The First Step to Organizing Your Closet Involves Only Your Mind

wire hangersIf you’re like me, you would rather watch infomercials with a pot of mac and cheese in your lap than organize your closet. If you think you’re not like me, don’t judge. I bet you’ve engaged in a guilty pleasure at the same time your closet wasn’t exactly looking like a boutique showcase, like the time you lip synched a Britney Spears song in the mirror. I saw you do it. That said, it’s time for me to get up off the couch and organize my closet.

We’re planning to get the master bedroom painted because it’s currently what I call an immobilizing and oppressive (what the husband calls “good for sleeping”) REDUM maroon that extends into our closet and our bathroom. Plus our future baby’s room is painted clown-car orange, which at least we both agree needs to go in favor of a more soothing shade. We can’t fail, since any color would be more soothing. I’m sure there are studies out there that say what awful things colors like this do to a fragile mental state, and so I’m hoping this paint job will save me from a scathing case of postpartum depression.

We’re going to have to pull everything out so the painter can access the walls, and I’m not keen on wasting an opportunity like this one. No sirree, I’m not going to put every stitch of crap back in the closets again, and that’s the reason I’m doing a post now about closet organization.

Add to my situation the fact that I’m almost 6-months pregnant, so I’m looking at a whole helluva lotta clothing that I can’t wear now and will probably not want to wear by the time my inflatables return to their upright and locked position. Some of my wardrobe is kind of beat up. Some of it makes sense in New York City and now that I don’t live there anymore, it makes me look like I forgot to take my medication. All of this means I need to weed out my clothes.

So do it with me. Organize your closet so that I have some company. Go a step further and take before and after photos and send them to me. Let me know if you don’t want your photos used on the site and I will keep them private. But personally I plan on showing my befores and afters for you to enjoy. Nothing more satisfying than freak-to-neat before and after shots. Are you with me?

An important note before we get down to business: most of the time when we want to organize something, whether it’s a whole room or just a drawer, we have to be cognizant of the fact that we probably have too much stuff and we’re tempted to just rearrange our stuff to make it look pretty. What we really want to do, most of the time, is actually declutter before we organize. That way we’re shuffling less crap around and it’s easier to keep it neat.

Decluttering and organization guru Peter Walsh says the first thing to do when embarking on a decluttering mission is to visualize what you want your life to look like, room by room of your home. I am visualizing having a personal assistant and stylist who will organize my closet for me so that I can look like a rock star every day with no effort. I’m pretty sure that’s not what he means. He’s probably asking me to visualize which clothes will help me look less douchey so that I’ll let go of some crap.

I think even before visualizing what we want, it helps to figure out what we currently have that’s not working. A popular conundrum is to have a closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear. I know that’s my problem. If you’re looking inside your closet each morning and pulling from the same five frayed outfits even though it’s overflowing with clothes, it’s time to toss what you won’t wear, and go “shopping” in your closet for stuff maybe you should start wearing.

Let’s take Walsh’s advice and visualize for a second. What can our closets do for us? They can set the stage for our whole day by making our wardrobe accessible in a sane and easy, maybe even fabulous, manner. What style of clothes do you enjoy wearing? What styles make us feel bad about ourselves? Skinny jeans anyone? Perhaps you want it to be easy to get dressed in the morning and look like a professional, sassy, take-charge, creative adult who owns more than two pairs of pants.

So after we’ve decided what dreams we want our closets to fulfill, the next step to organizing our closets is to decide how we will tackle the project. Do we pull everything out at once and complete the task in one day? Or do we take out a clothing category per day — meaning, today we could take all the tops and shirts out of our closet and try them on one by one and start sorting. Once that category is complete, we move onto the next clothing type a different day, such as pants, followed by accessories another day, followed by shoes, etc. So to review, our options are to do a complete dump of the closet onto the bed and bedroom floor and paw through the chaos, or do we take baby steps and stretch the task out to multiple days.

The plusses of pulling it all out at once are:
1.    We rip off the band-aid and get it over with and
2.    If we have a top that only makes sense with a particular bottom and a certain pair of shoes, then we know from the get-go whether all three of those things fit, are comfortable and look good together. And if one of the items no longer works and renders the other two obsolete, then we can toss out the whole lot.

On the other hand, who wants to spend a whole Saturday cleaning out our closet? That sounds exhausting and boring. The reason it’s a mess to begin with is probably because we haven’t had the time or wherewithal to schedule such a herculean task all at once. Maybe day-by-day makes closet reorganization more palatable and easy. Or maybe it drags it out and robs us of instant gratification.

So that’s all we’re going to do for today: We’re going to visualize what we want out of our closet. And you’re going to decide whether you want to do it all at once, or in digestible chunks, little by little.  I’m still on the fence, but I’ll let you know what I decide in our next installment of closet organization.

Next, Make Closet Organization Easy: Declutter Your Closet First

Finally, Four Steps to an Organized Closet: Before and After Photos

2 thoughts on “The First Step to Organizing Your Closet Involves Only Your Mind

  1. Pingback: Closet Organization: Project Simplify Hot Spot | swell easy living

  2. Closet technology for people in live in them.

    It sounds a little bizarre but closet organization is terrifically useful conceptually to think about the world and the problems within it – because closets are mostly reflections of ourselves because we are the ones who arrange them. Call it pantry technology, or whatever, closets are infinitely important to human beings because we store stuff there.

    If we view the world as one big closet (upon which we are stored), organizing that closet is relatively simple based upon the needs of us, and the kinds of space we need to be stored there harmoniously.

    The rest of the problem is all communication problems to solve which includes how to use or improve the shelves in our closet with a place for everything and everything in its place. That is the objective of all closet organization to prevent disarray, and confusion.

    Of course, all closets need lighting or no one can use it in darkness. So, along with the obvious (food and water that humans need), humans need lighting to extend the time of use of the closet for 24 hours, not 8 hours of sunlight. Industry is useful to provide these extras, and whether done through electricity or through solar and battery and generator energy, light is the next best thing to the sun for organizing life in a closet.

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