Tackling the mess

Really, I'm anal. I swear. But my closet does not demonstrate that. The bottom of it is a mess of shoes, swim goggles, purses, and clothes to be hand washed. That is, until last night.

Okay, so it doesn't look like one of those ads where all the wooden hangers are equally spaced with all colour-coordinated clothing hanging freshly pressed and sweaters folded exactly alike. I always think it is a good idea to have the shoe box with the polaroid taped to the end so I know what's inside, but the boxes would take up way too much room (I have a lot of shoes) and I don't have enough shelves to keep them neat. I'll admit, it is my dream to have that. But let's get real folks. We all don't live in an ad.

The difference between real people and those ads:
1. We have more than 5 shirts.
2. We iron just before we wear the shirt, not as we put it away.
3. We don't put family photos, lights, or coffee table books in our closets.
4. Most of us have attemped organization, but it involved plastic or wire shelving units from Ikea or the hardware store.
5. We hardly have enough time to clean our bathrooms, let alone our closets.

I am only partway through my clean up, there are still some storage things I would like to get to help keep it neat. Like these great sweater organizers and more of these fabulous boxes to keep the shelves and the bottom of the closet neat.

Here are a few tips for clearing out and cleaning up that closet.

1. Take everything out. And as you do it do an initial sort into garbage - recycle - give away - launder - keep.
2. Grab the vacuum and clean all shelves.
3. Take everything you said you would keep and go through it again - looking for repairs needed or style upgrades required.
4. Sort your keep stuff by season and type of clothing.
5. When rehanging things put the hangers all the same way. Even if you don't have fancy hangers this will go a long way towards having it all look neat.
6. Place the items you use the most in the center of the closet. Shoes, coats, and dresses can be placed on the outer edges. (I wear skirts, pants, and blouses mostly).
7. Reduce the need to clean as often (who likes dusting their shoes?) by storing things in covered, paper or fabric boxes. Things can get musty in plastic or rubber.
8. Be ruthless. Okay, so I kept the saddle shoes I bought for fun back in university, but I am giving away 10 other pairs that I never wear anymore (clunky heels, square toes, bulky boots).
9. Don't be afraid to make it as pretty as you want. No one will laugh at you if you organize your clothes by colour. The truth is, we're probably jealous.

I will post a picture when I finish, but for now I want more boxes and I never got around to refolding my sweaters. But I can tell you that my efforts took less an hour and I felt calmer with every passing minute. And it was sure easy getting dressed in the dark this morning - I even match.