Whether you have one closet or many, closets can inevitably become dumping grounds for all sorts of items. In this article we will learn how to organize a closet. When possible I will give examples of products that may help you learn how to organize your closet. Will purchasing a bunch of organizational products make you organized? Of course not, but some products can help you in your quest to become organized.
The Steps to Organization (aka How to Organize) are fairly straight forward. Imagine you are putting together a puzzle. What do you do first? (Well, first you open the box, but I am figuring we got past that part.) So what do you second? Depending on the kind of person you are, you start by sorting the pieces. The pieces with the straight edges go into one pile and the pieces without the straight edges go back into the bottom of the box. So our first step in learning how to organize is:
HOW TO ORGANIZE STEP 1 -- SORTING (woo hoo, yeah, think trumpets and fanfare -- this is exciting, we know where to start learning how to organize)
After you are done sorting your pieces, we move on to step two. (I know, I know - I didn't tell you how to sort or what to sort or how to organize anything yet - that comes later in the article. Just hang in there.)
So what is the next thing that you do when building a puzzle? Do we sort it out and then just walk away? Do we put all the middle pieces (i.e. pieces without the straight edge) together first? No, first we build a border for our pieces. So step two is:
HOW TO ORGANIZE STEP 2 -- BUILDING A BORDER (more fanfare, sounds of cheering)
The border is now built, but we are not done yet. If you left the puzzle with just a border you never get to enjoy the beauty of it. The same goes for learning how to organize. Building a border is great, but now you have to use it. How do you use a border? I am glad that you asked (ok, I am glad that I asked, but if you were here I am sure you would have asked.) We use a puzzle border to give us information about the puzzle. The border tells us how big the final product will be. It helps us to determine where the interior pieces should go and it also lets us see a light at the end of the tunnel. (I went from puzzles to trains, and soon I will go back again. It's a mixed metaphor, but I digress.) So step three of how to organize is:
HOW TO ORGANIZE STEP 3 -- FILLING IN THE PIECES
This makes sense when you are thinking about a puzzle, after all you have this pile of non-straight-edge pieces just sitting there and waiting. How does this work with organizing? Do you recall way back in how to organize - step one where we were sorting? Those are our missing pieces, so filling in the pieces means that you are now putting stuff away. (Yes, another light at the end of the tunnel) So that's it we are done, right? After all, we sorted the pieces, we built the border, we filled in the pieces, our puzzle is done. Right? Wrong! Sorry, but there is one more step before you are organized. (Actually, I am not sorry, but it sounds nicer to say it that way rather than - tough luck bucko, quit being a whiner.) So then what is the last step? Take a minute and think about it - when you are done with a puzzle what do you do? Do you leave it where you built it? Do you take it all apart so you can do it again another time? Do you smear goo on it so that is will become a work of art for you to hang on the wall? For the purposes of our analogy (i.e. comparing building a puzzle with learning how to organize) We are going to so no, no, yes. No, we don't just leave it where it is - that just adds to the clutter. No, we don't take it apart (What? Are you crazy? We just did all this work getting organized, for goodness sake, don't take it apart.) Yes, we smear goo on it so it is a work of art. Now, before you go get actual goo and really make a mess of things remember - this is an analogy. The goo is basically the stuff that holds the puzzle together and keeps it looking nice. That is what we need - we want our newly organized area to look nice. So the final step is:
STEP 4 -- THE FINAL STEP - KEEP IT ORGANIZED (I forgot the fanfare for step three so let's just add it in here - fanfare, fireworks and a laser light show, and a skywriter writing out "you just learned the basic steps of how to organize".)
Now that we have climbed the "Steps of Organization" (aka how to organize) together, let's look at an example.
Note: if you have only short periods of time to work on your organizing project then still work your way through the steps, however organize in small sections. For example, organize the floor first, then organize shelves (one at a time), etc.)
Problem: a hall closet that has become a dumping ground
Solution: The Steps to Organization (aka How to Organize)
Step 1: Sorting
Begin by making piles as you empty the closet. You will want piles of like objects (a pile of shoes, a pile of clothes (outerwear / jackets / etc), a pile of shelf items (this is whatever items you keep in your closet that are supposed to be there like light bulbs or vacuum cleaner bags, a pile for trash, a pile for donate, and finally a pile of things that don't belong in the closet. A good tip is to utilize boxes for this step in your organization journey. When you are learning how to organize you must first make a bit of a mess. This mess can be more controlled (read sort of organized) if you have boxes. Use the boxes for the various piles - i.e one box for trash, one box for donate, one box for stuff to keep, etc.
Step 2: Building the Border
Before we start putting stuff back into the closet, we need to have somewhere to put things. Rather than just putting items back in like they were (because that organization system obviously wasn't working) we need to build our border. This is where all of those wonderful organizing supplies come in handy. First we will decide how to organize your shoes.
There are several ways to organize shoes. The important part is to find a way to organize that is simple enough for everyone in your home to use and easy enough that it will be continued. If everyone in your home doesn't know how to organize, that is ok - as long as your organizing system is simple it can be used by everyone. A 1 year old can be taught how to organize shoes by putting the shoes on a shoe rack (granted he will take them off many many many many many many times, but he can be taught to put them on the rack.)
Basic shoe rack: A basic shoe rack will give you a place to put your shoes so they are not in a pile on the floor. That is one of the pros of the basic shoe rack (no more big disorganized pile of shoes), one of the cons is that a shoe rack will take up space (limited floor space, but at least it looks better).
Over the door shoe rack: An over the door shoe rack is another idea on how to organize your shoes. The pros - takes up less floor space, the cons -- doesn't always fit all shoes or it doesn't fit your door (as in the case of bi-fold doors).
