By the end of the year, most of our closets are a wreck. New purchases are stacked atop old clothes, pieces that we’ve outgrown in size and taste, trendy items that aren’t so trendy anymore — the list goes on. It’s time to get organized. It’ll make deciding what to wear easier because you know that everything is something you like and that it fits. It will also allow you to take inventory of what you already own for smarter shopping decisions in the new year.
We spoke to four professional organizers to get their advice for a fresh start for you and your closet.
Take Everything Out — But Only If You Have Time
Samantha Bromm of Regina-based Queen Bee Organizing, recommends piling all your sweaters, shirts and jeans together so you can see how much you have of each group. Calgary-based Les Is More‘s Leslie Beliveau recommends breaking down the tasks and dealing with them one by one. “The idea is you want to see results so you are motivated to continue on.”
Ask Yourself Why You No Longer Wear It
Kim Diamond of Toronto-based Clutterfly asks her clients to think about why they don’t wear a particular item of clothing. “Usually, there’s a very simple reason like the zipper doesn’t stay up or the tag itches. That’s all it takes for an item to get sidelined yet it remains in the closet.” Set up an area in your closet or bedroom where you can set aside clothes that are ready to be donated (if they are still in mint condition), repaired or tossed.
Don’t Feel Like You Have to Keep Sentimental Items
From wedding dresses to clothing that belonged to loved ones, it can be hard to let these items go. Brooklyn-based professional organizer Laura Cattano recommends reassessing the sentimental value of these items from time to time. “Keep only the things that really speak to you.” She notes that many people keep their wedding dresses because they feel like they have to. For clients who are thinking of parting with it, she says, “Donate it. Another woman would love to have your dress.” But if you’re not ready to let it all go, Diamond suggests framing a piece of the fabric as a memento.
For easy storage solutions, use what you already have. Image by: Getty Images
Use the Right Hangers to Save Space and Your Clothes
“If you have a lot of clothes and space is tight, I recommend using those slim, felted hangers. Use sturdy wooden hangers for jackets so the shoulders are properly supported, and use clip hangers for skirts and pants,” says Diamond. Fold, don’t hang your sweaters (knits have a tendency to stretch out).
You May Not Need to Buy New Closet Organizers
You might already have all the storage solutions you need. “Office organizers can work nicely for small items; book dividers to keep sweaters in rows; low profile baskets to house flip-flops and slippers to save space; and cork board or hooks to house jewellery,” says Beliveau.
Group Like with Like
“If you have a separate wardrobe for work and casual then keep them separate. The point is to make it as easy as possible to see what you have and make a decision as quickly as you can,” advises Cattano.
Use Hooks and Think Vertically
“If you don’t have time to put something away, just hang it there and at least it’s not on the floor. Then when the hooks are all used, put the items away properly,” says Samantha Bromm. Another space saving trick is to fold items vertically instead of horizontally — this works well for clothing you have multiple of like white logo T-shirts or breton tops (or is that just us?).
Remember: Only Takes a Few Minutes
We hate to sound like your mom, but the easiest way to stay on track is to not let things pile up and put aside a few minutes each day to tidy. For most of us, that’s harder than it sounds but Bromm relays these tips on how to stay motivated. “Be proud of and reward yourself for keeping things in check . Sometimes we just need to change our mindset and find joy in putting stuff away at the end of the day. It really does only take a few minutes.”