How to: Organize your closet in real life

Organize Your Closet This Weekend!

There is a lot of information out there about how to organize a closet. It's a lot to sort through and it can be overwhelming to figure out what would work for you. Some articles are just trying to sell a product and some are just gimmicks. Finding practical advice can be frustrating. As a professional organizer, I wanted to share the process of an actual job with you so you can easily apply some of the methods when organizing your own closet.

 

Here are the "Before" photos of my client's closet. It's a mess. Clothes are piled up in several heaps. Bras and undies are on display and the shoes are just chucked in there. Laundry is on the floor. Cheap plastic hangers are sticking out. This room needs professional help!

closet clutter 2016-02-07 12.49.34 2016-02-07 12.49.39 2016-02-07 12.49.42

 

The first thing I did was to take everything out. As I did this, we sorted and purged. My client was great at making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of so this task went quickly. I played devil's advocate and asked the tough questions when she wanted to hang onto yet another black top or the 10th pair of jeans. We filled two garbage bags full of clothes and shoes to donate! The remaining items were grouped by season and category (tops, skirts, pants, dresses, jackets, etc.) and prepped for putting back into the closet. Clothes that needed special cleaning or repairs were set aside in canvas shopping bags and put by the front door to get done.

The next step was to use the right tools for the job. I love these felt hangers since they prevent clothes from slipping off and because they are flat, they don't take up a lot of room in a small closet. I bought a box of 50 at Costco for about $20 (more if your order online).

felt hangers

 

I also picked up this belt hanger from Bed Bath and Beyond for about $14. It was perfect for organizing my clients camisole tops! I always have one of these in stock - they are useful for so many things - belts, ties, scarves, jewelry, bags, etc.  With so many hooks on it, I was able to sort her camis by colour and make them easy to find.

belt and accessory holder

 

In order to corral and contain the T-shirts, sweatshirts and athletic wear, I used 6 sturdy BULLIG bins from IKEA. They were both stylish and functional and fit well into the space. We now had controlled storage for:

  1. Short sleeved T-shirts
  2. Long-sleeved T-shirts
  3. Sweatshirts
  4. Hoodies
  5. Pajamas
  6. Yoga pants

 

Also note in the photo below that I used proper formed wooden hangers for all of the jackets to ensure that the shoulders had proper support.

IKEA storage bin

I took the bras and undies out of the hanging canvas storage piece and put them out of sight in canvas drawer organizers inside the wooden cabinet in the center of the closet. All organized and grouped with like items. Much better.  Then I folded and put all of the sweaters into the hanging canvas unit. Perfect fit and a more appropriate location than in messy piles on the upper shelves. Also note the neat belt hanger to the left. My client doesn't wear belts often so I chose this compact circular ring to conserve space. You can find hanging canvas units similar to this one at Canadian Tire, Ikea, Solutions, Neatfreak! and Bed Bath & Beyond for about $10-$30. The belt ring is from Solutions and cost $4.

hanging canvas closet sorter

 

Here are the drawer organizers that I used for the bras and underwear. They are part of the SKUBB category of organizers at IKEA and retail for $10 each.

Skubb organizers from IKEA

 

Then we addressed the shoes. Once my client had purged her collection (she LOVES shoes!), we found that we didn't need a shoe rack. They all stacked nicely in 2 rows on the floor. We put heels in first, close to the wall and then added a row of flats. On the other side, we placed her athletic shoes and boots. Sandals went into a storage bin and was put under the bed since it was wintertime. I have told her that she isn't allowed to buy any more shoes. Ha! There are a few shoe organizers that I like to use though. Here are my recommendations:

  1. The STÄLL shoe cabinet from IKEA: It's narrow, clean-lined and is great when you have to store shoes in an entry way or outside of a closet.
  2. The SKUBB hanging shoe organizer from IKEA: Put this handy and cheap organizer on the inside of any door and you have easy shoe storage.
  3. The 16 Cubby Shoe organizer from Neatfreak!: Easy to assemble, lightweight yet sturdy and can also accommodate matching bins to slide into each cubby.
  4. The 3-Tier metal mesh shoe rack from Solutions: Sturdy. No tools needed to assemble.

pretty shoes all in a row

 

I also used clip hangers for pants and skirts so they would hang nicely and not crease or wrinkle. You can find those at the stores I listed earlier. So many to choose from!

organized closet

 

So that's it in a nutshell. Closet organizing can be a simple project if you have the right tools to work with. This job took just over 2 hours (the Bullig boxes required some assembly) and the client was thrilled. Hiring a professional organizer can make a job like this fly by and leave you with more time to do the things you love with the people you love!

 

Cheers!

 

Kim

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