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Get (and Keep!) Your Closet Organized in 5 Steps

You can’t dress for success if you can’t find the dress (or shirt, or slacks). Take time to organize that empty new closet with an organizing pro’s foolproof strategies.
1. Get focused.
Keepsake items — your wedding dress, for example — should not find a home in your closet, nor should craft supplies or photo albums. “Evict anything that doesn’t have to do with getting dressed from day to day,” says Mindy Godding, a certified professional organizer with Abundance Organizing, in Virginia.
2. Evaluate the closet.
Maximize every square inch of space. “If you look in the closet and see bare wall, you can do more in terms of storage,” says Godding. If the closet contains just a single rod, consider adding a second one beneath it, or multiply your hanging space with a rod doubler that hooks onto the existing bar. If you’re a shoe lover or T-shirt hound, think about installing shelves, melamine boxes or racks to contain your collections. Or completely trick out the space with a modular floor or wall system; they fit various closet sizes and allow you to pick only the components you need.
3. Develop a plan of attack …
Think of your wardrobe in terms of clothing categories and seasons. Start by grouping like clothing together, placing pants with pants, dresses with dresses, etc. Then, within those groups, organize everything by season, separating long sleeves, short sleeves and so forth. Next, group items together by length. When you hang longer garments, push them as far back against the wall as possible to free up space underneath shorter clothes for more storage.
4. … Then stick to it.
Commit to transitioning your clothes at the end of each season. “This might be as simple as moving clothes from front and back,” Godding says. “You want the current season in the most accessible location. This gives you the opportunity to let go of things you didn’t wear, and freshen things up by moving current items forward and other items back.”
5. Get the goods.
Invest in items that keep your closet organized and looking sharp. Start with sturdy wood hangers for pants, jackets and structured shirts, and purchase slim, velvet-swathed hangers for delicate blouses. Bins are ideal for storing special-occasion or seasonal clothes and accessories; stackable clear shoeboxes in the same size and shape work nicely, too. And clear, over-the-door shoe pocket organizers go far beyond shoes, Godding says; use them for stashing belts, scarves and large jewelry.

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