Our closets are often neglected because it’s easier to just throw things in them and close the door. While house guests might never see our closets, they are a hidden source of stress and wasted time. A Huffington Post survey revealed that 47% of those surveyed said that home organization was a source of stress.
No matter how big or cluttered your closet is, one weekend is all you need to take your space from chaos to organized.
Step 1: Empty the Space
If you try to organize your closet from the inside, in the midst of the clutter, you are bound to waste more time and easily get overwhelmed by the whole process. You need to empty out your entire closet and start with a clean slate. This will allow you to set up a functional organizational system, as well as to minimize what goes back into the closet.
After you’ve made yourself some work space, empty out one closet at a time. If household organizing isn’t your favorite thing to do, then start with the smallest closet first, to help you build momentum.
Step 2: Minimize
Now that everything is out of the closet, it’s time to have a heart-to-heart with your stuff. Do you really need it all?
For bedroom closets, try on all of your clothes, shoes, and accessories. Yes, this is time-consuming, but it will save you time in the future. Everything that doesn’t fit or look good on you goes in the donation pile, no matter how much you paid for it. Don’t keep clothes around with the plan to wear them after you lose weight. When you lose weight, you deserve to buy something new that fits your new shape perfectly.
For kitchen pantries, throw out everything that’s expired and donate everything you don’t plan to use before it expires. For example, if you bought jars of capers to put in a recipe, but then changed your mind about the recipe, donate them to those in need or give them to a friend who will use them.
What about selling your stuff? If you can sell your unneeded items within a week or two, then by all means have a garage sale or list them on eBay or Craigslist. However, many times it is common for the items we intend on selling to sit and clutter our garages for months on end.
Step 3: Group Like Items Together
Once you have weeded out the items you don’t need, it is time to put like items together. Shoes go together in one pile, winter accessories in another pile, and so on. This step allows you to see how much storage you’ll need for each type of item.
Step 4: Find Organizing Solutions for Your Space
Maximize your closet space and pantry with baskets and other organizational tools, such as a belt or tie hanger. Choose matching baskets to make your space look clean and uniform, while also hiding away items you don’t need every day. A storage ottoman can hide blankets or bags, while also providing a place to sit while putting on your shoes.
Storage solutions do not have to drain your budget. Look for baskets and organizers at your local Dollar Tree, T.J.Maxx, or thrift store. You can even shop your home for unused baskets or storage containers. For example, a cleaned pasta sauce jar is the perfect size for housing loose AA batteries.
Step 5: Plan Out the Space
With your closet empty, you can reorganize the space in a way that makes the most sense. Take a few minutes to think and sketch out how you want your space to look and function. Next, take your empty baskets and storage containers and see where they fit best in your closet.
Step 6: Fill Your Containers and Label Them
Once you have your empty closet space planned and configured correctly with the baskets, it’s time to add in all of your stuff. Since you grouped like items together earlier, it should be simple to place each group into a basket. Label each container to help you remember what is inside and to help you keep everything in its place.
Step 7: Find Out What’s Not Working
Even with a newly organized closet or pantry, you might notice it is not as sparkling clean in a week or two. Don’t get discouraged. This is the time to evaluate what is not working for your space.
Look at your space and your daily habits and ask yourself:
- Are your everyday items too hard to reach?
- Do you need separate laundry hampers to make laundry days easier?
- Do you need to get rid of more stuff?
- Would you benefit from a different storage solution — such as a wall hook for purses rather than a basket?
Sometimes we need to tweak our daily habits to help ensure that our closets stay organized. Practicing a quick one to two minute daily cleanup of your closet or pantry space can save you from hours of organizing months later.
Bonus Tip 1: Adding More Storage in Bedroom and Hall Closets
Still need more storage in your closet? Look at your closet and see how much space is wasted. Consider adding a shelf above your existing shelf or below your clothing bar to make more room for baskets.
A closet doubler — that adds another row of hanging space — costs less than $10 at local and online stores. The best part is that the piece hangs off your existing closet bar, so no installation is required. A closet configuration kit, like one from Rubbermaid, costs less than $100 and can help you maximize dead space in a closet.
Bonus Tip 2: Adding More Storage in the Pantry
Whether you have a walk-in pantry or a tight cabinet to store your food, you can maximize the space to your benefit. Start off by getting rid of bulky packaging. Many times, pasta boxes and cereal boxes can take up more room than they have to. Use glass storage containers to save space and make your pantry look more appealing.
Over-the-door hangers on cabinets can add extra storage baskets for spices and canned goods. Utilize the space of a walk-in-pantry floor with large baskets to hold water bottles, onions and potatoes, and snacks. If you have the room, a small rolling cart can make it easy to store, pull out and clean up your most-used cooking essentials.
Organizing your closets and pantry can help save you time, energy, and money. When you can easily see everything in your space, you are less likely to waste time looking for it and less money replacing the item. You will also spend less energy stressing over your stuff and the cleanliness of your closets. You really can achieve an organized closet this weekend, and it’s sure to benefit the rest of your week.