Organizing the Clothes Closet

Organize your clothing into compatible groups that work together maximizes wardrobe options.

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Drawer Dividers Organize Clothing Quickly DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley LimitedDrawer dividers make it easy to find clothing you need quickly, and frustrate the tendency of small items to shift when dresser drawers are opened and closed.

Tips for Organizing Dressers and Drawers

Crammed bureau drawers can lead to snagged hosiery, rumpled garments and pinched fingers — so put the following tips to work to declutter and organize clothing stored in chest of drawers and dressers:

Declutter, declutter, declutter. As storage devices, drawers function best when they have breathing room; when they are jammed and crowded, they damage clothing and make it hard to find garments. Keep drawer contents lean by decluttering them. Use the STOP clutter method to trash singleton socks and torn knickers. Don't let clothing clutter bring drawer storage to a standstill!

Labels point the way. Keep the drawer contents tidy — and where they belong — with labels. Label drawers on dresser fronts or the upper edge of the drawer lip. Use labels with pictures on to help small children put away clothing in the proper drawer.

Divide and conquer. Drawer dividers keep knickers neat, stockings folded and T-shirts in their stack. Use narrow strips of cardboard to subdivide drawers, or stow lingerie and socks in shallow, flat-bottomed plastic baskets. Commercial drawer organizers can make a neat drawer out of a jumbled mess.

On a roll! For neat storage, roll garments instead of folding them. Mate socks, and then roll them together; they'll be easy to find, and you won't stretch elastic edges. Rolled T-shirts are simple to sort and stow; no more flipping through folded piles to find a favorite. Rolled garments take up less room in the drawer; rolling lessens creases and rumpling.

Turf it. To pare down excess clothing in the chest of drawers, find alternate storage locations in less crowded areas. Toss rolled socks and leggings into a flat-bottomed basket, and slide beneath the dresser or a nearby bed. Bulky jeans can claim more than their fair share of drawer space; consider hanging them in the closet instead. Don't hang sweaters, though; they should be stored flat to retain their shape.

Clothes Storage Tips for Clutter Personalities

Try these tips for clutter personalities. They'll help sort out the closet clutter that holds you back:

Perfectionist. The perfectionist has the world's most organized clothes closet ... in her head. Because her dream of color-coordinated storage systems is so lofty, she won't throw herself into the yawning void between what she has and what she imagines. In the meantime, she's diving beneath winter's fleece jackets to try to find the bathing suits.

The perfectionist needs to cut herself some slack! A "good enough" job is truly good enough. Keep in mind the 20-80 rule: 20 percent of the effort to do any job will reap 80 percent of the benefits.

Deferrer. The deferrer dreams of an organized clothes closet, too — but the job seems so overwhelming that she spins her wheels at the thought. Break the thrall of procrastination by making one tiny start. Declutter half a hanger rod or half a drawer. Tomorrow, do it again ... and again ... and again. The remedy of action is usually enough to get the deferrer going; taking many little steps will build a bridge to the goal: a clean and organized closet.

Rebel. Mom was a tyrant, all right-she insisted that clothing be hung up or put away neatly. Out on her own, the rebel continues the war, tossing clothing with abandon. After a while, rummaging through piles on the floor to get dressed in the morning loses any appeal — but the rebel's behavior pattern is entrenched.

To make peace with the internal rebel, remind yourself of the power of choice. "I choose to store my clothing in a way that protects it, and makes it easy for me to dress well," will send the rebel back into the past, where she belongs.

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Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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