5 Powerful Strategies You Need Beyond a Closet System to Stay Organized (from a company who sells closet systems!)
Just like I don’t have the cure for cancer – keeping a closet organized is about more than just a closet organization system. I wish our products were the end all and be all. Eliminating clutter and disorganization once and for all. If they did have this power, there would no longer be shows about hoarding, or people with OCD being stressed out about their closets being completely in order.
Closet cabinetry and organization systems are fantastic tools. Here’s some important benefits they provide:
• A structure to keep your clothes neat
• Adjustability so your closet can change as your needs change.
• They can be designed to double or even triple your storage space
While closet systems have nice features what they can’t do is to manage you and me on a daily basis. They can’t cut down our on-line or mall shopping obsession. They can’t help us know how, or where, to effectively fold and store our clothes. Closet systems do an excellent job providing a structure to be organized. They don’t give us the day to day skills to keep us in line (now I sound like I’m managing my kids when they were younger) and stay organized.
So, if closet systems can’t keep us organized on a daily basis how can we stay on top of our “organization game?” Read 5 powerful strategies below to keep your closets organized and your stress level down.
Strategy #1 – Getting filled with the discipline to declutter
Organization is a discipline. Ouch – I said that dirty “d” word. It’s easy for closets to get cluttered. Just keep buying more stuff and not taking anything out for a while and watch your closet balloon to unmanageable proportions. So here’s 3 simple ideas to keep things in line and not let clutter accumulate:
1. Have a donation basket in your closet. When you buy one item, find at least one item you’re not wearing and put it into the donation basket.
2. For the next 6 months turn the hanger around for every clothing item you’ve worn. At the end of 6 months you’ll be able to see all of the items you haven’t worn. Donate or discard (if they can’t be worn by anyone) at least 50% of these clothes.
3. Allocate 30 minutes to try on clothes you’re not sure fit any more. If they don’t fit today either put them into a plastic bin with a date to try on again or put them in the donate pile now.
Strategy #2 – Learn how to fold
This may seem like an odd strategy (learning how to fold) but a BIG problem in many closets is there are too many items hanging (note: hanging takes more space than folded clothes). When you get too many items hanging the clothes become jammed together and you can’t find ANYTHING (has your closet ever resembled this remark?).
Yes – I know you may be saying folding is a pain and it’s difficult trying to pull something out of the middle of a folded stack – but there’s actually some solutions for this. One solution (which works well for clothes which you are storing in a drawer) is to fold clothes standing up. This way when you open up the drawer you can see everything you have. This will stop you from always choosing the same thing on the top of the pile.
The other option is there are products which separate clothes which you have to stack on shelves so you can effectively pull one out without messing up other clothes in the stack.
Strategy #3 – Birds of a feather need to be stored together
'Instead of birds of a feather - #clothes of a feather should be stored together!' Click To Tweet
A big problem is storing your dresses, pants, coats and blouses in multiple closets. While there can be cases where you have to do this (see my post titled “How to design 2 tiny cramped closets to work as 1 organized space”) in most instances when you thin your clothes out you should keep like items together. This makes it simple to know where to find something and helps avoid buying duplicates. I would also recommend keeping colors together so you can save time coordinating outfits.
Strategy #4 – Embrace minimalism, not consumerism
'Easy just happens, but simple is planned, carefully executed and well executed.' Click To Tweet
It’s easy to accumulate stuff. Ugly sweaters from your sweet Aunt Betty with bad taste. Clothes which looked phenomenal on the mannequin but when you got them home just don’t look as good on you as they did in the window. An organized, simplified and clutter-free life can be a challenging thing to attain. I love this quote from The Minimalists about embracing a minimalist life:
“Easy just happens, but simple is planned, carefully curated and well executed.”
The way to a less cluttered lifestyle is to take an “inventory” and organize what you have (see strategy 3). Then strategically identify what you “need.” Create a list of these needs and then as The Minimalist quote says “curate” (or buy) where you see gaps in your wardrobe. Don’t let yourself get sidetracked on a “retail therapy” mission (buying for the sake of making yourself feel good). Be strategic and execute only on what you really need.
Strategy #5 – Think like a grocery store – rotate your “goods”
If you have a huge glamour closet like Khloe Kardashian you probably don’t need this advice. If your closet is like the rest of us (you have more stuff than you know what to do with) the need to “rotate” your clothes is important.
While you’re not going to rotate clothing as often as a grocery store rotates vegetables, you do need to think about seasonally rotating your wardrobe.
What works best for most people is to have a Fall/Winter wardrobe and a Spring/Summer wardrobe. Keep some storage units in your basement with past seasons clothing so you’ll be able to have a more spacious closet year-round.
The right formula to get your closets organized is to have an organization system to create the “structure” for an organized closet, but to really KEEP your closet organized you’ll need to the discipline to be true to the 5 strategies above.
If you need help with a Columbus closet organizer system contact Innovate Home Org in Columbus at 614-545-6888 or in Cleveland 216-658-1290. If you need help organizing your closet (and setting up the daily personal disciplines to keep things organized) call a professional organizer. There are many good ones you can find through the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers.
For more information on closet organizing follow the Author on Twitter @Mike_Foti or our companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.
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