep the things you keep? There's a reason why you have all those items stuffed inside your closet. At one point you liked these things enough to purchase them, right? Or maybe some of these things were (gasp) gifts?

Do you find it difficult to toss away gifts without feeling guilty for at least...six years or until the giver has died?

Well, I'll admit it. I do find it difficult to throw away stuff I was given as gifts. The problem is, of course, that if I am storing it in a closet, I'm not using the item, am I? Unless I have a terrific reason for storing it between uses (if the item is seasonal, for example), it would be smarter to recycle it in some way, by giving it away to someone else who will actually use it or by offering it a home in the trashcan.

Is just thinking about this painful? Hang in there with me!

Let's take a trip through a typical overstuffed closet and see what we might be able to toss so that our closet organizing efforts will be at least minimally successful. Here we go.

-- Starting right in front of us.

When we open the closet doors, the first thing we lay our eyes on is the rack of clothing. Susan Wright, author of "Good-bye Clutter", suggests starting with whatever's in the back of the closet. Why? Well, if you used it all the time, it would be out front, wouldn't it?

Okay. Deep breath, let's dive in.

* Is the item too small or too large? It goes in the Giveaway Pile.

* Is it too ugly? Put it in the Giveaway Pile (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all).

* Is it too worn? Throwaway Pile.

* Is it too outdated? Giveaway Pile (see 'too ugly' above).

* Are you undecided about the item? Then it goes in the Thinking-about-it Pile (this pile will go in your garage for six months. If you have not thought about it or retrieved it within that time period, it magically changes into another Giveaway Pile and goes to your local charity).

What's left? Remove seasonal items and pack away until needed. Arrange remaining clothing so you can see what you've got; pants with pants, blouses with blouses, etc.

You're doing great! Let's tackle this next section with our eyes OPEN, okay?

-- Looking up.

What's in the high, back spaces of your closet? Can't see? Don't WANT to see there? Be brave! Grab a sturdy step-stool and take a look. Here's your goal for this part of your closet organizing adventure: clean out the space, toss what is trash, give away what needs to be given away and put the remaining items in boxes or containers. Then mark those containers so you'll know what's in them at a glance.

Hey! No more falling objects! I told you this would work!

-- Looking down.

We're probably looking at shoes now, but there could be other items hiding on your closet floor, as well. If there are dust bunnies mixed in with everything, resist naming them and get to work.

Pull everything on the floor out of your closet. Then sort it all. Clean your closet floor. Get a shoe organizer and put those matching pairs on it. The other stuff should be tossed, given away...you get the drill.

You are making progress! Only five (or so) more closets in your home to go....

-- Pulling it together.

Here's a step to closet organizing that can really make the difference. Now that you know exactly what's in your closet and can clearly see the space in which that stuff is in, you are in an excellent position to organize even better.

What bins, baskets or shelves would give you even more space and help you keep things where they belong? Mark down the measurements of your space, grab your ideas and go shopping.

While shopping take a look at the many gadgets available for closet organizing and give thought to which ones would help you the most. You don't need to spend a lot (although you certainly can spend a wad on closet organizing) and you can end up with a closet that uniquely fits your needs.

Hey, great job! After this the only thing falling on your head when you visit your closet will be the satisfaction of a job well done.
About the Author
Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 26 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at http://www.paintedgold.com . Visit her website and get more easy tips about closet organizing today.
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