We all know organization is a big part of keeping a house looking sharp—but what do you do when your closets fill to brimming and you no longer have room to put things away? We’ve all been there: the moment when you go to put away a new purchase, only to pause before opening the closet door. You know there’s no space in there…so you decide to A. Open the door, shove the new thing in, and close the door as quickly as possible, or B. Lay the new thing gingerly on a chair and walk away (with the full intention of putting it away later, of course).
Break the Cycle—Reduce, Remove, Organize
The first step you can take to reduce clutter in your storage areas is to remove everything and make a pile of giveaways. There are many theories on deciding what to get rid of, but a general rule of thumb is anything you haven’t worn in at least a year. One exception is formal or specialty wear (ski suits, ball gowns, etc.), which you may only need once every two years or so—but with these items, only keep what you can fit into!
Next, remove all out-of-season clothes—put away the shorts until it is realistically going to be warm enough to wear them. Create a box or bin that you can put away in an attic, basement, or garage, and be sure to label it with the date and appropriate season.
The third step is to organize whatever needs to stay in the closet. Use these tips to regain control of your closets and your life:
Four Creative Ways to Maximize your Closet Space
- Make the most of your vertical storage. In most modern homes, the closet has a ceiling at least as high as the room it is located in. Make the most of this valuable storage space by adding shelves, using extenders or rod doublers for hanging clothing, and adding a small set of open utility shelves for shoes, handbags, and other items. Specialty hangers for ties, shirts, and jewelry also allow you to make use of your vertical space.
- Apply hooks to the walls to store costume jewelry, scarves, and anything else that will lie nearly flush with the wall. Homeowners can use traditional hardware for the hooks; renters can use removable adhesive hooks instead to reduce closet damage.
- Don’t forget the door. The inside of the closet door is a prime location for storing items you wear regularly or need to access quickly, like outerwear. Shoe organizers designed for over the door use work for shoes—but socks, mittens, gloves and other soft accessories fit easily inside.
- Make labels: Use storage bins or baskets to hold items on shelves, but use labels to let you know what is inside each box. This is essential!
Have you ever spent a small fortune at the department store, only to discover a month later that you already had extra _____(fill in the blank. Leggings? Socks? Sports bras?) hiding at the back of a drawer, or shoved under the bed in an old bin? Making the most of your space does more than just allow you to cram additional items into your nooks and crannies; it allows you to quickly assess the contents of your closets and containers, to understand what you have, which can prevent duplicate purchases. Once you’ve tackled your clothes closets, you can use these same methods on the pantry, bathroom, and kids’ room closets, allowing you to reduce clutter in every area of your home.