Sometimes we take closets for granted, throwing things in and hurriedly closing the door before they can tumble out again. But there is a better way to manage storage space in these slender cubbies. Follow these easy tips:
- Designate a specific purpose for each closet in your home. For example, the bedroom closets usually hold one or more person’s clothes and a few personal belongings. Once you decide what goes where you’ll have an easier time of putting things in their rightful places. Even getting a lampshade to the room where its closet waits is a step or two in the right direction, rather than traveling up and down stairs later to search a half dozen closets in vain.
- Starting with clothes closets (usually in the bedroom or hallway), discard anything that hasn’t been worn in the last year or two. Unless you are saving it for a special occasion, such as a wedding dress or for an anniversary, you probably won’t wear it, so give it to someone who will at the Salvation Army. You can always get a similar version later on. Then make another pile of things that need to be mended–rips, missing buttons, torn hems, etc. Move these to your sewing area, assuming you have one. Now you should be left with just wearable clothing. Consider sorting slacks from tops, or suits from dresses or shirts. Line up shoes neatly at the bottom or get a shoe rack for the door. Belts and other accessories can be linked to hangers for that purpose. Other non-clothing items can be moved into more appropriate areas.
- Head for the bathroom closet next. Get rid of all outdated prescriptions or seldom-used medications or items (boric acid). Put hair items and make-up in one drawer, hygiene items like cotton swabs, or toothpaste in another. Use the space below your sink for storing cleansers.
- Now check the hall closet near the bedrooms. Organize linens by color-coding or in matched sets for easy location. Remove old dresser scarves or other pieces that no longer are used.
- The hall closet should hold just coats, hats, gloves, and other weather items, like scarves and umbrellas. Get rid of unsightly boxes, toys, or other unrelated things to free up room for guests’ outerwear.
- Put the collected items from all closets in boxes for the basement or attic. Match similar or related items and mark boxes accordingly: “Toys,” “Tools,” “Old letters and cards,” “Baby clothes.” Seal with tape if they will not be used soon and place on the bottom of your basement stacks or in a far corner. Place things that may be needed in more open areas, using a shelving arrangement if at all possible.
- Educate family members as to the new locations of these things, reminding them not to put things in the closets that don’t belong there now. Have them bring questions to you for a final storage decision.
- Look over all closet and shelf areas to see that items correlate to a basic body parts or eye level. For example, shoes belong at ground level, clothes and coats within arm’s reach, and hats or scarves on top shelves. Place soon-to-be-used boxes on top of each stack, with seldom-used boxes on the bottom. Discard all unneeded souvenirs, packaging, and boxes to free up more space.
Organizing your closets now will save search time later. Recruit a family member or friend and enjoy a visit as you set your closets in order.