Closet Organization

How to Keep your Closet Organized

You spent your entire Saturday organizing, donating, and rearranging your
closet and now the trick is to keep it that way. If you don't change the way
you put things away all of your hard work can be undone in as little as one
week of use. If you were diligent during your organizing you found a home for
all of your belongings, in the next couple of weeks you will find out if the
system you implemented will work for you.

To break or start a new habit takes time and commitment and most times it isn't
a fun experience. Make yourself take the extra 10 minutes at the beginning to
put your shoes back on the shoe rack, hang your belts up on the newly installed
hooks, and hang your work pants in the right place. You need to give yourself
time to get used to the new system -- give it a chance! As the days go by, you
will become more and more familiar with the new routine and it will take less
and less time to keep it up. By the end of the first month you will have
wondered why you didn't do this long ago.

As you purchase new clothing or other things that need to find a home in your
closet take the extra time to find a new home for it right away. You would be
amazed how quickly all of your hard work can go to the wayside by having a
homeless item introduced. So find a home right away or even better, find
something in your closet that you don't use or love anymore and swap it out
with the new purchase.

Enjoy your newly organized closet and take the extra steps to keep it that way,
it is worth it.

Spring Cleaning for your Closet

As the snow starts to melt and the birds build their spring-time nests our
thoughts turn to cleaning and organizing. A new season usually means warmer
temperatures and our clothing should reflect this climate change but your
closet is full of heavy sweaters and wool pants. Spring cleaning is for more
than just your windows take some time to organize and clean out your closet
during this time of year to get it ready for the warmer weather.

Instead of having your closet crammed full of a year's worth of clothing
consider storing everything but the current season's apparel. Take an inventory
of items that can be worn year round and which ones you know you won't be
donning again until the leaves start to turn and pack them away. Rubber storage
bins are convenient, sturdy and long-lasting -- perfect for this type of job.
Label the outside of the container with the type of clothing you are storing
inside, whose clothes they are, and when the bin should be brought back out
(e.g. sleeveless tops, mom, spring/summer). A tip for younger children, include
the age range and sizes of the clothing on the outside. This can save you the
time of pulling out clothes that will no longer fit and they can go right into
a donation bin or passed along to a younger sibling.

If you have a closet big enough to hold your entire wardrobe consider rotating
your clothes instead. Just as you would put the food you should eat first at
the front of your cupboards or in the fridge, bring the outfits you will wear
to the front of your closet. You can get dry cleaning bags or use garbage bags
to cover your out of season clothes so they will stay clean and fresh until you
are ready to wear them again.

Seasons Change -- To Store or Rotate?

You don't wear your wool turtlenecks in the summer or your denim shorts in the
middle of winter but there they are taking up valuable closet space. The best
way to get more room is to either store your out of season items or rotate them
to the back of your closet. There are a few things to consider and go over
before you decide which method is best for you.

If you are considering storing your clothing (and of course a big factor in
this decision is if you have the space to do so), keep in mind these storage
tips to safeguard your clothes as they are packed away:

* Only store clothes that have been cleaned first -- this makes them less 
  inviting to any pests that may find their way into your storage container 

* Choose a place that is cool and dry to prevent mold and mildew from growing 
  on your clothing 

* Don't over pack the storage container, leave room for the clothes to breathe 
* If you are tight on space, consider storing your clothing in an unused 
  suitcase 

* Add some pest repellent in the form of moth balls (store in an old sock so they 
  do not touch your clothes) or choose a more natural method such as cedar blocks 

* Folding or loosely layering your clothing is preferable to hanging especially 
  for knits and wool items

If storage isn't for you, take the time to move all of your warm or cold
weather clothes to an out of the way part of your closet, including your shoes.
The benefit of this method over storing is no additional steps are needed to
protect your wardrobe and if there is a freak storm in the summer or an
unusually warm fall day -- the right clothing is within reach.

