How to Use Organization to Take Control of Your Life — Step 3

I think one of the most highly avoided areas of our homes is our closets. We tend to shove things into them and just hope for the best. We may have a general idea that an item we’re looking for is somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of that closet, but instead of looking for it, we just go buy another one. How lovely it would be if we could simply walk up, open the door, reach in and grab our things, and go. Most closets only offer one shelf and a rod for coat hangers. For most people this simply isn’t enough to keep things organized. The back of the shelf is hard to access, and there is wasted room throughout the closet. All of this can be overcome.

Wire Shelving Units

Many department stores carry inexpensive shelving units that can be manipulated to fit into the smallest of spaces. Several are designed to take the place of the one shelf and rod system. These usually offer more accessible shelving units and racks for easier organization. There are myriads of shoe racks; some that sit on the floor, and others that hang. The very back of the closet, the hardest place to utilize, can be converted into a series of shelves, making easy access a possibility. You can also add shelving all the way to the top of the closet. Adding shelving units on both sides and the back walls of the closet maximizes as much as area as possible and creates even more space for items, making organization even easier.

Before you buy your new units, the best idea would be to plan ahead. Take measurements of the dimensions of your closet. Measure the height (floor to ceiling), width (from one side of the back wall to the other side), and depth (from the back of the closet to the front, but only on the interior). Taking a piece of graph paper, draw out your closet using your measurements. Take advantage of the grid on the paper. Every two squares could represent a foot and guesstimate the inches. If you are planning on keeping the shelf and rack already in place, measure its location, and mark it on the grid. Going by your drawing, plan out the shelving you would like to have. If you want five additional shelves on the back wall above your existing shelf, pencil in the shelves on your drawing. Make sure you adjust your measurements for any shelving you would like to add to the side walls.

Once you have your design down, its time to go shopping.

Plastic Storage boxes and baskets

Now that you have your shelving units up and securely fastened in, its time to start figuring out where you want your items to go. The best way to maintain organization is to use storage boxes and/or baskets. They come in several different sizes, shapes, and colors. You can purchase large plastic tubs with lids for blankets, out of season clothing items, or sports equipment. Smaller boxes for baskets can be used for smaller items such as t-shirts, socks, special mementos, crafts, photographs, etc. Again, you’ll want to measure the spacing between shelves and your available floor area so that your boxes will fit in the spaces you’d like for them to go.

Coat Hangers

I’m not nearly so fanatical about wire coat hangers as “Mommy, Dearest,” but I don’t care much for them. I prefer plastic coat hangers. They are inexpensive and come in a variety of colors. I use different colored hangers to represent what is hanging on them. I use white hangers for shirts, black ones for slacks, red ones for dresses, and so on. Color coding like this really helps save time when it comes to finding what I need. Instead of starting at one of the closet and shuffling through until I find what I want, I can go right to it immediately.

When you are putting your things up, make sure to keep items you use frequently within arms length. Use top shelves for items like out of season clothing. Also, make sure that your shelves are strong enough to support the weight of the items you want to put on them. A large box full of blankets can be heavy. You may want to add extra reinforcement to those shelves, or store the heavier items on the floor.

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