It’s that wonderful season again…spring cleaning! For most, this necessary annual chore is about as popular as doing taxes, receiving that jury notice, or scrubbing toilets. Fear not! Below is a method of purging and organizing that takes only 15 minutes! In the first blog of a series of “15 Minute Organizing Tips”, we’ll tackle the closet (before it tackles you!). Here’s what you’ll need before you get started:
• Laundry sorter - darks/lights/colors: Nothing is more disorganizing to a closet than dirty clothes all over the floor. Sorters instantly keep floors tidy.
• Storage baskets – IKEA, Target, The Container Store, Organize.com, etc.: Everything from sweaters/sweatshirts, jewelry, undergarments, belts, hats, and shoes can be organized and easy to reach and find using storage baskets-no more tumbling clothes falling off high shelves (and thus the daily tackling of you I mentioned earlier).
• Labeler or Polaroid/Digital camera: Use a labeler to identify what shoes are in what boxes, or, better yet, take a picture of it for a quick and easy ”look-see”. For those of you who practice being “green”, you can use and label your shoe boxes to keep shoes organized (and keep those seasonal “strappies” tucked away during the winter months).
• Shoe rack: Besides laundry on the floor, a pile of shoes can make a closet a stumbling “shoe-mine” hazard and create a daily frustration to finding what you’d like to wear. Whether it’s one that hangs on the door, sets on the floor, or is built-in, this is a fantastic, easy solution to a more organized space.
• Clothes Rail: Add an extra clothes railing half-way under the top one to double your hanging space. For the most part, we can hang blouses, button-downs, jackets and blazers, skirts, and pants on a “double clothes rail”. Reserve a space in your closet for tall items like dresses, coats, and robes.
Once these items are in place, you have primed your closet for space, organization, and blissful order. Here’s what you do:
1. Set a timer (kitchen, watch, iPod, etc.) for 15 minutes.
2. Sort your dirty clothes and place them in their proper place in your laundry sorter.
3. Place “dangling” or “thrown in the closet” items such as belts, hats, sweaters/sweatshirts, etc. into separate storage baskets.
4. Make sure all your clothes are hanging on a clothes rail so that the “hook” of the hanger is facing you (we’ll discuss shortly).
5. Put your shoes “toes out” into your shoe organizer (we’ll discuss why “toes out” shortly, too). Or label your shoe boxes with a labeler or with photos (this might be a separate 15 project).
If the timer buzzed, you can stop. You’ve probably cleared and organized more than you realized was possible! Just keep a note as to where you stopped. Do the rest tomorrow-set the clock, and you’ll probably finish the task. For those crazy closets, well, it might take a week of these 15 minute organizing sessions, but, what’s 15 minutes? The key is to complete the task…and with this method, it’s doable. In fact, you can make this into a game for your kids to do the same.
Tip: I was greatly impressed by an organization system I saw on a previous “Oprah Show” with guest Peter Walsh. He dubbed it the “Hanger System”: hang your clothes so that the “hook” of the hanger is facing you. Once you remove a piece to wear, turn the hanger around so that the “hook” is facing in towards the wall of the closet. After a month, you will see the clothes you use most (because all those clothes’ hangers will be facing in). After 6 months (up to a year) you can see what clothes you NEVER wear which will make it easier to purge these items.
Extra Tip: this can be done with shoes-place all shoes “toes out” in your rack. Once worn, switch the shoes so that they are placed “toes in”. Purge those that you never use.
Final Note: Place your closet items into three categories when purging: stuff to keep, stuff to store, stuff to give/donate/trash. Happy cleaning!