A Place for Everything

A closet needs a system in order to function properly and stay organized. Your
system can be as complicated or as simple as you like but the common factor in
all closet organization is having a place for everything. Once this is
accomplished, the next step to master is to put everything in its place. This
has to be done consistently to make your system work which will take time,
practice and a little self-discipline.

For instance if the bottom of your closet is a sea of unmatched shoes and you
have to conduct a scavenger hunt to find a matching pair -- you need to find a
home for every pair of shoes you own. This will probably mean investing in a
shoe tree or a similar organizational helper. Before you buy, do some research
- find out what is available in your price range and where you can find it.
Make sure that there is enough room for your entire shoe collection and be
forward thinking -- leave room for future growth. If you don't do this you will
end up in the same situation as before but with less money in your wallet.

After you have found a home for all of your clothes (or shoes) take the time
(each and every time) to put them back in their new spot. But don't stop at
just your shoes! Keep going, pick the next problem spot in your closet, you
will know what it is by the level of frustration you experience as you try to
find something. It could be belts, ties, workout clothes, socks, whatever it is
- find a home for your items, put them there every time and soon it will become
second nature and you will never have to conduct a search in your closet again.

Closet Organization -- Categorize

The key to any successful organization project is categorizing. By grouping
like things together you will make them easy to find for future use, easy to
remember when it is time to put them away and your closet will look nice and
orderly. Proper storage containers will make this task easy to accomplish and
maintain.

Baskets, bins, and drawers are the perfect addition to any closet. They can be
used to store socks in one, belts in other, just try to keep like things
together. Additionally, you will want to categorize your hanging clothing. The
most popular way of doing this is to put all of your pants in one area, shirts,
in the next and so on. If you want to go further when you are categorizing,
separate your clothing into groups of when you would wear them (to work, to the
gym, at home, at night) and then group the pants and tops together within those
smaller categories.

Hooks are another way to store like things together. They can be used for
belts, ties, or purses. Having these smaller accessories in one place and on
display will make your choices in the morning quicker. If you have a larger
closet, you may want to keep your jewelry in the closet too. You can use a
traditional jewelry box to keep them together or a small box for your earrings
and another for your necklaces and so on.

You can think outside the box too, brainstorm how you use the different items
in your closet. Maybe your workout gear can be stored in ready to wear bundles.
Take your pants roll up a shirt and socks inside and they are neat inside your
closet and ready to grab when it is time to go to the gym for a work out.

Closet Problems & Solutions

A messy closet is a problem a lot of people have and they aren't sure how to
fix it. The messiness can come in many different forms but the root cause is
most likely a lack of organization. If you start out organized it is much
easier to stay that way. Here are a few common closet problems and some
solutions that can be implemented at any time.

Are your hangers a tangled mess or do your clothes constantly slip off? Sounds
like you have wire hangers hanging in your closet. To prevent tops from
slipping off and falling to the floor or the dreaded hanger crease in the
middle of your pant leg, invest in some wooden or plastic hangers. Not only are
they functional, it is more attractive to have a uniform type of hanger in your
closet (all wire hangers do not count).

If you are consistently looking for a mate to the pair of shoes you want to
wear you need to put a system in place to organize your shoes. There are many
options for shoe organizing, you can purchase a hanging canvas shoe rack that
goes on your hanging bar, a shoe tree, or install some shelving in the bottom
part of your closet. This is a quick and easy job, something that can be
accomplished in under 2 hours (set-up and organization).

Chances are there are many things you can remove from the closet that doesn't
belong. Put your spare blankets in a linen closet or under the bed, and take
the clothes you have been meeting to drop off at the donation bin out to the
car so you won't forget to do it another day. Find the proper home for whatever
else is living in your closet when it shouldn't be.

