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"Woman's Day Magazine"
"Unclutter Your Closet" by Mervyn Kaufman
Making the Most of Available Space

Whether yours is a wall closet or walk-in, and whether it's shared space or your own, you can reconfigure it to better suit your needs. Some people arrange their clothing by color, others by function. It doesn't matter how you organize, only that you do.

  • If your closet has a solid door that swings open, use it for over-the-door storage accessories. Add dowels or inexpensive towel racks to hold scarves and neckties.
  • Use stick-on or screw-in hooks for your bathrobe and towels.
  • By raising the closet rod from 5 to 6 feet, which may also require raising a shelf, you can double-hang some clothing: suits or shirts on one rod, pants, or blouses on the rod below it.
  • If you store shoes in their original boxes, label the exposed end or attach a photo. Or invest in transparent plastic shoe-bins. Your shoes will stay dry and dust-free.
  • Zip sweaters into transparent plastic pouches. Or, stack them on open shelves, maintaining order by using vinyl- or epoxy-coated steel dividers.

Space-Saving Accessories
In addition to hooks, over-the-door storage, and transparent shoe and sweater holders, try these closet storage aids, which are available at most houseware stores.

  • Canvas or plastic storage units suspended from hanger-style hooks can hold folded blouses, shirts, or sweaters. Some units are designed to store shoes.
  • Wire baskets on racks or shelves are great for folded garments you want to see.
  • Hanger units designed to hold multiple pairs of pants use vertical instead of horizontal space.
  • Clear, zippered plastic bags help keep folded out-of-season clothing neatly stacked but easy to see.
  • Hat racks can be mounted horizontally or vertically, depending on the space and how you want to access your gear.

Storage Tips
The best way to manage clutter is to reduce it. Pare down the contents of your closet by finding other places to stow your stuff - the attic, on a shelf in the guest room, or under a bed. Wherever you store, here are some ways to do it better:

  • Launder or dry-clean whatever you plan to pack away - sweat and food stains can attract moths. Plus, your clothing will be clean and ready-to-wear when it's time to bring them out of storage.
  • Whether you're storing shirts, blouses, or sweaters, fold them neatly; tuck tissue paper into shoulder and collar areas to hold the shape. If you plan to store suits or jackets, use plastic covers from your dry cleaner instead of tissue paper to soften the creases of folded garments.
  • Put mothballs or cedar chips into each storage container (both discourage moths ut nothing is sure to work.)
  • Store seasonal items in zippered bags, plastic containers, or sheets of plastic taped tightly to create a good seal.

Do's and Don'ts

  • Do organize your closet so that belts, neckties, scarves, handbags, shoes, and sweaters are accessible.
  • Don't stash sports gear and luggage with your wardrobe. Limit closet contents to clothing.
  • Don't place anything on the floor in a far corner or at the back of a shelf. It's the same as giving it away; you'll never see it.
  • Do ease your closet crunch by expanding your dresser space. Tuck a small chest or trunk under a window or even at the foot of your bed for storing things like scarves, shawls, T-shirts, and gloves.

Getting Started

  • Take stock; remove everything, sorting as you go.
  • Arrange closet contents in separate piles: his, hers, hats, suits, jackets, dresses, blouses, shoes - every category that applies.
  • Examine each item. If it's something you haven't worn in the last two years, consider giving it away. (Always be sure to check the pockets.)
  • Weed out seasonal gear and anything else.