If you have reached the point where you want to actively deal with whatever lurks in your closets, Jessica Waters of In Perfect Order has some good suggestions. Waters has run her organizing business nation-wide for over 12 years and has offices in western Massachusetts and LA.
In regards to organizing systems, Waters said that it usually tends to work better for most people if they install shelves and drawers in a customized fashion, as opposed to wire and plastic organizing systems. “They (pre-made organizing systems) are hard to manipulate. They get very dirty and are hard to clean. I really don’t care for them,” said Waters. “If you are handy, build your own customized system, or if you can afford it, hire a contractor,” she added.
Waters said that many of her clients have found creating an organizational system in their closets often changes their lives. “You can find your clothes faster; you will be able to put together outfits you may never have thought of before. You’ll save an amazing amount of time,” said Waters. “Invest in a system and build something simple,” she said. “It will affect your life right away,” she said.
Waters said that one fast, simple solution to some of your closet organizing needs is to “throw out all your hangers and get all of the same kind. Just that alone would make a gigantic difference in appearance,” said Waters.
“The first thing you need to do is enlist the help of a good friend. The hardest part of closet organizing is deciding what to keep and what to throw away,” said Waters. The next step is to make sure you have plenty of large, heavy-duty trash bags. Waters said that the average closet takes five to seven hours to clean and organize.
“Take everything out, I don’t care how stuffed it (the closet) is,” said Waters. “Then, make the commitment to not put anything back into the closet that you don’t absolutely love. Then put everything you’re keeping on good hangers,” she said.
Waters noted that what we keep in our closets can also have a regional element. “Having 50 pairs of shoes is not something you see a lot of in New England. But in LA having 50 pairs of shoes is pretty common,” she said. Waters said that she tries to get her LA clients to whittle the number of shoes they keep to 15 pairs for example.
Waters recommends sorting your clothing into seasons and storing off-season clothes elsewhere in clear plastic bins.
Once an organizational system is in place, Waters suggests having clothing arranged at eye level, sorted by tops and bottoms, sleeve lengths, colors, and activity. “I know it sounds anal, but it really isn’t. It’s just a system that makes sense for most people,” said Waters.