Even people with walk-in closets that look like Madison Avenue boutiques swear they don’t have enough closet space. So, what are you to do if your closet takes up the square footage of a postage stamp? You can organize even a tiny closet so that finding what you need for the day or the evening is a cinch. Here are some tips for maximizing your space as you unpack your new apartment:
Pull Everything Out and Dump It on the Floor
This step sounds daunting, but it only needs to be done once. Once everything is out of the closet and on the floor, sort it into three piles:
- A keep pile: This is for everything you know you are going to use, such as your favorite jeans and that snuggly sweater you wear twice a week.
- A discard pile: Reserve this pile for items so damaged they are of no use to anyone, like those t-shirts from college that have more holes than a block of Swiss cheese.
- A donate pile: In this stack, place items to give to friends, relatives or charities. Sometimes donations are tax-deductible, and in some municipalities, local non-profits will pick-up your unwanted goods.
Some people also add a repair pile. This heap is for things you still need but are broken – like those corduroys that need a new zipper or the heel you broke walking to work last spring. You must send some of these items out for repair, while others you can mend at home.
Paring down your piles of clothing, shoes, and accessories before a move might just sound like one more moving to-do, but it’s essential. Not only will it make organizing your new closet simpler, moving less means a cheaper move. Long distance moving companies prices depend on the weight and length of the shipment. Therefore, the less you move, the less it costs.
Re-sort and Measure
After sorting the piles put the stuff to donate or throw out in boxes and put them in the trunk of your car. Then, re-sort everything that you plan to keep. Does everything in this one closet belong in it? For example, do Christmas ornaments belong in the same closet as your coats and jackets? Do rolls of toilet paper belong half-hidden among the towels and bedsheets in the linen closet?
The next thing to do is also a bit labor intensive but necessary. Measure everything and figure out how many square feet you have. Then, plan the layout of the closet. Your measurements should tell you how many bins, boxes, hangers, shelves, and rods you will need. With this in mind:
- Buy two or three shorter rods along with the tall one most closets have. These extra rods increase the space available to hang items you can fold, such as trousers. Hang clothing you can’t fold, such as dresses or coats, on the taller rod.
- Use adjustable shelves and organizers.
- Use shelves and cubbies on the floor. Few things are more disheartening than a jumble of stuff on the closet floor.
- If the closet has a high ceiling, add more shelves above the top shelves. This area is an ideal place to store seasonal items.
- Add pegboards and hooks to the back of the door and the walls.
- Tuck a folding step ladder inside the closet for easier access to the higher shelves.
- Add light. Have an electrician install a light that comes on when you open the closet door.
- Store bulky items on the bottom, lighter ones on the top. Make sure everything has its place and you return it after use.
- Store items of clothing that work together instead of putting blouses with blouses and skirts with skirts, etc.
- Sort the closet regularly.
Following these tips, you can have your closet organized in no time. Now instead of struggling to find the blouse you wanted to wear for that big presentation, you’ll see it hanging exactly where it should be.