Below are 21 things to remember, consider or do before installing new bedroom closet systems in your home. They’re not all your typical closet organizing tips.
- It’s not just about the system – Even the best bedroom closet system chosen with all the bells and whistles will turn to mush if it’s not used right. ”Mush” is my technical term for the mounds of stuff that will accumulate and get all mixed together. Nothing in particular, just an amalgam of odds and ends.
- Don’t over-stuff your space – If you cram pack ALL your stuff into the closet, you won’t have room for any new items you receive. Then what will you do with that nice new sweater Aunt Agatha sends you?
- Specialize your space – Put certain items in certain spots. To best do this, choose storage methods specific to those items. Shoe racks for shoes, tie/belt racks for belts & ties, shelves for folding sweaters, etc.
- Use ALL the space you can – Look up, down and all around for any unused space or space you could use better. Along the walls, above the upper shelf and under the hanging clothes are some typical areas that are underutilized.
- Screen your items first – You will need to weed through your items and decide which items to ditch before selecting and installing a bedroom closet system. It would be a waste of time and effort and money to organize stuff you neither need nor want. Decide which items to ditch first, before you specialize any areas for storage.
- Declutter by using the “might” rule – When screening your items (see #5), you will probably hear yourself saying “I might need this _____” (fill in the blank with any items currently being debated).” If you do, chuck it! The word “might” is an indication that you don’t have a clear and immediate need for the item.
- Organizer systems are no substitute for good help – Read, browse the web or hire a professional organizer if you are running into roadblocks or that task is just too daunting. Friends can also help, if you don’t mind them seeing your mess.
- Do it yourself – If you do get help (see #7), don’t let them do it for you. You will be much more likely to sustain your clean closet if you do it for yourself and have some skin in the game.
- Get kids/hubby/wifey involved – If their stuff is in it, then it’s their closet, too! Get them to put some skin in the game with you. Don’t do it for them.
- Have two hanging sections for shirts – Hang shirts in two rows one above the other. This works really well for married couples. One row – his… One row – hers… Whoever is taller gets the top row.
- Store shoes in the open – Storing shoes in the open will help them air out after wearing. Closed containers were meant to keep moisture and “flavors” in – think Tupperware – YUCK!
- Use corners wisely – In a walk-in closet it is difficult to round a corner with a rod and use it without cramping the clothes as they round the corner. Put a shelf or a hanging tie/belt rack there instead.
- Face it, you may not have enough space – Tough to swallow, but it is entirely possible that you just have too much stuff for the allotted space in your bedroom closet. In this case, no bedroom closet system is going to solve all your problems and you’ll need to refer to numbers 5 and 6.
- Store things under your hanging clothes – Shoes or other flat items will fit very well in the narrow space between your clothes and the floor.
- Out of sight/out of mind – Remember where you put things, especially if they are in a hard to see area. Under clothes on the floor like in number 14 or up high on shelves are typical areas difficult to see. The stuff there just isn’t obvious at a glance. These are the areas you will want to make a list of contents for and post somewhere handy. Refer to the list and you’ll find what you need when you need it.
- Give every item a home – This is fundamental, say no more. Every shirt doesn’t need a home, but tees go best together, button-up shirts for Sunday go best together, etc. You will have general sections of clothes, so you can quickly choose which tee to wear to go out with the kids. They will all be together, so you can see all your choices and see them quickly!
- Put everything in its home, EVERY TIME – or at least most every time. Again, this is fundamental. This is actually more important than putting in a bedroom closet system. If you don’t put things back, you’re going to get the same old mush you had before coming back over and over.
- Find out why something is out of place – Once your closet is clean and organized using your new bedroom closet system, maintain it by doing a quick inspection of it every night. If something is out of place it will stick out like a sore thumb, because the rest of the closet is so pristine. This should take no longer than a minute – REALLY – unless you’ve got Paris Hilton’s closet. Put the out of place item away and ask WHY was it there?
- Throw away garbage – Garbage includes literal garbage like bags, boxes, wrappers – the obvious stuff. It also includes the broken stuff you “might” fix, remember the “might” rule. Additionally, it includes clothes you don’t wear (see#20). Don’t even think about putting these items back in your closet.
- Find out what you don’t wear – Whenever you wear something and wash it, hang it back up BACKWARDS with the hook pointing out. At the end of a week or a month, see how much of your clothes you actually wore by examining the backward hangers. You’ll probably find you only wear 20% of the clothes in your closet. The rest are out of style, don’t fit, or are just out of sight and forgotten about. Weed out as much of the 80% not worn as you can. Don’t throw out the winter clothes if you’re in summer, though. Save them and do the experiment again in the winter time.
- Dispose of your garbage – Garbage is anything you don’t need or want. You don’t have to throw all the garbage away, though. You can recycle it, sell it in a yard sale or donate it to the local Good Will. Just be choiceful in your decisions. Don’t throw away good coats, but don’t try to donate the old holey underwear.
These are some great tips that I use in my own personal organization before installing bedroom closet systems. I hope they benefit you, as well. Just keep in mind – your behavior is 80%-90% of organization. The system you choose will only be 10%-20%. Happy Closet Organizing!
By Maria Johnson