With the New Year quickly approaching, many of us will make a resolution to get organized next year. In small apartments, closet organization is crucial. An organized closet can help prevent clutter from creeping into and engulfing the rest of your apartment. While it may sound about as pleasant as a root canal, creating organized closet systems is easy with the help of some simple, inexpensive tools and a free afternoon.
Remove Items You Don’t Need or Use
To start your closet’s much needed makeover, you’ll probably need to do a little purging. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen your closet floor, you may have forgotten about all of the things lurking in the dark corners and high shelves. Start by removing items that you can donate or give to friends. With the exception of a few special items, clothes, shoes and accessories that you have not worn in the last year can be given away. Be ruthless! If you haven’t thought about an item in the last year, you probably won’t miss it. Make sure clothes to be donated are clean and in decent enough shape to still be worn. Many charities, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Salvation Army will pick up used clothing from your home. Be sure to get a receipt for your tax returns in April. If you have a small closet, create a second pile for clothes that you won’t need until next season. Store these items in simple plastic bins that can fit under the bed.
Once you have parted with as many items as possible, it will be time to put closet storage tools to work. Most stores that sell products for the home offer a dizzying array of closet solutions, including closet organizers, shelving, racks and creative hangers. Using a combination of these tools can increase the amount of useful space in your closet.
Your closet may have a high shelf right below the ceiling. This is a great place to store off-season clothes that won’t fit under the bed and other items that you need only occasionally. Unfortunately, the top shelf can also be a disaster area where items go to disappear. To prevent items from creeping into back corners, keep clothes in wire baskets or clear plastic boxes. See through containers allow you to see your items without having to rifle through piles of clothing.
Consider adding lower shelves to part of your closet to store sweaters, t-shirts and other pieces that don’t need to be hung. Shelving systems that require attachment to the back wall are more complicated to install, but are sturdier for heavier items. Easy closet stacking cubes made of wire or plastic are easier to install and are appropriate for lighter loads. Closet cabinets with closing doors and simple bins made of canvas, wood and plastic can sit on shelves or the floor and allow you to hide items you’d rather not display.
Closet Racks and Hangers
Unlike wine glasses and socks that tend to disappear over time, hangers seem to multiply with every trip to the dry cleaners. Wire hangers from the cleaners don’t hold heavy clothes well and create unnecessary and unsightly clutter. Consider returning hangers to the dry cleaners- most will gladly reuse hangers in good condition. Send bent and old hangers to the recycling bin and purchase matching plastic or wood hangers instead. High quality hangers will not only look better in your closet, they will help keep your clothes in better condition too. Consider purchasing hangers with multiple racks for skirts, pants and blouses. These specialty hangers make good use of vertical space and prevent over crowding of your closet rack.
Other Space-Saving Closet Ideas
Keeping accessories and shoes under control is easy with simple pre-assembled items. Over-the-door shoe hangers can hold dozens of pairs and make use of under-utilized space. Flexible shoe containers made of canvas or plastic with attached hangers allow you to hang your shoes vertically and are great for narrow closets with little floor space. Specialty hangers are also available for ties, purses and belts, eliminating overburdened hooks and allowing for a cleaner look.
With the help of organized storage units and a little bit of work, organizing closets doesn’t have to be painful. The addition of a few simple shelves, racks and specialty hangers makes staying organized easier.