Making Room for New Purchases while Staying Organized

You spent an entire weekend organizing your closet and a couple of weeks later
it is still organized and you love it. But, you go to the store and purchase
some new clothes or a new pair of shoes and you don't know where you are going
to put them in your already full (but organized) closet. Here are some
strategies you can use to keep your closet organized even when adding new items.

One way to solve this dilemma is to decide if what you purchased is a duplicate
of something you have or a decent replacement. We all have favorite items of
clothing that we wear often and these are the ones that need to be replaced
first. If your purchase is a new pair of black pants, are your old ones faded?
Instead of having two pairs (and admit it, you won't be wearing the old black
pair now that you have the new ones), you should donate the old or throw them
out. If your wardrobe is pretty complete in terms of basics, this replacement
system will work quite well.

If you are stilling building your dream wardrobe and your purchases are adding
to this instead of replacing old or worn items you need a different strategy
for finding a home for your new items. If you don't have any extra hangers, you
may have to go and buy some for future wardrobe growth. If you haven't done so
already, you may have to consider adding shelving or drawers in your closet to
accommodate everything. Instead of hanging all of your shirts, you can fold
them on shelves and this will give you more room to hang pants, skirts, or
dresses. Once you make a few adjustments, be sure to leave some empty spaces
for the next time you go shopping.

Get Dressed in your Closet

Don't literally get dressed in your closet, unless you have a walk-in closet
that can accommodate you. But put everything in one place for when you get
dressed in the morning. Why put your under things in a dresser on one side of
your room and then head over to the other to get your pants and then decide the
shirt you want is back in the dresser -- you get the idea. Instead use the ideas
below to keep everything you need in to get dressed in the morning in one place.

* If you do not have room in your closet for your dresser or another drawer
system for your socks and other underwear, consider moving your dresser closer
to your closet for easy access. * Keep your jewelry in your closet either in a
jewelry box or little baskets arranged by type or style. * If you are able to
move everything from your dresser into your closet, use your dresser for
out-of-season items. * Install a valet hook and hang out your outfit the night
before. * Have everything in the closet grouped together by type of clothing
and occasion, if a last minute substitution has to be made this will make the
process quicker and easier.

Whether you are getting ready for work in the morning or for a night out in the
evening, getting dressed can be a stressful event if you can't find what you are
looking for. By having an organized closet with everything in one convenient
place you can make getting ready easier. If you are one that is prone to trying
on many outfits prior to making a decision on what to wear, make yourself put
away all the cast-offs it will save you a headache next time.

The ABC's of Closet Organization

A is for assess. Before you begin to organize your closet, you need to assess
your space and your goals. Do you have enough room for everything you own and
more importantly do you wear it? If the answer to these two questions is yes,
then you can skip the step of having to purge and sort your closet contents.
But if you are like most people, there are many items in your closet -
uncomfortable shoes or skinny jeans you hope to fit into one day -- that can and
should go. Before you begin, decide if you need to just organize or if a
de-cluttering session is necessary.

B is for basics. The next step is to decide how you want to organize your
closet. The possibilities are numerous and you need to find a system that works
for you because organizing is about making things easier.

Some suggestions for different closet systems are to sort your clothes by items:

* group all of the pants together, shirts, sweaters, skirts, and so on; sort by
  occasion
* work, around the house, gym, evening, or other types of clothing you own; or
  sort by color
* you can use this tip in addition to the previous two or on its own.

C is for consistency. Be brutal with yourself once you have taken the time to
organize your closet, make yourself stick to the system you implemented. You
don't want all of your hard work to be for naught -- without a little bit of
discipline and consistency your closet could revert back to its former state.
After a couple of weeks of sticking with your new closet management system
(whatever one you decide works for you), it will be second nature to put your
clothes back where they belong and make it easier for you.

Storage Closets

There are so many different names and categories of closets. There are bedroom
closets, pantries, hall closets, linen closets, and storage closets. The
storage closet is the one that can quickly become a catch all as it doesn't
have a defined purpose other than to store things. A plan is needed to keep
your storage closet neat and the items stored accessible at all times. The big
decision you will have to make is what are you going to store?

