Friday, October 1, 2010

Organizing Your Clothes Closet

by Eileen Koff

Are you playing Russian roulette when you open your closets; afraid of what might come crashing down? Taking back your clothes closet is easier than you thought if you adapt simple strategies and techniques. Here are my top tips that will have you singing instead of moaning when you enter the dark and mysterious space that was once your closet.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Closet

• Start with a bright light. How can you see anything in the dark recesses of your closet unless you shed a little light on the subject? Have no room for a light fixture or hanging bulb. No problem! There are ingenious stick-um up lights sold online or at your local hardware store, and while you’re there, check out the new true–color light bulbs now on the market.

• Create more hanging space. If you’re clothes are crammed together like a can of sardines, the best approach is to get more hanging space. No, you don’t have to bump your son out of his room and make that your closet; all you need is a double hanging rod. Hanging rods that hook over existing rails are a smart, inexpensive, and an instant way to create extra room for short hanging clothes.

• Consider an over-the-door organizer. If you have a small closet, take advantage of the space on the back of the door. There are a lot of “over-the-door” organizers that can help you maximize storage space.

• Use a valet rod. When designing my own closet, adding a valet rod was the best decision I made. A clothing valet is a sturdy telescoping rod that can be installed into existing melamine or closet partitions. The valet slides out to create an instant nine inches of hanging space and can hold up to 30 pounds. I love putting my clothes choices together for the next day. This helps me to not only save time in the morning, but it allows me to see the many choices I have. Basically, it releases my inner fashionista.

• Replace wire hangers. Count the number of wire hangers in your closet. If you have more than 10, then you win the frugal award. You may say, “They’re free, so why do I have to pay for expensive hangers?” There's a good reason wire hangers are free: they're basically worthless. If you want to prolong the life of your clothes, keep them on wood, padded or felt covered hangers. Your clothes will thank you by maintaining their shape.

• Add hooks to your closet. Hooks for your scarves and belts are another organizing wonder for the closet. Until I installed my belt hook, my belts and scarves invariably got tangled or lost on the floor. Remember these also work great for ties. The 3M Company has a great product called Command Hooks. No longer do you have to worry about holes and scratches your walls. These hooks come in all sizes, finishes and when you no longer need the hook, they easily remove without leaving a scratch!

What to Do With All Those Clothes

• Sort your clothes into piles. Start with broad categories at first so you can see the amount of clothes you have for any one category. Some categories may be: work, casual, dressy and sporty.

• Identify what to keep. Try on everything and keep only the clothes that fit you now and make you feel good! If it doesn’t fit or you don’t feel excellent in it, get rid of it!

• Watch out for the “obstacle illusion.” Don’t let the mere fact that you paid a lot guilt you into keeping something. Your closet is prime real estate.

• Donate clothes you don’t wear. The next time you're putting away laundry or dry cleaning, grab an armful of clothes that you haven't worn since you can't remember when and try them on in front of a full-length mirror. Putting on just a limited amount of clothes keeps your wardrobe current and in style. Put the ones that you love back into circulation; donate the rest.

• Hang your clothes by type and then by color. For example, hang all of your short sleeve shirts or blouses together starting with white and moving through the colors of the rainbow to black. If the fabric is patterned then choose the dominant color. Do the same for your jackets, pants, skirts and dresses. It makes it so much easier to put an outfit together when you are able to quickly mix and match colors.

• Care for your sweaters. If you have sweaters that sit folded on shelves, make sure you cover wire shelves with a liner. It can be very frustrating to put on your favorite sweater and them look in the mirror and see wire shelf creases throughout.

• Keep a hamper nearby for clothes that need laundering or dry cleaning.

Eileen Koff is the founder and president of To The Next Level, a professional organizing business based on Long Island, NY. Eileen presently serves NAPO (National Association for Professional Organizers) as Publication Chair and is also Faithful Organizer’s Devotion Director. Eileen’s passion is speaking to Christian groups. Her unique teaching methods combine proven organization fundamentals with the inspiration and advice from God’s Word. Eileen’s organizing workshops stir audiences to immediate action, motivating attendees to put an end to years of frustration and clutter build-up.

For further information contact her at or