Dream Closets

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Trying to get out the door in the morning can be a nightmare if you can’t find just the right outfit, accessory or even your left shoe. Spring is a terrific time to get rid of the junk in your closet and get organized. For many of us, it’s a daunting task. Sometimes our frustration with closet organization comes from what we feel is a lack of space—or just too much stuff to sort through. But, Melanie Graham from The Container Store public relations department said there are plenty of easy ways to make closet organization simple.

“For many of our customers, their closet is at the top of the list of areas in need of organization. It’s important to remember easy strategies to immediately create space and add organization,” said Graham. “The first step is to take inventory of all that you have in your closet. Go through and sort your items by color, type or style.”

The second step is getting rid of what you don’t need or use. Graham suggests donating or holding a garage sale for unused and unwanted items.

“Use the two-year rule. If you haven’t worn it in two years, it’s time to say goodbye to it,” said Graham. “These items take up valuable space and probably won’t be missed.”

Clear storage boxes help keep a closet organized.
Clear storage boxes help keep a closet organized.luable space and probably won’t be missed.”

Organizing experts from The Container Store in The Gallery at Westbury on Old Country Road shared some tips on how to make organizing any closet— whether it’s in your bedroom, hallway or laundry room—a bit easier.

Take Inventory After you’ve removed extraneous items, take a look at what remains. Ask yourself, “Does this belong here? Does it make sense to keep it here?” For example, move that professional-grade mixer that you’ve been keeping in the back of your closet to the kitchen. When it’s time to tackle that area of the home, you can incorporate the mixer into your kitchen’s new storage plan. If possible, move out-of-season garments to another area of your home. The space under your bed is a wonderful solution for large storage boxes.

Look Up If you don’t have a lot of room to work with, a surefire way to instantly create more space is to go “up.” Take advantage of all vertical space by stacking sweaters, shoes and handbags on shelves. Use stacking drawers or shelves to prevent items from toppling over. Store the things you need less frequently on the higher shelves.

Reevaluate Hangers Use add-on hangers, which take up the same amount of space as a single hanger, but store four times the amount of clothing. Remove empty hangers from the closet rod and throw away or recycle unused hangers. If most of your hanging clothes are short, add an extra closet rod to instantly double the amount of hanging space.

Handbag Organizers
Handbag shapers, like these from The Container Store, slip into clutches, evening bags, everyday bags or totes to prevent creases and wrinkles when stored in a closet.

Divide the Space By installing multiple shelves or by using stackable containers, you can divide the vertical space and make efficient use of the area you have to work with. By dividing the space, you eliminate the possibility of stacking tall piles of clothing or other items that are destined to topple over.

Keep It Moving Consider storage options on wheels for greater flexibility and to help keep the clutter under control. Carts hold an assortment of accessories in a small space—and can be wheeled back into a closet or storage area when not in use.

Organize with Color Separate items by type (shirts, skirts, pants) and then group each item by color to make selecting an outfit easier.

Visibility, Accessibility and Flexibility These are the three rules to organization.

Closet OrganizedFor visibility, experts suggest choosing containers that are either transparent or can be clearly labeled to help you identify the contents immediately, which saves valuable time. Labeling items will also help other family members know where to return things when they are finished with them, which helps you stay organized.

For accessibility, make sure the items you need most often are the easiest to access. Place items you don’t need as often on a higher shelf or in another area.

For flexibility, select a storage system or individual storage solutions that can adapt to your changing needs. That way, you can reconfigure and reuse them to solve a variety of storage and organization problems in the future.

If the idea of organizing your closet still seems intimidating, remember that doing a little every day goes a long way. Graham said: “It’s important to regularly plan time to organize your closet. Organization doesn’t happen overnight, but you can accomplish quite a bit in 30-minute blocks of time. By establishing order in your closet, you’re likely to enjoy a stree-free morning routine.”

Find more solutions at The Container Store, located at 902 Old Country Road in Garden City, or by visiting www.containerstore.com.

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Betsy Abraham
Betsy Abraham is senior managing editor at Anton Media Group and editor of The Westbury Times and Massapequa Observer. She also writes for Long Island Weekly.

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