3 pro tips to organize your closet this winter
By Aimee Heckel
You only wear about 20 percent of the clothes in your closet. The rest are just wasting space, money and your time, according to Joanna Monahan, a “liberator” (aka professional organizer) with Colorado-based Major Mom.
Every month, we talk to Monahan to get her professional advice to help parents organize their homes and life.
For December, Monahan tackled closets. Start with your “priority closet,” she says, aka your master.
Now is the perfect time to overhaul your closet, she says.
“Most of us have just switched over to the winter wardrobe,” she says.
Every time you shift out a wardrobe for a change of season, she recommends a thorough analysis of the clothes — to prevent just moving them from the storage bin, to the closet rod, and back to the storage bin again, without ever using them.
“Take the time to decide: Does this make the cut in my wardrobe again this year?” Monahan says.
Plus, many people are making New Year’s resolutions to better organize. And around the holidays, many of us get new clothes as gifts or for special occasions.
“It’s a great time to clean out the spaces and let go of the clothes that maybe don’t make us feel good anymore,” she says. “Ask yourself if someone took your whole wardrobe and you had to buy everything again, would you pay money for it again?”
If not, ditch it.
Monahan offers six steps for reorganizing your closet this winter. Here are the first three. Look for the second half tomorrow.
1. Take everything out of the closet and sort it into categories.
These categories may be broad: pants, shirts, dress shirts, dresses. You will also likely find random things stashed in there, like appliances, toiletries, suitcases. Put those in their own pile, to find a home elsewhere.
2. Now fine-sort each category.
Organize by size, color, purpose or whatever makes sense to help you know where to find things.
Part of this step is being honest and getting rid of things that you don’t wear or aren’t flattering.
“Clothing is tough,” Monahan says. “But ask yourself: Do you love it? Do you need it? Does it serve a particular purpose? Do you feel great in it? When was the last time you wore it?”
Honestly answering these questions will help you identify which items to let go of. Donating these things to someone else who truly needs them can make it easier, Monahan says. She recommends donating to the nonprofit Dress For Success, which provides professional clothing for needy women entering or returning to the workforce.
“How much are you still paying for that item that you’re not wearing in space in your closet, in time lost searching for the items you’re not wearing? Does it make you feel guilty every time you look at it? Chalk it up to an experience and let it go with love to someone who could use it today,” Monahan says.
3. Establish zones in your closet.
Organize homes in your closet for the different categories, depending on your own individual needs. It may be by season, like winter/summer, or function, like work and fitness.
An easy way to improve the look of your closet is by hanging everything on the same type of hanger, Monahan says. Her favorite is the Black Huggable Hangers from the Container Store, which are slim and take up less space, with the bonus of a non-slip coating to prevent clothes from falling off.
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Read Monahan’s other three tips for closet organization tomorrow.
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