Monday, January 25, 2016

Getting Organized

post signatureOkay, I have to weigh in here.

It's January. The time when a lot of people have set New Year's resolutions for themselves. One of the most popular resolutions is to get organized. There are tons of organization blogs out there. I subscribe to a couple of those. You might wonder "why"---since I am organized and had my own organization business for over 10 years. Well the answer is---you can always learn something new. I love coming across a new, practical idea. I'll be all over it!!

This year, I've been hearing some advice that I completely disagree with. And, no, I haven't read that popular Japanese book--The Art of Tidying Up. It's getting rave reviews and is geared for simplifying your life. I'm just talking about cleaning out a closet.

What I have been hearing (blog reading to be more precise) and is putting me over the edge is this:
"Empty out your space so you have a clean slate to begin." OMGosh!! And I've read it on several sights. This so wrong! Let me tell you why.

Generally, by the time most people who are trying to get organized make the decision to tackle a closet, it is so junked up and packed so full of crap, that if they simply move everything out, they would be completely boxed in with all the stuff that just came out of the closet. There would be no room to even move around. They will wonder how they fit all of that in the closet to begin with. Now all they've done is move the crap from one spot to another without solving a single thing and making a bigger mess to boot! This is completely discouraging as now they are completely overwhelmed and don't know where to begin! Trust me, I've seen this happen!!

Here's the easiest way to organize a closet.
1. Gather 4 boxes or large bags.
2. Label them:  donate; elsewhere (for things that belong somewhere else); trash; keep
3. Begin taking things out of the closet one at a time and make the decision as to which box it belongs in. Once you've cleared enough of the closet so that you can get in there, start working on the right side and continue around the inside. Work from right circling left.
4. Once you've cleared one side of the closet---clean it. Dust the shelves, vacuum the floor.
5. Now you can begin putting things BACK in as you work---or move the things that are staying in there to the cleaned side as you continue around the rest of the closet. Don't even worry about having it perfectly organized yet.
6. If this is a clothes closet DO NOT EVER remove all of your hanging clothes!! I repeat---DO NOT EVER remove all of your hanging clothes. It is so much easier to go through them hanger by hanger. Just decide if you plan to keep it, make sure it's hung properly on the hanger and just start organizing right on the rack---all blouses together, sorted by color, pants, dresses, etc.
7. As your boxes or bags fill, remove them from the room. Carry the "donate" straight to your car, "trash" to the trash, "elsewhere" to the hallway (you are not going to deal with this yet). The only box to leave is the one that has the stuff going back in the closet.
8. Once the closet is completely sorted, you can arrange it anyway you like. Since everything remaining is what you plan to keep, it's easy to see how much space it will take and what your largest category might be. After all the crap is removed, it's easy and quick!
9. Take the stuff from the "elsewhere" box and put it in the rooms where that stuff belongs. Go ahead, I give you permission to cram it in to the over-stuffed closets there. You'll get to it eventually!

Think about this: if you were getting ready to organize a whole room---you wouldn't remove everything to do it. That doesn't make sense. Nor would you have the space to do that. Your closets are nothing more than little rooms. Just treat them that way.

I have the very same simple organization ideas about photos. Ask me if you need help with that.

I'm getting ready to tackle my bedroom closet after the wedding. I'll be sure to share before and after.

There are many organizing ideas out there. Not all ideas work for everybody. But, I haven't met a single person that has tried my method that said it didn't work for them. Go ahead, give it a try and let me know what you think. Heck, if you're local, I'll even come help!


  1. I'm with you on this & typically follow your plan. I'm hoping to work on our master closet again this week and turn the hangars back around. (I've gotten rid of several things that were still backwards!) :)

  2. I am afraid I respectfully disagree. Pull it all out for two reasons, first of all, you are then truly smacked in the face with the fact that you have too much stuff and second, you can give the empty closet a good clean (all of it). Then sort into stacks as you suggest. Then when you see what is going back in, you can best decide where to put it and how to contain. If you put stuff in the way you suggest, you may not get the optimal arrangement. This is the method I've been using for the last few years and generally the closet stays organized once I have done this. Of course, I still have a couple of closets to go!

  3. I've done both options - and it depends on how big the closet/container is and what is in it as to which I use. Always good to have options I figure :)

  4. I totally agree with you. It's just too disheartening to take everything out at once, unless you can get it all cleaned up again the same day.


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