When you decide what you are going to use your storage closet for, think about
how often you are going to be using the items inside and if there is a better
place for them first. For instance, it might be tempting to store your
Christmas decorations there, but is there a place in the garage where these
once a year items can go? If there is, that will make room for other more
frequently used belongings such as suitcases, camping gear, sleeping bags, or
winter blankets.

Space is also a consideration and shelving can help solve this if it is a
problem. If the closet is big enough but you don't have enough floor space,
install some shelves to get bigger and lighter items off the floor. Try and
make the most commonly used items the easiest to get. If it is the summer time,
the sleeping bags should be at the front and move the winter blankets to an out
of the way place for now.

Be careful not to throw anything into the storage closet that you aren't sure
what to do with. If you don't have a home for the item, is it really something
you want to keep? If it is something worthwhile you will find it a home of its
own without making the storage closet a dumping ground.

Closet Organization for Two

In any couple it is bound to happen, one is the epitome of organization and the
other specializes in organized chaos. Chances are there are many areas of your
home where the organizer takes charge and makes sure things stay neat and tidy.
But what do you do if you have to share a closet with a partner who does not
share your love of everything in its place? Don't despair; you have a couple of
options available to you.

Option one is to never allow anyone into your closet except for you. This is a
sure fire way to insure nothing gets misplaced or starts to get messed up. But
it is not a very practical solution. You would have to pick out and put
everything away, unless this appeals to you -- option two is probably the way to
go.

Option two is to organize the closet in a sensible way that makes finding items
and putting them away just as easy as dumping them on the floor (well, maybe not
that easy). Make sure everything thing has a home and that your partner knows
where that home is. Remember that a system that works for you may not work for
someone else; you need to get their buy-in too. If they are fine to leave the
planning and organizing to you, investing a bit more time to label shelves and
bins with the correct contents may save you some big headaches down the road.

Be prepared to do some damage control once a month, make sure the system is
still working and weed out anything that isn't. Like anything in a
relationship, sharing a closet involves a lot of give and take. Just don't take
it too seriously; your love of organization shouldn't get in the way of your
love for your partner.

Organizing your Linen Closet

A linen closet is a great place to get your organizing feet wet. It is usually
an easy to complete task that can give you the satisfaction of a job well done
in short order. That is of course if all that is in your linen closet is linen.
If your linen closet has to play double-duty as a towel, cleaning products or
anything else storage too -- the first step is to decide if there is really room
for everything you want to put in there and if there is a better place for any
of the items.

Once you have determined what role the linen closet is going to play, decide on
what type of storage system is going to work the best. Most closets of this
nature function best with a series of shelves, but some hooks and small baskets
can help keep smaller items from getting lost or looking cluttered. But a
combination of shelves and a small hanging rod can be functional too.

Keep the most used items at eye level for easy access such as bed linens or
towels that are used daily or weekly. Other common things to store in a linen
closet are out-of-season coats or blankets. It is best to store these in proper
containers or bags to keep them fresh.

If you are also storing cleaning products and appliances in your linen closet
(iron, ironing board, or a vacuum cleaner), where you put them will depend on
whether or not you have young children. If you do have little ones around, put
the cleaning products up high and out of reach or better yet, install a safety
latch on the door.

A nice touch to add to your linen closet is to hang lavender sachets or another
scented item to keep your bed sheets smelling nice and fresh.





