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Cleaning a closet

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Cleaning a closet may not be your first desire, but do it anyway

Cleaning a closet may not be your first desire, but do it anyway

We get it: You would rather be water-boarded than clean your closet but alas; it must be done. Cleaning a closet can actually turn out to be fun. Really? Really!

Back in the day, storage spaces for clothing were referred to as a ‘press,’ probably because the clothing was shoved so tightly into the tiny space it became pressed or ironed as a result.

Some use the word ‘wardrobe,’ when referring to a closet but a wardrobe is typically a separate piece of furniture in which clothing can be hung.

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If you live in an older home, you know storage space is at a premium because your predecessors didn’t own nearly as much clothing as you do. Maybe they had the right idea.

When your clothing space is in total disarray, this makes life a lot more complicated than it need be. You can’t find the pair of shoes you want to wear with your red skirt and you can’t locate the jacket that goes with the red skirt and so on and so forth and you’re mad as a result.


Organizing your storage space is going to make getting ready in the morning a  lot less stressful and you are going to look better because you can actually find what you want to wear when you want to wear it.

Maybe you would love to have a walk-in closet; however, if the repository, walk-in though it may be, is a disaster, the fact you can enter the area is of little benefit if you are tripping over shoes, discarded clothing and purses and can’t see what is in there.

Hoarders versus Purgers

Some people keep everything, including their cheerleading uniform from 1971, while others regularly get rid of stuff. Some are very attached to their items; others could not care less. And then there are those somewhere in the middle. You know which you are, probably the first category, and that is why your clothing space is in a state of absolute bedlam.

The best way to proceed is to gut the area: Pull everything out and  toss it on a the bed. Ideally, keep like items together; Sweaters go in one pile, pants in another, dresses in another.

Go inside the empty space and see if there is a better way to organize and arrange hangers and shoe racks. Invest in some new clothing/garment racks, storage bins, wire shelving and hangers. Clothing display racks allow you to see your items just as clearly as you would see them when on display in a store.

Consider using eco-hangers, reducing the amount of space your clothing is taking up. These hangers are free of lead, formaldehyde, chlorine, heavy metals and azo dye. They are created from starch-based adhesives and soy-based inks.

If you can’t see once you are in the space, then your efforts to organize and clean is all for naught. Install shelf lighting or microfluorescent fixtures, under shelf illumination and ceiling lights so you can see. You will never leave the house against wearing one black boot and one brown.

As you sort though these items try not become sentimental. Now is the time to take a cut-throat approach. If you haven’t worn an item in the past year put it in the discard pile. You can give the item to a charity. Someone will wear it. You may even be able to claim a tax deduction for your clothing donation.

Divide the clothing into work wear, evening wear and casual wear. You know what you wear regularly. Put those items in an easy to access location in the storage space. The items you wear on special occasions — weddings, cocktail parties — go elsewhere. Put your dress/work shoes on a shoe rack and your boots and tennis shoes on another.

You can also arrange clothing and shoes by color or season. Experiment and figure out which method works best for you.

If something is truly of sentimental value to you and it is going to cause a lot of angst if you discard it, keep it. Put it in an out-of-the-way spot.

The whole point in organizing this area is to make it easier to get dressed every day. it cuts down on the pandemonium and chaos in your already hectic life. If feeling ambitious, head to your children’s closets and do the same. Good luck!


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