Friday, February 15, 2008

Organizing your Closet

Happy Friday! It’s a long holiday weekend (for those who get President’s Day off on Monday) so I thought it would be a good time for a long project. This week, we’ll begin filtering through all those clothes, shoes, hats, scarves, and jackets in your closet and creating some order. You’ve gained weight, lost weight, changed your style – but all those old clothes are still hanging there. So here we go – let’s start with hanging clothes.

Pull everything out off the hanging bars in your closet if you have the time to do this all at once. I know Flylady doesn’t like this approach, so if you are a loyalist to her method or feel overwhelmed by the idea of spending an hour or two going through your closet, then do what you can get thru in 15 minutes or just a portion of your closet.

Go through each piece of clothing and evaluate it – does it fit? Do you like it? Is it still in style? Is it in good shape?

If the answer to these questions is YES, hang it back up and place it back in your closet.

Consider if you have a preference for plastic or wood hangers, instead of the dry cleaner wire hangers. Some folks feel that the plastic and wood hold clothes’ shape better. This can also be an economical decision, evaluate whether you can afford to purchase as many hangers as you would need for your clothes.

Hang your clothes in categories, like at the department store. Pants together, shirts, blouses, sweaters. For your sweaters, consider folding them and hanging them over the bar of the hanger rather than by the shoulders, the way they come back from a drycleaner, so as not to pull on the shoulders. I also hang my clothes by color (all white button shirts, black sweaters, pink blouses, slacks, jeans, etc.) so that I can quickly find what I’m looking for.

If you answered NO to the questions above – you have to make some decisions about what to do with it. If you are losing weight – here’s a weight-loss tip a few years ago – once you have lost gone down a clothing size, get rid of that larger size clothes so you don’t have a safe haven to go back to. If you are gaining weight, but hope to return to your smaller size, pull those clothes out for now so you don’t get frustrated by those little clothes and pile them aside. Of course, if you are going thru a temporary size gain – pregnancy for instance, this probably isn’t the time to worry about this, just think about style. If anything needs repair, decide if you are really going to sew on that button or fix that zipper; if so, make another pile. If not, put it in a discard pile. (In some areas, the recycling centers and/or animal shelters will take fabric so you can look into that if you are interested in recycling your unwearables.) Lastly, if you just don’t like it, but its wearable, put it into a donation pile.

So now you have 4 areas – closet, discard/recycle, repair, donate. And “smaller size” for those working to lose weight and get back into that old size. All your clothes should end up in one of these piles.

(Some of you have multiple closets and can switch for the seasons. I don’t, all my clothes are in one closet – but I do rotate them for the season. Right now, all my winter clothes are in the front of my closet and summer is in the back. Later in the spring, I’ll go thru this same process with my summer clothes as I move them up to the front.)

Repeat these steps for the remaining areas or another 15 minutes, as your schedule allows. Then step back and look at your wonderfully ordered closet.

And those piles you made? Bag/box them now for donations and discard/recycling. Find places for them to go and make an appointment with yourself to get rid of them within a week. The repair pile – make an appointment with you, your sewing box, and your pile of clothes to get them done.

Moms – you also have the added chore of going through your kids clothes. Here’s a tip for your donations pile – identify friends who want your kids’ hand-me-down clothes, I don’t think anyone gets offended if you ask. As you go through your children’s clothes, place a bag labeled with each recipient’s name and place the clothes in the bag as you go along. When you are done, call them and arrange to get the bag to them.

Have fun!

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