Give Your Closet a Makeover If you get a headache each time you have to find something in your closet, it is time to give it a long overdue makeover. Before you begin to take everything out and start to reorganize, decide what you want your closet to look like and what type of storage systems will work best for your things. Some considerations are what is working in the space now and what isn't and why isn't it working. Maybe you don't have enough room for your dresses because the double hanging bars aren't spaced out enough or you don't have room to hang everything in which case a double hanging bar is what you need. The first step is to start with a list of things that should be in your closet and make an inventory of what storage systems you already have. After step one, make a sketch of what you want your closet to look like when you are done, bring it to the hardware store and find what you will need to supplement what you already have. Some tips for every closet: * Install a double hanging bar but leave room for long hanging items such as dresses or full length coats. * Shoe storage, this can take the form of a hanging rack, a shoe tree, or lined-up neatly on the floor. * Shelves for sweaters that can't be hung up or small items such as purses or belts. * Utilize small baskets and boxes for hats or jewelry. * Install hooks to hang ties or bathrobes on. A closet that is organized with enough room for the future growth of your wardrobe is a closet that will stay organized. Invest in quality storage solutions that you can add to as your wardrobe or closet grows. Organizing Your Closet -- Where to Start Maybe it is time for spring cleaning or you just cannot stand another day hunting through your closet to find something to wear -- but the time has come to organize your closet (again). It is inevitable that there are belongings in your closet that need to go -- maybe into the trash or a donation hamper -- but a new home has to be found for them either way. Before you start organizing, you need to start purging. Every closet organizing session should start with some time spent deciding what you still wear and what can go elsewhere. Some questions to ask yourself when trying to decide if you should keep an item or not are: * When was the last time I wore this? Unless it is a seasonal item, if you haven't worn it in six months it is time to let it go. * Does it fit me properly? Clothing that is too big or small should not be kept for what-ifs. Donate it. * What condition is it in? Spills, tears, wear -- if your shirts or pants are showing any or all of these it is time to let them go. To make this first step easy on you in terms of emotions and work load, follow these guidelines. Make quick decisions and once you decide don't go back and change your mind. Touch everything once, choose its fate is and move onto the next item. Set-up boxes and bags for the cast-offs. Garbage bags for the over-used belongings that cannot be donated and boxes labeled and ready to be donated to a charity, thrift store, or a friend. Once the bags or boxes are full, take them to the car and get them to their new destination as soon as possible so you can carry on and enjoy your newly organized closet. Different Ways to Organize Your Clothes Everyone is unique and one way of organization isn't necessarily going to work for all. Don't read a how-to book on closet organization and feel that you must follow it to the letter. With any book of this nature, take from it what makes sense to you and then tailor it to suit your needs or wardrobe as the case is here. One way is to group all like items together, like your bottoms, tops, and sweaters, or you can group them according to category, work, home, or gym. Or take combine the two. If your wardrobe is pretty consistent, meaning most of your clothes fall into one category (whether it is casual, business, or anything else), it might make sense to you to group all like items together. This method will allow you to pick one item from each grouping and you are ready to go with your outfit for the day. This gets a bit tricky if your wardrobe serves multiple purposes and it doesn't make sense to group your track suit with your business suit. If you fall into the latter category, have a separate section in your closet for your gym wear, casual weekend wear and your work clothes. Within these sections, you then should group all the pants, tops, etc. together to again make things as easy as possible for you. Other options for organizing include color coordination -- group all of your black items together, blue, brown and so on. When you are folding your sweaters, make different piles for your heavy sweaters and light-weight sweaters so you can choose based on the weather for the day. Choose a system that makes sense and will work for you -- one that you are going to be able to maintain for the long-term. Reduce to Organize Even if you are the neatest person on the planet, if you own too many things for a small closet it will be next to impossible to keep it organized. If your closet is not big enough for your belongings and there is no money in the budget for a renovation you will have to consider reducing the amount of things stored inside the closet before it can be organized and stay that way. The first step is to determine if there is anything in your bedroom closet that