Turn Up the Awesome: A Weekend's Worth of Easy, Effective Closet Upgrades
As we turn the corner into the second (and final) weekend of the Closet Cure, I'm hoping you are feeling proud of yourself. You should be! It's not easy to sort through and pare down your stuff; and you've done plenty of that this past week. Now its time to double down on the hard work you've already done and make the most of the physical space of your closets and drawers. We have a weekend ahead, so lets make the most of it!
organized clothing closet shoes storage
Everyone's closet and dresser drawer space is different, so the following is a menu of ideas to pick and choose from; assess which might work best to improve your current wardrobe storing situation, how much time (or money) you want to spend and then go for it. The aim is to simply take some time this weekend to make your closet better. Perfection is not required, but effort is!
First, there are a few upgrades that I'd suggest that everyone at least consider making this weekend if they haven't already - they each have a cost associated with them, but I believe they are the best "bang for your buck" improvements that you can make to improve the look and usability of your closet space. You don't have to do them all (or any!) right now, but know that each is good on their own, and more are even better. Read through, and if you decide to do any of them, figure out what you need, take measurements and do a run to the store today or early tomorrow so you have plenty of time to install this weekend. Any/all of these make a big difference - one of those kind-of-a-drag-to-do things that are so.much.fun.so.worth.it once you are done things. Totally worth the hassle. Ok, here they are:
1. Outfit your entire closet with consistent hangers. I'd always heard that this makes a big difference but never really believed it to be that important until I made the leap three or four years ago. My husband and I took everything out of our closets to install some new pull-out drawers and it seemed like the right time to just do the hanger thing once and for all. I bit the bullet and went for a bug bunch of the heavier weight/heavy duty white plastic hangers (you can get them at the Container Store or Target among other places) and it was the single best organizing thing I've done.
Having all of your hanging clothes on the same shape, size and color hangers is the most motivating thing! It looks great (and you'll want to keep it that way) and it makes it easy to implement a stricter "one in, one out" rule because you have a fixed number of matching hangers.
The factor that was key in my case, was going for the slightly heavier hangers - my clothes hang better on them, seem to stay better and due to their size I can use them interchangeably for any item, including heavier weight jackets. (My one exception are skirt hangers with clips, and I have 8 matching wooden ones for those.) I just seem less likely to want to revert back to the "jam things in" route, which was easier to do with wire hangers. Finally, they are reasonably affordable at around 80 ish cents each, with further discounts if you buy in bulk - and - due to their weight and construction, they are lasting really well - no breakage at all in the years I've had them.
The hanger style/shape that you want to go with here is totally flexible - you might want so splurge and do metal or wood, or you might prefer the lighter weight plastic hangers or those slimline flocked hangers that everyone seems to really love. Whatever sounds good to you is good - the key is the consistency.
If you want to implement this plan but don't want the expense of buying a wardrobe's worth at once, start slow and build your collection over time, switching out one section at a time. Choose one segment, like dresses or jackets for this weekend and just buy enough for those. I think you'll be convinced even after seeing just one section with consistent hangers that it is worth doing for the whole closet over time.
2. Add hooks! Go high, go low, on the walls or on the back of door. Even if you only add one or two to your closet, you'll be reclaiming unused vertical space. You can use them for bags, belts, accessories, gym clothes, pjs, whatever works for you. The point is they are awesome helpers and are cheap and easy to install.
3. If you only have a single hang bar in your closet and have the room to add another - DO IT. You can permanently install one or use the hanging extender style. Either way It's inexpensive, relatively easy to do and will instantly double your space.
4. Consider cubbies for folded items, shoe compartments or shelves and/or shelf extenders. They are all fantastic - any kind of additional open storage that you can add to your closet will make a huge difference in the level of organization and smart use of space. Being able to store a stack of neatly folded sweaters and tshirts, etc saves hanging space and looks really neat and attractive. The key is to be able to see what you have, get to t0 easily and not be tempted to overcrowd it. A stack of cubbies running up one side of your closet will do this for you. If you don't want to take up any floor space for a freesanding stack of cubbies, those soft-sided compartments that hang from a rod (like these, available in all sorts of shapes and sizes, everywhere!) can be game changers in the same way and work well. Shoe shelves or compartments in the bottom of your closet are a no brainer - they control clutter, protect your shoes and allow you to store more in a small space. Shelf extenders on any shelves you have double the usefulness of the vertical space.
Ok, now that you've gotten the spiel on those upgrades to consider, lets talk about the other things we can all do this weekend. The more you can get done, the happier you'll feel on Sunday night! Here you go:
Do a clean sweep. Pull everything out from the floor of your closet. Grab some hanging items out temporarily and push what is left to the center of the bar. Take a very slightly damp cloth and wipe down the walls and inside of the doors. Vacuum well and do a pass on the scuffed up walls with a magic eraser. The difference this makes is significant - a cleaner closet is really nice.
Be a neatnik. Make sure everything is hung properly and facing the same direction. Button or zip all closures on everything before folding, rolling or hanging.
Roll or fold everything neatly that isn't going to be hung up, keeping like things together and making them easy to see and access; stacks of flat folded things work well for shelves or cubbies, rolling works better for drawers. Aim for not overcrowding any one space; take the time this weekend move groups of things around to new spots, switch drawers, etc to fit things in without crowding.
Of course, while you are working on cleaning the space and organizing your stuff, if you come across anything new for the donation/sell bags or for the maybe bag (which is put away now, good for you!) then move it on out and into the proper bags.
Want more closet ideas and inspiration before you get started? Here you go:
10 Ways to Squeeze a Little Extra Storage Out of a Small Closet
20 Ways to Organize Your Bedroom Closet
Need to catch up? Here are the previous assignments:
Assignment #1: Bags, Boxes & Big Plans: Getting Ready to Get Organized
Assignment #2: Slimming Down Your Sweater Collection
Assignment #3: The Big, Bad Clothes Sorting Weekend
Assignment #4: A Chance to Catch Up and Drop Off the Dry Cleaning
Assignment #5: Stay Strong: Sorting Shoes & Bags
Assignment #6: The Final Sort: Socks and Tights and Bras, Oh My
Assignment #7: A Painless Way to Deal With the Maybes
Cure Decision Tree PDF
We're all here, all weekend in the comment thread, as usual, so chime in. Give us updates on where you are at, how it's going and how you are feeling. Ask questions, tell us your plans and check in whenever you need a little break or energy boost. We're almost there - let's stick together and get this job done!
(Image credits: Submitted by Jackie / Jackie Travels; Liana Hayles Newton)