Becoming better organized doesn’t just help your space look neater. It has also been linked to improved sleep, stress relief and even increased productivity.
Despite the inherent benefits of organization, many people struggle to even get started with this process. As Mike Wolf, director of marketing for custom closet storage brand Inspired Closets explains, however, by understanding where to start, the process can become much easier — and maybe even fun.
“The sheer number of possessions people have is usually the biggest contributor to a messy, disorganized space,” Wolf explains. “To solve this, the first step toward getting organized is completely emptying your closet and evaluating everything inside. Sort each item in your closet based on whether you want to keep it, donate it or throw it away. Don’t hang on to something that you will never actually use. Getting rid of duplicate items or items you haven’t used in years is a big first step to clearing out available space so you can reduce clutter.”
Many people hang on to excess items unintentionally — often, because they simply forget about them. Out of date, broken or unused items should always be the first things to be removed during a major organization project. Items like mismatched socks, out-of-prescription glasses and clothing that doesn’t fit anymore are easy contenders for the giveaway or trash piles.
Create a Categorization System
After you’ve reduced the number of items that will be going into your closet, creating a system for categorizing those you plan to keep will help you maximize the space. Most people will organize clothing by category (such as keeping all pants together, or separating long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts). Some take this a step further by also categorizing clothing by color.
Make closet visibility a key consideration when planning where these different categories go. Shelving or hanging areas that are near eye-level are the most valuable piece of real estate inside your closet.
This placement means they are going to be the first thing you see when you enter the space. So, the prominent eye-level space should be dedicated to items you use often — even daily. Higher or lower spaces should be reserved for item categories that are used less frequently.
Make Use of ‘Found Space’
Most people have more available space in their closets than they might expect. The problem is that this “found space” is often so high or low that they overlook it entirely. As a result, these areas essentially become wasted space that isn’t used for anything.
“The floor under your hanging clothes or the top shelf of your closet can are frequently underutilized spaces for storing items. However, these are the perfect space for items you don’t use very often, like seasonal clothing,” Wolf says.
“Making use of every available space will keep shelves and hanging areas from getting too crowded. Additions like a storage cubby on the floor can help you fit even more into these forgotten spaces.”
Utilize Labeled Bins
Smaller items can easily get scattered across your closet shelves, making the space messy and cluttered. To avoid this, the Inspired Closets team recommends using labeled bins to keep items like belts, sunglasses or hats in one place.
With a single glance, a labeled bin will tell you exactly what’s inside, making it that much easier to find what you’re looking for. You can take this a step further by installing permanent pull-out drawers as part of a closet organizing system.
This is an easy way to keep smaller items that might otherwise end up as a disorganized pile in one convenient location. You’ll be less likely to lose things in the back of your closet, and you will be able to streamline your daily routine.
Use Lighting to Enhance Your Closet
Organization isn’t just about having space for everything. Even in a closet, it’s about the entire environment you’ll surround yourself with. And one of the most fundamental elements of creating the right environment is light.
The right lighting will help you feel calm and relaxed by giving you total control of your space. Great lighting will make it easier to find what you need, so you can be energized and focused, rather than disorganized and frustrated. You won’t have to worry about items in the corners or on certain shelves getting forgotten because they are out of sight and out of mind.
To achieve this, those with darker closet spaces should install small overhead lighting. Lighting strips can even be added to the bottom of existing shelves, similar to kitchen cabinet lighting, to better highlight everything inside. Seeing your items in a new light can also make it easier to decide whether you wish to keep them during future organizing.
Get Better Organized for a Better Life!
When you are able to better organize your closets, you can truly maximize their storage potential. This will keep clutter from spilling out into your home’s living areas so your entire space will feel more open and inviting.
After your initial organizing effort, it is also a good idea to periodically go through your closets for some lighter cleaning and reorganizing. Making organization an ongoing effort will keep this task from getting overwhelming in the future.