Fashion stylist Amy Salinger has a simple mantra for organizing your closet: “If you don't see it, you won't wear it.” A tidy closet, with like items grouped together, means that not only is it more likely you will make the most of the clothes you have, but it also saves time spent hunting for something to wear in the morning. Here are some tips for getting your closet in order.
Bring method to the madness. Having a plan and attacking one area of the closet at a time will help keep you from getting overwhelmed. “When you are getting rid of clutter in your closet, take it a step at a time, doing first the floor, then the clothes on the rod and then the shelf,” says Marilyn Bohn, a professional organizer and author of Go Organize!
Start with shoes. Clear the floor of the closet. Find new homes for anything that doesn’t belong that has strayed in there, like paperwork or stored gifts, and use a shoe rack to make it easier to keep pairs of shoes together. “A hanging shoe rack is a great way to be able to visually see every style that you have,” Salinger says. She advises using a laundry basket for boots and bulkier shoes and leaving your “go-to shoes” that you wear every day on the floor of the closet, close at hand.
Hang it all. Clear off the closet rod. Before you return each item to the closet, evaluate it. Does it fit? Do you like it? Does it need mending, washing or dry cleaning? Dump anything that is damaged beyond repair, and donate items you no longer like. Hang like with like, so all your pants are together, all your dresses, vests, jackets side by side. Within each group, you can further organize by color or style or any other way that makes sense to you.
Put evening dresses and other items you might not wear often in the back. If your closet is overcrowded even after organizing, identify items you wear only in summer and those you wear only in winter. Store winter clothes in boxes on high shelves or under the bed throughout summer, and vice versa.
Handbags can be hung on the wall or on an over-door storage hanger. Hanging organizers with pockets can be used for shoes, accessories, shirts or socks if you have more rod space than shelves or drawers.
Shelve it. When you have tidied up your rod space, organize shelves. Store sweaters, jeans and linens so that a single fold appears at the front of the stack. This makes it easier to see what you have and also to retrieve a single item without messing up the whole stack. Use shelf dividers to keep clutch bags and other items upright and separate. Finally, use drawer organizers to make it easier to keep socks and other small items in order.