January 12th, 2014

Ways to Organize Your Closet

by Jacqueline Whitmore

messy-closetDoes your closet look like the one in the picture above? If so, it’s time for a major overhaul!
Organizing my closet is something I usually put off until the New Year. So few of us enjoy doing it, but with these time-tested tips from my friends at TomJames.com, the task will be much easier.

Examine the fit, condition, and fashion of everything in your wardrobe. Try on anything that you haven’t worn in the past six months or aren’t completely sure about the fit. Set aside anything that doesn’t work for whatever reason (doesn’t fit, wrong color for you, doesn’t fit with your personal style or lifestyle, etc.) Be particularly ruthless with accessories such as ties, belts and handbags.

Divide your wardrobe into four categories:

  1. Items that you will never wear again.
  2. Clothing that might be worn again if properly altered, repaired or coordinated.
  3. Year-round basics. Further divide these items as either dress or casual.
  4. Seasonal, special occasion, and collectible or vintage garments.

Dump or donate everything in the first category. Donate items that can still be useful to someone. Throw out everything else.

Alter or repair all items in the second category. You should also get some idea of how you will wear each item and what you need to add to your wardrobe to complete those looks.

Place all items in the third category in the front of your closet. These items will be your “go-to” clothing. Consider your dressing habits and lifestyle as you organize this portion. (Men: button-up shirts that you wear with a suit or sport coat should be separate from others that are more casual.)

Divide your seasonal clothing into fall/winter and spring/summer sections. Keep the current season’s items near the front and properly store the rest. Special occasion clothing such as tuxedos, cocktail dresses, etc., should be properly cataloged and stored.

Additional Tips for a Functional Closet:

  1. Place your clothes on identical hangers (my favorite is the ultra-slim, no-slip velvet suit hangers), all facing the same direction and properly spaced.
  2. Remove dry-cleaning plastic bags. (Use canvas suit bags that breathe for those items that only get occasional use.)
  3. Organize clothing (suits, sport coats, skirts and dress slacks) from dark to light: black; navy and other shades of blue; charcoal and other shades of gray; earth tones; all others (orange, red, purple, etc.)
  4. Organize shirts from dark to light; from solid to more boldly patterned.
  5. Knits should all be folded (never on hangers). Try not to put more than two or three in one stack, whether they are in drawers or on shelving.
  6. Organize shoes from formal to casual; by color, dark to light; and by style, lace-up or slip-on.

Whenever your feet aren’t in a pair of shoes, put a set of adjustable cedar shoes trees in them. Aromatic cedar draws will keep your shoes looking newer longer. They also draw out excess moisture and deodorizes with a forest-fresh scent. You can buy them for men’s and women’s shoes.

Use a steamer instead of an iron to remove wrinkles. Instead of crushing the fibers into submission with the hot pressure of an iron, steam removes wrinkles by relaxing the fibers. Regular use of a steamer, whether at home or when traveling, can dramatically reduce your dry-cleaning costs and keep your clothing looking great longer.

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