Tips for Closet Organization

As summer approaches, in many areas of the country what I call the “switching of the closet” takes place. Heavier clothing gets stored away and lightweight clothing takes its place. Last year’s summery separates join this year’s new dresses, sandals replace boots, tee-shirts replace sweaters as we move into the season of keeping cool. Organizing the closet now will make for an easier time in the fall, when the “switching of the closet” occurs again. It also makes it easy to box and donate unused items, allowing less fortunate people an opportunity for some new clothing.

Start by grouping like items. Shirts go with shirts; I do not think it is necessary to break down into “pullovers versus button-downs” although some will disagree. Skirts with skirts, capris with capris, suits with suits, trousers with trousers; group bottoms short to long, and hang dresses together. Once everything is sorted by category, resort within each category by color. This is usually when you see that you have seven white blouses and nine pairs of black trousers. This is a great stopping point to weed through items and decide what you are truly going to wear this season. Anything that doesn’t fit, doesn’t appeal or that you simply feel you won’t wear should be set aside to donate. After each item of clothing is sorted, place it on a hanger and hook the hanger on the closet rod from behind. When you wear the item and hang it back up, reverse the hanger so it’s hooked from the front. This is when you can take a good look at your wardrobe and see what additions you may want to make for the coming season. Are last year’s white shoes too scuffed for a professional appearance? Place white shoes on your shopping list and keep it handy when you determine your clothing budget. It certainly beats buying yet another white blouse with your hard-earned cash!

You’ve heard that you wear 20 percent of your wardrobe 80 percent of the time? By hooking the hangers from behind the rod like I have suggested, at the end of the season it will be plain what you have not worn at all this summer. This is where you begin weeding come autumn. These items should be taken and boxed and given to charity. If you want to take the tax deduction, remember IRS rules have changed. Items must be in “good condition” when you donate them to a charity. Since there is no real definition of what “good condition” means, it’s best to take digital photographs of your items and burn them onto a CD to keep with your tax records. That, along with a donation receipt from the charity, will help with documentation next April.

If you don’t love it, give it to someone who will. If it doesn’t fit, don’t keep it around figuring you will fit into it. To lessen stress, everything in the closet should be something you’re happy with. There should not be one item of clothing or shoes in the closet that when you reach for it gets rejected because it’s the wrong color, just a little wrong, or has nothing to go with it. By keeping it simple, not only will your life be easier, but you have the potential to make others’ lives easier by donating your gently used, hardly used, or brand new items.

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