What’s wrong with your closet? Not enough space, or too many clothes?
Maybe it’s a little of both. Whether you have a tiny closet, a freestanding armoire or a huge walk-in, fall in love with the closet you have by maximizing every inch of space. Here’s how:
Look at each item in your closet and ask yourself “Would I buy this today if I was out shopping?” If you’re like most people, you’ve got clothes that are too small or too large taking up valuable real estate in your closet. Simply removing these items could free up 10 to 30 percent of your total space. While you’re at it, get rid of items that just aren’t flattering, whether it’s the fit, fabric or color. If you aren’t sure, ask a friend whose opinion you value. Then, do the same with shoes and accessories.
Invest in Space-Saving Hangers
Consider replacing your mish-mash of hangers with slim-line hangers. These take up far less space than traditional hangers and prevent clothes from slipping, thanks to velvety shoulders that hold them in place. Having all the same type of hangers not only saves space, it makes your closet look neater and more organized. You can also use tiered pants hangers that let you hang up to four pairs of pants in a quarter of the space and cascading skirt/pant hangers that attach to each other.
Double Hanging Space with a Second Rod
An inexpensive way to maximize closet space is to add a second clothes rod that hangs from the main rod. For about $15, this second rod effectively doubles the amount of hanging space for shorter items such as shirts, skirts and jackets. Another option is to insert a tension rod braced against both sides of the closet.
Move Seasonal Items
Store in your everyday closet only those things that you could wear today. Hang out-of-season items in an armoire or wardrobe. Store other off-season or infrequently used items in bins on the floor of the armoire or wardrobe. Be sure to launder or dry clean items before storing, as perspiration, odors and food stains may attract moths. If you are committed to fitting back into clothes that don’t currently fit, remove them from your everyday closet and store them with your out-of-season clothing.
Add a Shelf or Two
The typical closet has one shelf above the clothes rod. It’s a great storage spot, but what about all the wasted space above it? Adding one or more shelves above the existing shelf is a simple way to gain additional storage for infrequently used items like luggage or extra bedding. Alternatively, try an armoire with drawers below the closet space—that way, you’ll get the benefit of a shelf plus organized, easy-to-access storage.
Sort and Store
Shelf dividers keep stacked piles of folded jeans and sweaters neat and tidy. Open bins are great for separating and storing smaller items like scarves, hats and even underwear or socks. Line them up on the shelf above your clothes rod or use the shelf to store shoes in stackable, clear plastic boxes.
Make use of the back of doors and walls by installing hooks. Consider removable hooks with adhesive that won’t mar your walls. Use hooks to hang clothing you plan to wear again soon, such as your bathrobe or a jacket. You can also use a hook to hang an outfit you plan to wear the next day. Or, hang an over-the-door organizer on the back of your closet door for storing shoes, purses or accessories such as belts and scarves.
Follow the In / Out Rule
When you buy a new item of clothing, donate or sell an item to keep your closet from getting overstuffed. That will help simplify your life by making it faster and easier to find something to wear every day.
Organizing and cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper is the author of a dozen best-selling books on uncluttering, organizing, and simplifying life. Her newest book, Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness, hit the best seller charts in its first month of publication. Donna writes her home storage advise for The Home Depot, where you can review a selection of armoire styles to help organize your space.