Make 2010 the year you finally get your wardrobe in order. Here are our simple solutions for conquering the clutter in the closet.
The best way to conquer clothes clutter: Hold your own once-a-year fashion show. Empty the closet, then try on each garment in front of a full-length mirror. Does it fit? With what outfits and on what occasions will you wear it? Does it need mending? Will you ever be able to get out that ink stain? Separate pieces into four piles: keep, mend, donate, throw away. Follow the same steps for shoes. Now you can start organizing the keepers, eking out extra space with over-the-door storage and hanging shelves. (Related: Dress Better for Less)
Toss mismatched hangers: Their irregular shapes take up more space, and the wire ones that dry cleaners use are hard on your clothes. Try a coordinated set, like the Huggable Hangers ($14 for 12, HSN; HSN.com).
Keep your clothes stored by outfit: For example, store cardigans with matching slacks, blazers with skirts, rather than by type. Then return hangers to the closet so the hooks face out. Once you've worn a set, hang them the other way (with the hook facing in). At the end of a year you'll be able to tell which clothes you haven't worn - it'll help streamline your next fashion show/cleaning.
Remove out-of-season items: Wash or dry-clean your out-of-season gear, then bag or box it and stash out of the way.
You can maximize your sartorial space without spending a fortune on a custom closet. Use labeled, see-through, or otherwise easy-to-scan boxes and bins to hold accessories (e.g., scarves, nicer shoes, hats) on the floor as well as on the higher shelves. Your pieces will stay dust and damage free - and ready to wear at the drop of a hat. We like this Tweed Drop-Front Sweater Box ($30, The Container Store; 800-786-7315, containerstore.com).
"Looks Good" List
As you try on clothes, document which items make flattering ensembles, and create lists for different seasons and occasions: summer weekends, winter work outfits. It'll pay off the next time you're packing for a vacation or prepping for a big meeting and don't have time to play dress-up.
Don't Skip This Tip
Even if your closet stays chaotic, you can still simplify your A.M. routine with this quick fix: Mount a hook outside your closet and use it to hang up whatever outfit you select the night before.
More Cleaning and Organizing Advice from Good Housekeeping:
Fake a Clean Home, Fast
25 Easy Ways to Clean Out the Clutter
Organize Your Home In Just One Weekend
Change for Good In 2010
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