The 5 Day Plan To Turn Closet Chaos into Organized Bliss
With April just around the corner, our thoughts turn to spring. For many, spring not only signals the onset of warm weather, flowers, and birdsong but heralds the time to sweep out the winter detritus from hearth and home, otherwise known as Spring Cleaning. The first logical step in the process is removing all that stuff you really don’t want, don’t need, or never use, your clutter.
For those of you preparing to sell your home this spring, an absolute must for you is to take your cluttered chaos and turn it into organized harmony , but even if you are staying put, what better way to start the new season than with a home free of extra stuff to get in the way of your feng shui. Now that you are sold on the idea of paring down and organizing, there are a couple ways to approach the process of organizing your home.
- the intense weekend (or two) decluttering boot camp
- the series of multiple shorter de-junking sessions
Personally, since I am not a fan of pain and suffering, I prefer the “take-it-in-smaller-bites” process. Keep in mind, regardless of whether you opt for the intense program or the low impact version, you still need to perform the same tasks which are:
- throwing out what is broken, expired, or otherwise useless
- donating or selling what is in good, workable condition but is no longer wanted, needed or loved
- organizing what is left in a clean space
Now that you have the basics, here is my 5-day plan to clean and redo your closets and the first step towards a clean and serene living space.
Day 1: Let’s Organize Our Wardrobe Sanctuaries
Wardrobe sanctuaries are those little rooms or niches that are commonly called closets. Those convenient areas where we hang our clothes, stash our shoes, purses and other accessories and otherwise cram things in there that don’t necessarily belong in the sanctuary. You are going to turn that closet into a thing of beauty. Here’s how.
- Take everything out of your closet and thoroughly vacuum the area and wipe down the shelving.
- Go through all the clothing and shoes and remove everything that doesn’t fit or that you haven’t worn in over a year and set them aside for donation, consignment or trade.
- Throw away scuffed or worn shoes, single or worn out socks, ragged t-shirts, worn out purses, ratty underwear and anything else that you would be embarrassed to donate.
- Get out those new hangers out that you bought which are all the same size and color, hang all the clothing you are keeping on them and put them back arranging by type and color.
- Put your shoes back on their racks.
- Get matching colored bins for all your accessories you want to keep in the closet and put them on the shelves with labels.
- Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
If you are selling your home, this is the perfect opportunity to pack up your off-season clothing but just make sure your closet is no more than ¾ full. If you are staying put in your home or starting out in a new one, this might be a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate your closet and earmark it for some updates and improvements on how to get the most out of your storage space.
Day2: The Hall/Coat/Utility Closet
This is the one I call the closet of many uses. Mine is the home not only for coats, hats, umbrellas, scarfs boots, garden shoes, the vacuum cleaner, a small tool box, a laptop tote, carpet and furniture cleaning supplies, extra light bulbs, the cat carrier, and a few other miscellaneous items. Recently I planned and re-organized this storage space and here is how I did it.
- Remove everything in the closet.
- Throw away any broken, worn or obsolete items. If you have items you no longer use, put them in the donation box.
- Vacuum thoroughly and wash down all the shelves.
- If you have room for an extra shelf, you might want to add it to avail yourself of extra storage space at the top of the closet.
- Put scarfs, hats, and gloves, cleaning supplies, extra lightbulbs, and other miscellaneous items in bins and label.
- If you don’t need the whole closet for coats you might consider a shoe rack or storage shelf in half the closet to increase your storage space as well.
- Put everything back in the closet arranged neatly.
- Stand back and admire.
Day 3: The Linen Closet
There is a reason this is called a Linen Closet and that is because it is the place to store your linens such as bath towels, bed sheets, blankets, duvets, quilts, throws. If you do not have a separate area to store table linens they can also find a home here. This is also a good place for your reserve paper products like bath tissue, paper towels, and facial tissues. What this area should not be is the catch-all for everything else that just doesn’t seem to have a home, unless you have a really large closet that can become a multifunctional storage space.
- Remove everything from the closet, vacuum and wipe down the shelves.
- Throw away or designate to the rag bin all frayed and worn towels, washcloths, sheets, and pillowcases.
- Refold everything so that they are all uniform and stack neatly on the shelves. Don’t pile things too high so they fall over.
- Give yourself a high-five
If you are selling your home, there should be nothing in here but linens and bathroom paper products. You also should make sure that you have empty shelf space so it makes the closet look spacious.
Day 4: The Pantry or Food Closet
Whether you have a designated pantry cupboard in the kitchen or a separate closet that functions as a pantry this is where you should keep your dry, canned, boxed and bottled food items for storage. You can also keep appliances and cookware if you have a large enough space or other kitchen items that overflow your cabinet storage. Since you already know the take it all out and clean part, here is what comes next.
- Throw away canned, bottled or boxed food that has gone past the freshness date on the package, broken appliances, damaged or worn cookware, empty jars and containers that are no longer usable.
- Store all flour, sugar, pasta, rice, cereals, nuts and like items in plastic food storage containers, label and date them. Having uniform containers is the way to go if you want a well-organized and attractive look.
- Get wire baskets for storing onions, potatoes, garlic and other root veggies that should be kept in a dry, dark place.
- Organize everything neatly on the shelves so they are easy to find. Put items you seldom use on the upper shelves and items you use most often on the lower ones.
- Open a bottle of your favorite wine, and toast yourself for a job well done!
Day 5: Sorting Out the Rest of the Holy Mess.
You have done a great job and now you are a pro at the closet purging and arranging stuff so if you have a storage closet, a craft closet, toy closet, clean and organize that on day five. If you are out of closets, do some general purging which will make organizing the rest of your living space a slam dunk!
Make sure you have a supply of trash or recycling bags handy and turn yourself loose tossing out wrapping paper scraps, old magazines, old receipts, broken sunglasses, Christmas lights that no longer work, expired coupons, old electronics, tarnished costume jewelry, broken toys, expired store reward cards or gift cards, excess paper or plastic bags, old paperwork, accumulated junk mail, outdated catalogs, leftover dried up cans of paint and anything else you find that is completely useless and outdated.
Donate or sell items that are in good condition but just taking up space in your home like, books, CDs, DVDs, toys, arts and craft items, knick-knacks, unwanted gifts, product samples, lamps, appliances, garden equipment, planters, artwork, old prescription glasses, old cellphones or computers. If it's in your home and has no use and is not feeling any love, pass it on to someone who needs it.
Now, don’t you feel fabulous that all that is out of the way? There’s more to come, but for now, why not treat yourself to a pedicure, a movie, a great meal or that special treat you have been hankering after. Relax, enjoy and think spring!