doesn't belong there. Weed out all of the intruders and find a more appropriate home. If there isn't a better place to store the item ask yourself when was the last time you used it and when you will be likely to use it again. If you aren't sure, maybe it is time that you donate it. Next take everything else out of your closet so you can start with a clean slate. Go through every item of clothing, pair of shoes, or other accessories that are stored there. Create three piles -- toss, donate, and keep. Before you are ready to begin placing things back in the closet have a look at what you have to work with. Can you install a second hanging bar to double the amount of hanging space you can use? What about shelving and hooks or the back of the closet door? Use any and all vertical or horizontal spaces available to you. Until you can move into a place with a bigger closet, monitor your purchases. If you don't have room for it in your closet and don't need the item maybe you shouldn't get it. Or, use the rule that if you bring something home to put into your closet something else has to go to make room for it. How Organizing a Closet can Help you Shop People organize their closets to make life easier. They want to be able to open the closet door, see all there is to see and be able to make quick choices about what to wear without having to hunt through a mess. But the process of organizing your closet can help you see the holes in your wardrobe that need to be filled. As you retire, donate, or store your clothing you are going to get a pretty good idea of what articles of clothing you need to buy. Keep a pad of paper and a pen handy as you are sorting. If you notice that your two best white t-shirts really aren't your best anymore and have decided to either make them into rags or toss them -- write down that you need to purchase two white t-shirts. This will save you some time and a headache the next time you are searching for an item that is no longer in your closet before you remember, "oh yeah, I got rid of that." This goes the same for the rest of the things you don't put back in your closet. When you are done deciding what to keep and what to toss and have made your list put all of your clothing back in the closet and have another look. When you have your entire pant collection grouped together, do you see any holes that could be filled? Maybe you have lots of black dress pants but no casual ones, add that to your list too. When your list is complete you may not be able to go out and buy everything on it, but it will help you when you are out shopping to decide what you need first. To that end, keep your list with you at all times. What Should and Shouldn't be in your Closet If you have limited storage space chances are your closets are a precious commodity. But having too many things in one closet, despite the ease of tossing it in, can really make life difficult. The last thing you need while getting dressed for work is an avalanche of wrapping paper and gift bags on top of your head. But what are you to do if space is limited and you don't want to leave out the Christmas wrap all year long? Keep your chin up, there are alternatives. Specialize -- if you only have a limited number of closets in your home and some of them need to do double-duty don't do this to your own clothing closet. This is the place where you need to have your clothes, shoes, and related accessories only (okay, you may need to hide the odd gift in there once or twice a year). Depending on the rest of your space, try to have a theme for the rest of your closets, it will make organizing them a lot easier. Most of us don't have the space or need for an entire closet dedicated to wrapping paper, but what about all paper and paper products? Computer paper, greeting cards, ink for your printer, and anything else that would fit in this category can logically be put together. Shelving is a great addition to any closet, especially for one that has an odd assortment of storage items. Group like items together on each shelf and add in bins and baskets where appropriate to keep things neat and tidy. Take a good look at what makes it into your closets. A lot of times, things that are thrown in with the thoughts we might need them later usually aren't seen or used again. In this case, don't put them away throw them away. Organizing your Coat Closet The family coat closet can be the most chaotic place in the house. It is a small space the entire family stores some of their bulkiest items. The same principles that you would use to organize your bedroom closet apply here too. The golden rule of closet organization is a place for everything and everything in its place. Make sure everyone in the family knows where their stuff belongs and encourage them to take part to keep the coat closet neat and orderly. A family typically owns a lot of shoes and most coat closets aren't big enough to accommodate them all. Keep one or two pairs for each family member in the closet that is worn on an almost daily basis. Out of season footwear or pairs that are reserved for special occasions should be stored in the individual bedroom closets of the owners. The same for coats keep the daily or seasonal coats in the coat closet and either rotate the rest to the back or if there is not enough room store them away until the season or weather turns. On