For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. ~ I Corinthians 14:33
I love how God designed each person differently! No two people look, think, act, react and process life exactly the same. We have different motivations for what we do and different goals for our lives. As I’ve shared a time or two, one of my personal goals is to get organized so that I have more time to serve God and more time to spend with my family doing what matters most to us. My dreams and pastimes may not be the same as yours, but I believe since you are here, you care about becoming organized and being a better steward of your time.
In this post, I want to share ten quick tricks that have really helped to keep my closet organized.
1) Keep your clothes sectioned by type. In my closet area, I have my clothes broken down into work, play and church. My work clothes are broken down by dress pants and then by dress tops. My going out or play clothes are broken down by short and long sleeve shirts. Finally, I have my church skirts.
2) Color code your clothes so that you can find what you need in mere seconds. I often wear brown pants; I like to pair the pants with a pink shirt and a brown sweater shell. Because my clothes are sorted into sections and then the sections are color coded, I can distinguish the pink and brown sections at a glance and can easily select a garment from these color families. In case you need a little help in this area, here is a color coding rainbow.
3) Use consistency to reduce chaos. Be sure you hang your clothes the same direction and use the same type and color of hanger throughout your closet. When you look into your closet and see things hanging in any direction on a hodge podge of different hangers, your eyes have trouble focusing on just one thing, and you may struggle to select an item. I’m not suggesting you go into your closet and throw out all the hangers that you have and go buy new. I am however suggesting that you start sorting the existing hangers you have for differing family members. For example when I first tried to make our closets consistent, each time I did the laundry, I removed the empty white hangers from my husband’s clothes and hung my clothing on white hangers. I then removed the dark hangers from my closet and used those for my husband’s clothing.
3) Think outside the closet. Maybe you can’t solve your closet issues because your closet is so small. This was the case for my husband and me. We shared an under the steps, ultra-tiny closet, and it just wasn’t working. For a time I stored my clothes in the corner of the utility closet in the family room, but when a teenage boy was living in the family room this was not a feasible option either. Eventually I found an antique wardrobe for our bedroom and now have the most beautiful clothing solution from OUTSIDE the actual closet.
4) Implement the one in, one out rule. For every piece of clothing item that enters your house, get rid of one clothing item. You can donate your clothing to a friend, Goodwill or a women’s abuse/rehab shelter. Our county has a Free Store where anyone from the county can come, browse clothing, and take a few needed garments. If you spent a lot of money on the clothing item and just can’t bear the thought of giving the clothes away and losing all of your investment, consider selling the items at a garage sale, on eBay or through a local consignment shop. You won’t get back what you spent on the item, but you will recoup some of your money, more space and a healthy dose of sanity!
5) Limit the number of items that you allow yourself to keep. In our house, we have what we call the 50 hanger closets. You guessed it! I have 50 hangers in my closet and my husband has 50 hangers in his closet. We only own the number of hangers that we are allowed to have items for and really have to weigh whether we want or need an item. Now, I cheat a little. I live in an area that has very different weather cycles during the different seasons, so I need a variety of heavy, moderate, and light weight items. I keep an additional 25 hangers for out-of-season clothes which I store outside of my tiny wardrobe area, but that’s it. 75 hangers–50 in the bedroom and 25 not in the bedroom. No additional clothes. Basically, I house 25 items that are strictly winter, 25 items that are strictly summer and 25 items that can go either way (3 quarter length or short sleeve tops that looks good with long-sleeve shirts under them). The 25 universal items stay year round while the 25 in-season get changed for winter or summer.
7) Consider investing in some high quality hangers. I don’t like high-necked shirts. Most of what I own has a scoop neck which falls off the hangers. For years I kept a bowl of clothes pins in the closet and would simply pin my shirts to the hanger. This worked okay, but it had several problems. 1) The clothes pins made the clothes stick out further and took up more space. 2) Delicate items and sweaters can be misshaped by the clothes pins. The solution? I discovered velvet lined hangers. They are slim and take up less space but equally important, the fabric lining keeps clothes from falling off the hanger. They were not super expensive (especially when you consider I could only have 75). They’re available at discount stores like Big Lots, TJMaxx, and Marshall’s.
8) Create space in the closet by adding a few hooks. My husband wears jeans or shorts most of the time and occasionally wears dressier pants or khaki’s, but he rarely wears a suit.That being said, he still needs the suit. It’s perfect for weddings and funerals. We noticed that it takes up a substantial amount of space in his closet, so I solved this issue by putting a hook behind the closet rod. It hangs on the wall behind the regular clothes–totally out of the way. Hooks in Chris’s closet also hold his bathrobe, my bathrobe, belts, a fabric travel bag and my full length dresses. My wardrobe isn’t tall enough for the dresses or the robe, but I don’t feel bad about stealing a little of Chris’s space because it’s wall space that wasn’t being used for anything.
9) Keep a bowl of clothes pins in the closet. I wear 5 sweaters and 5 solid color shirts a week to work. With only 50 garments to choose from, this is 20% of my clothes. A fairly significant portion. The problem is that I often forget what I wore earlier in the week. The clothes pins solve the issue. When I hang a shirt up (whether it wasn’t dirty or I just washed it) that I wore this week, I put a clothes pin on the hanger. On Saturdays I just pull off the pins and drop them back in the container. Less than 10 seconds. If you were ultra-organized, you could spray paint your clothes pins different colors (or buy the plastic ones that are already color coded) for different purposes. One color could mean clothes you have worn in the week while another color could mean reminders like clothing item needs mended.
10) Add just a touch of whimsy to your closet. I am too old for stuffed animals, but a couple years ago someone I love dearly bought me a teddy bear. The bear has a breast cancer ribbon embroidered on it and since I lost my mother to breast cancer, they thought it was an appropriate gift. I actually love it but what can I do with it? I stowed it on the top shelf of the closet in front of items I barely use. Believe it or not, this person has seen the inside of my closet and was so pleased to see it lovingly perched inside!
So what do you think? What’s the first change you are going to make in your closet?