Choose which organizer works for you and your family. Bear in mind part of learning how to organize is sorting. You need to sort through your shoes before putting them back into the closet. Think carefully when going through the pile, if the shoes are ones that you love, keep them, if they are shoes that you wear all of the time, keep them, however if you find a pair that doesn't fit, doesn't look right or that you don't like - donate them. Organizing doesn't have to be hard, if you are holding on to something just because someone gave it to you and you don't want to offend that person, but you don't really like it - get rid of it. I am giving you permission right now - feel free to blame it all on me - I don't mind.
Jackets, Sweaters and other outerwear --
So your shoes now look great! Next we will discover how to organize all of that outerwear that is stuffed into your closet. Depending on the size of your closet and any alternate storage areas elsewhere in your home, one great way to keep your closets from looking over crowded is to rotate items seasonally. To do this in an organized way you will want to obtain some clear plastic storage boxes. Your number of boxes will depend on your amount of clothes. You will want to have at least one box - this will allow you to store two seasons (spring / summer or fall / winter) in your storage box while the other two seasons are in your closet. Again how many items you have will determine how many boxes you will need. At our house we have 2 adults and 3 children so when we put away winter coats (and hats and scarves and mittens) they fill more than one box. When you are deciding how to organize the out of season items consider having a kids box and an adult box. Perhaps you need a box just for winter coats, deciding how to organize these items before you start filling your boxes will save you time in the end.
Another thought, if you have a bigger family, (or just lots of gloves and scarves) is to think outside the box (but inside the closet) and find something like a hanging organizer. This is a shelf that hangs on the closet rod like a hanger, but has spaces like a shelf. However, it will take up space so you will need to determine if it is something that you need, but it is a neat idea that you can work from.
As I said before, before you put items back into your closet, determine if you need all of the jackets in your closet. If you don't use it, don't need it, don't want it, then donate it.
Next, let's discover how to organize those items on the shelf (YEAH! - more organizing!)
In our disorganized (soon to be organized) example hall closet we have a shelf. Let's say that when we were sorting the items (way back in "how to organize" step 1) we took the following items off of this shelf: some light bulbs, vacuum cleaner bags, board games, a few scarves, some blankets, an apple core, and other odds and ends. So here we are still building our organizational border. Part of the border building is deciding the purpose of the room. For our hall closet, we want to be able to store some items that we need accessible, but don't use every day (like the light bulbs and vacuum cleaner bags), but we don't need to keep everything else in there. So we need to find a new home for the rest of the items. These items will go into the "it doesn't go in the closet" pile (except for that apple core - toss that into the trash please). Then we will find storage boxes to organize our light bulbs and vacuum cleaner bags. To determine which size you need, measure the space you have on your shelf - do you want the boxes to completely fill the shelf, what are you planning on putting in them, do they have drawers that need to be able to open (note: if they have drawers - you will want them to be able to open, it is so much harder otherwise). After you have your measurements and other determinations, you can start looking at storage boxes.
- A few notes on your learning how to organize journey -
- boxes with lids stay neater and more organized than boxes without lids
- clear boxes allow you to see what is inside without having to pull the box out of the closet every time
- drawers allow you to stack your boxes, but don't allow you to pull them off the shelf as easily
- lots of little boxes just make a slightly more organized mess - go with bigger boxes to hold more items, if you need to organize within a box then you can get smaller boxes to go into the bigger boxes, but this is, in my opinion, overkill (this is not learning how to organize, this is learning how to make a big mess become a slightly organized big mess)
Step 3: Filling in the pieces
OK - so you have all of your plans for organization, you have a system for how to organize your shoes, you have plans for how to keep your clothing organized, and you have plans for organizing the shelf items as well. You are well on your way to learning how to organize.
Great! Good Job! I am proud of you! Now - start filling in the pieces. What does this mean in the learning how to organize world? Simply start putting things back into the closet. Shoes go on the shoe rack, clothes go either in the storage boxes for alternate seasons, or on hangers, shelf items go in the storage boxes on the shelf (do you see a pattern here?). A quick note about hangers - all hangers are not made equal. Wire hangers can stretch out sweaters or leave marks on clothes. If your hangers are working for you then by all means keep using them, if however you want new hangers be sure to purchase all of the same type as they will hang together nicely. As you put each item back in though, think about it one more time. Do you need it? Do you love it? If the answer to either is yes, then by all means hang on to it. If the answer to both is no, then pass it along to someone who does need it and will love it.
Step 4: The Final Step - How to Organize so that You Keep it Organized
First, old habits are hard to break. When you or someone in your family is used to doing something one way for a long time, it will take time to change. Bear in mind, the simpler the system, the easier to follow it. Rather than organizing shoes in shoes boxes with lids and stacked according to style, size and color, have them in view on a shoe rack with their mate. (a complicated system will just drive you crazy trying to keep it organized). Rather than arranging jackets by season in the closet, which leads to crowded and overfilled closets, store the out of season items in an attic or other storage space. As long as your system is simple it will work for you.
The previous example focused on how to organize a hall closet; however the same principles can be applied to any closet. Start with the sorting, move on to the border, then filling in the pieces. You can add lower rods for kids closets so children can reach their own clothes. You can add higher shelves in adult closets for sweaters that you don't want to put on hangers. Take a look at what you have, decide what you need and then organize it so you will be able to use it and enjoy it.
Take what works, leave what doesn't and enjoy your organized closet.
Copyright © 2010 Crookers Software Design & Consulting -- All Rights Reserved Worldwide
Copyright © 2010 Crookers Software Design & Consulting -- All Rights Reserved Worldwide
By Michelle CrookerTag : closet,closet clutter,closet organizers,closet doors,closet shelving
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michelle_Crooker