the top shelf is where the hats, mittens, gloves and other accessories are stored. Keep a basket for each member of the family to store their items. If there is room, this is also an ideal place for things like bicycle helmets, knee pads and other safety gear that needs a home. For younger children who might not be able to reach or manage the hangers consider installing hooks at the back of the closet where they can hang up their own coats. This will foster their independence while teaching them how to take care of their belongings. Once a season, go through everything in the family coat closet and decide what should be thrown out or what can be donated. Decisions -- What to Keep, Toss, or Donate The hardest part for most people when cleaning out their closets is to decide what should go back in. Most how-to articles advise that if you haven't worn something within one year it is safe to let it go. A year seems like a long time to wait and see if you should be keeping it. Unless it is a seasonal item that can only be worn in the summer or winter, six months is realistic guideline for frequency of use. If you haven't put on a pair of jeans in six months for whatever reason, you shouldn't be making space for them in your newly organized closet. Now that you have your pile of clothes that you have decided you no longer need, what should you do with them? The two common places for these items is the trash bag or a donation bin. How you decide which of the two should receive each item depends on the reason you are giving it up or haven't worn it. You should toss any items that are stained, ripped, worn, or any other flaw that makes the garment unsuitable. If you can't abide with the thought of throwing out clothing, consider cutting up shirts for cleaning rags. You can also cut up denim jeans for patches -- decorative or functional. One of the few places that may take donations of clothing such as this is a nursing home. If you take the time to cut up the clothing, getting rid of any stains and tears, the fabric could be reused for a quilt. If the clothing you no longer want or need can still be worn, it can be donated. Items that fall into this category are pieces that no longer fit, you no longer care for the style or you have too many of the same item. Enjoy your Closet Whether or not you have a walk-in closet or a small space with a door, you don't want to feel anxious when you open your closet wondering what you are going to wear or how to find it. Take the time, maybe a day or a weekend, to organize and declutter your closet. If the current system of organizing isn't working for you, change it. Here are some suggestions and tips to help you enjoy your closet. Forget the traditional one hanging rod in the closet and your shoes lined-up along the floor. This set-up is not very accommodating and is rarely the right fit for any closet. Look at the type of clothing you own the most of, it could be pants or sweaters and decide what the ideal way to store those items are. If you own a lot of sweaters, hanging them is not recommended, install some shelving so your sweaters can be folded. You can purchase dividers to keep your sweater stacks from toppling over. If you have pants aplenty, install a second hanging rod and put all your pants together at eye-level or slightly below. Shelving is a good idea even if you don't own a lot of sweaters. They are flexible and can be used for many things. Buy some inexpensive baskets or bins and use them to store your smaller items on top of the shelves -- handbags, hats, belts, watches. Hooks are another must have in any closet, you can use it to store your dry cleaning before you take it in, hang your bathrobe on, or pick out your outfit for the next day and hang it on the hook so you are ready to go. Take some time to plan out your ideal closet before you get started and make your system work for you. Closet Organization for Children Organizing a child's closet can get a little tricky, you are not just dealing with clothes here -- chances are a fair amount of toys are going to have to be dealt with too. You will have to tailor the organizational system you choose to the age of your child and no matter the system or the age you have to be prepared to step in and help out. By the time a child is old enough to put their toys and clothes away they are developing their own sense of independence, let your child help you decide where everything belongs to give them a sense of ownership over their things and the buy-in you will need to get them to want to help keep things neat and tidy. Labels are the best way to teach your children what to put where. Whether or not your child can read yet, a combination of pictures and words are a great way to label bins, drawers, and shelves inside a closet. If you have a plastic drawer unit in the closet you might label the first drawer with a picture of some dinky cars and the word "CARS" underneath. Hangers can be tricky for younger children, if they are at an age where they can get dressed on their own consider putting in shelves instead of a rod for hanging. This will make things easier for getting dressed and to begin teaching them to put away their own laundry. To get off to the right start after you put a new system in place for your child's closet help them each day to put things where they belong to give them an