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tips for organizing your closet

Does it take more than a minute to locate a favorite outfit in your closet?

Do your freshly laundered or dry cleaned clothes come off the hanger in need of pressing?

Then you can save time and rejuvenate your wardrobe by streamlining and organizing your closet and the contents inside.

These 5 tips for organizing your closet can help.

organizing your closet by type of clothes.

Start your closet organization by removing all the clothes and accessories inside and separating by type:

  • Shirts
  • Pants
  • Suits
  • Dresses
  • Coats
  • Belts
  • Shoes
  • Handbags

Set aside the things you don't wear anymore, and consider their future. A few possibilities for dealing with these items:

  • Store winter or summer garments until the appropriate season.
  • Update old clothes by having them altered.
  • Donate unwanted wardrobe items to charity.
  • Sell expensive articles on consignment.
  • Use soft, worn-out clothes as cleaning or car washing rags.

Among the remaining garments, you'll probably find numerous wrinkled but wearable items that you haven't slipped on recently because you couldn't find them. Make a mental note to place these "aha!" items in plain view.

organizing your closet so there's enough room for clothes.

Now is a good time to evaluate your past closet storage methods and consider how you can be more efficient.

Space for Clothes

How much room will you need for clothes? Generally allot one linear foot (30cm) of hanging space for 6 suits, 8 dresses, 12 shirts, or 6 pairs of pants.

Have you spent far too much time searching for the right shirt to go with a favorite suit Consider hanging the two pieces side by side.

Are you a separates mix-and-matcher? Then group separates by color (so you can quickly scan for the day's color scheme) or by type of garment, placing blazers next to shirts and pants beside skirts.

Decide whether it would be easier for you to view your clothes by type (work clothes and weekend wear), outfit, color, or length, and then arrange your clothes accordingly.

add space in your closet by doubling up.

You can double your space by adding a second rod below shorter items such as shirts and folded-over trousers. Then hang more of the same there.

Alternatively, you might consider adding closet shelving for your T-shirts, sweaters, and shoes. After all, when your clothing is buried inside dresser drawers, it's out of sight and less likely to be worn.

What's more, hanging a knitted or lightweight garment on a hanger can distort the shape of the fabric, detracting from its appearance and requiring more frequent - and more time-consuming - pressing.

organizing your closet to make room for odds and ends.

What about those odds and ends that can clutter drawers and dresser tops in your closet?

  • Add shelving above or near your hanging clothes.
  • Hang a mesh laundry bag in your closet to keep socks, stockings, handkerchiefs, and other small items easy to find.
  • Loop belts over a hanger next to your pants, or hang them on hooks inside the door.
  • Store hats or bags this way as well.

still more stuff than room?

If you still have more stuff than room after organizing your closet, it's time to bring in reinforcements. There are plenty of inexpensive organizing tools that can help you maximize your wardrobe space.

Back-of-the-door shoe bags keep shoes off the floor and in plain sight. Also, there are plenty of racks for scarves, belts, hats, and other accessories that can save space in your closet.

If the basic design of your closet simply isn't functional for your wardrobe or leaves you short a hanging rod or three, you have several simple options: You can buy a new or antique freestanding armoire or wardrobe.

You can purchase a prefabricated closet kit (available at stores that specialize in home organization online) and retool the space yourself. Or, you can hire a closet designer to create a system tailored for you space and wardrobe.

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for the closet organizing tools and products to streamline your closet.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.