Even when the rest of my house was tip-top shape, my closet was a disaster. It was my catch-all. If I didn’t feel like folding or hanging laundry, I’d throw it in messily on the shelves. Also, if I had people coming over and didn’t have time to do a proper tidy up, I’d throw what was laying around (minus trash and dishes, of course) in the closet. Then if I didn’t know where something should go, where’d I put it? You guessed it. The closet. Eventually, I made like Eminem and said, “tonight, I’m cleanin’ out my closet.” That’s when I became the closet organizer in chief.
The Obvious Solution: An Actual Closet Organizer
There are a billion and one (yes, exact count!) different closet organizers available on the market. There is the vinyl type that are cost-efficient and versatile like the ones used for storing wrapping paper, there are hanging racks, there are fabric shelves that hang, there are boxes and bins, there are different types of hangers, and there are entire closet systems designed to optimize your closet storage. For me and a lot of other closet-havers out there, these didn’t work.
For one reason or another, I felt that the conventional options for a closet organizer didn’t fit my needs. I didn’t have the space for many of them. And for the better options like the PAX wardrobes from IKEA, I didn’t have the money. I needed something else. However, if a closet organizer is your ideal solution, go for it! That’ll be a blog for another day!
Step One: Literally just rip everything out of there.
I approached this step like a barbarian first encountering delicious processed foods. I just went into it and ripped it apart. Everything that was in the closet was now on my bedroom floor. Once my closet was empty, I realized how much space and potential it really had. Honestly, I doubted whether I’d be able to have a nice closet. But once it was empty, I felt like I had a great opportunity to be my own closet organizer.
Step Two: Ravenclaw!
Much like in Harry Potter, I had to put on the sorting hat. It was time to weed through everything that was in there. I started by putting everything into piles based on what they were. So, there was a pile for clothes, shoes, accessories, holiday stuff, and then miscellaneous piles with smaller piles within.
Step Three: The Big Break-Up
Once things were sorted into piles, it was easy to go through each with a fine-toothed comb and decide what should stay and what shouldn’t. It was gone if: I hadn’t worn it in over a year, it didn’t fit, I didn’t like it anymore, or if I had no use for it. The only exception to this rule was regarding sentimental items. For this, as I’ve mentioned in other blogs, I limited myself to one box. Anything that I could fit in the box got to stay. That way, I can never get too out of hand with hoarding sentimental items.
Step Four: Preparing to put things away.
Before I could put everything back after I thinned out my closet residents, I had something I wanted to do. I let the Virgo in me take the wheel and took a trip to Target. There, I grabbed a whole new set of matching hangers. I also grabbed a few fabric bins. The bins would be for socks, underwear, and bras. The new hangers, I felt, just made my closet look a lot more uniform. I made sure to get some thinner ones (as opposed to the big thick plastic ones) to save some space.
These items aren’t necessary, but I felt that the fabric boxes especially were a big help with keeping my closet organized. They gave me a dedicated place to put things that didn’t fit well anywhere else. So, if you have that issue like I did, creating new places to store things is a great idea. That’s also where a dedicated closet organizer would help.
Step Five: Separating by Season
Where I live, summer and winter are night and day. Some of my wardrobe for spring and autumn time overlaps, but otherwise they can be completely separated. Since it was the beginning of summer when I did this, I took my long pants, sweats, cardigans, boots, and jackets and tucked them into a big plastic tub. Then, I relocated that tub to our storage space. A garage, basement, or attic would work great for this as well.
Step Six: Separate but Together
Okay. I swear this is the last time you’ll need to separate things. You should hang your clothes back up in your closet according to their type. This keeps a closet looking neater. It also gives you more space if you do it right. What I did was I started with dresses at the left, then I put in skirts and bottoms, then shirts. Since it was summer, there were no sweaters or anything to consider. But since the shirts and dresses were separate, there was a lot of room unde
r the shirts to put things. What can go here, you ask? Well, I did go the closet organizer route for this. Back to the store I went. This time, I went with a clear plastic shoe holder. That way I’d be able to see which pair I was looking for immediately.
Step Seven: Dealing with Accessories
As an adult person, I really should have a spot to store my accessories and keep them neat and clean… but I honestly stored them all together in an old glasses case until this day. With some extra hangers left, a great idea popped into my head. What I did was I cut a crack into the hanger itself. Then I slipped the bar into the hanger hole so that it would hang upside down. This left the hook totally exposed. On the hook I hung some of my light summer scarves (heavy winter scarves might be too heavy). I made another and hung my necklaces on it. It’s an easy, cheap, and super simple closet organizer!
With everything back in my closet, I felt like I could breathe better and deeper. It was such a massive relief to be able to open it and see cleanliness and organization. For a while, I was actually confused whenever I did open it. Whose closet is this? Where am I? This is not mine! It really was a treat to give this gift of an organized closet to myself… and I didn’t even need any big expensive closet organizer to do it! Now, I have room when I need it in there and I always have a dedicated place to put things. No longer is my closet a catch-all for random items. Eminem would be proud. I think…