understanding of the system. As time passes, they will get used to the system and it may only require a weekly clean-up from you to make sure everything is staying on track. The Next Level in Closet Organization -- Shelving Most closets come equipped with a hanging bar and little else but to organize a closet and keep it that way some shelving is a must have. There are many items that you own that should not be hung up and stuffing them in a dresser drawer isn't the answer either. By installing shelving inside your closet you are opening up new possibilities to keep it orderly. You don't have to stick with the traditional bar in the middle of the closet that is supposed to be one-size fits all. Plan the layout that makes the most sense to you. Maybe you would like to hang your pants at eye level and have all of your tops on shelving underneath or vice versa. Another use for shelves if for your shoes, install a shelf off the floor near the bottom and you can increase the floor space in your closet for more shoes or other storage bins. If you like the idea of having drawers in your closet but don't have the means to install them a shelf with some basket or bins for sorting will work too. Shelves are versatile; if you decide to reorganize you can put the shelves to another use. If they use to hold sweaters and it is now the middle of summer you can repurpose them for your summer hats, sandals, or shorts. If you choose, you can install the adjustable shelving that allows you to move the hanging brackets up or down a metal runner with holes. Shelves come in different materials, you can choose from plastic shelving, metal (solid or wire), or wood. All are fine and as long as they are strong enough and smooth (to prevent any damage to clothing) you can go with the most eye-pleasing or cost effective shelving that can be found at the hardware store. Closet Organization on a Budget Do you drool over the closet organization systems that are available longing for a closet that looks like the ones in the advertisements? You know that your mornings would be less stressful and harried if you could just find what you needed when you need it in your unorganized closet. But you don't have to invest your savings to achieve the benefits of a closet organization system. There are tips and tricks you can utilize to get the same effect without the high cost. The key to low-cost closet organization is creativity and using the resources available to you. Hang hooks on the back of your closet door or any other vertical surface for a plethora of uses from purses, belts, hats, bathrobes, or any other item you can hang. Plastic storage drawers are inexpensive and available at most hardware stores are useful for the bottom of your closet, again to group and store small things or ones that you don't typically hang up such as your pajamas. Shelving is a must, where you don't hang a hook put up a shelf. After your shelving is up, invest or repurpose some baskets or other small receptacles to store items in. If you don't, the shelves are destined to become messy and cluttered. This is a few of the low to no cost items you can use to organize your closet. If you have a bigger budget, find a picture of a closet organization system that catches your eye and see if you can recreate it on your own with lower cost supplies found in your hardware store. Plastic shelving, extra hanging rods, and hooks are all that you need to create an organized closet. Invest in enough hangers too; make sure you have enough for all of your clothes to make picking out an outfit easy. Organizing your Pantry Closet When you hear someone say that they are organizing their closet, usually visions of clothing piles come to mind. But, there are many other types of closets that can use some organizational TLC. One of them is the pantry closet, we all have good intentions when we purchase food to eat it, unfortunately this always doesn't happen. Don't let those open, have eaten boxes of Cream of Wheat stay in there forever taking up space -- throw them out! A lot of the same tips for organizing a bedroom closet apply to organizing a pantry closet. If you aren't eating it -- don't keep it and group like items together. In addition, keep only food items or related paper products such as napkins in the pantry. Keep appliances, pots and pans, and cleaning products in separate locations. When you are sorting through the contents, keep an eye on expiration dates and toss out anything that is past its prime. The same goes for opened boxes of food that no one likes or eats. If you have unopened food items that aren't going to be eaten but you know are perfectly fine, donate them to the local food bank or pass them on to a neighbor. Make use of all the space you can. If you find that you are tight on space, consider hanging wire baskets or shelving on the back of the door to increase your storage space. Browse through home hardware catalogs or talk to an in store expert to get additional ideas on ways to maximize your pantry space while making everything easily accessible to the entire family. If food you buy comes in bulky, hard to store containers buy plastic storage bins that make it easier to get the food and store it. Cereal and pasta are both great examples to use plastic storage bins for.






Peace
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