Anya Sarre

Survive closet clean-out craziness

An organized closet means always being able to find what you need. Easier said than done. Attempting to clean out anyone’s closet can be so overwhelming that you put it off for years.

Cleaning out your closet doesn't have to be stressful — you just have to know where to start. Here are some simple ways to get organized and tips for knowing what to keep and what to toss.

Change your hangers, change your life


slim velvet hangers that you can buy at Bed, Bath, and Beyond

When your hangers are all the exact same, your closet will look like a boutique. I am a fan of the slim hangers that you can buy at Bed Bath and Beyond. If you want to get super crazy, you can color coordinate the hangers for each section in your closet (sweaters are pink, pants are black, blouses are blue, etc.). Try to avoid double hanging items — each garment should have its own hanger.


You can even hang your belts and scarves. Get extra-large safety pins and attach them to the bottom of a velvet pants hanger. This will look very organized and you’ll be able to see everything you have!


If you’re attempting to organize your man’s closet, I like a dark wood slim hanger for the guys. Be sure to get separate shirt and pants hangers because no shirt should ever be clipped on a pants hanger.

Garbage bags are your best friend


Start this daunting task of closet clean-out craziness by arming yourself with the biggest, sturdiest size garbage bag you can find. I like the outdoor garden leaf bags because they are bigger than normal. Grab a Post-it, Sharpie and a safety pin, and label each bag “keep,” “donate,” “sell,” “alter” and “toss.” Every single item in your closet falls into one of these categories and the rule is, if you haven’t worn an item in a year, you’re not going to. It’s just plain fact!


I like to use something called “the reach test,” which is to ask yourself if you reach for this first. If the answer is no, you’re probably not going to reach for it tomorrow, or the next day, or in three months.


Don’t keep something in your closet just because it has sentimental value to you. You’ll wind up with a closet full of stuff you’ll never wear. If it’s that important to you, store it in a keepsake box under your bed or take a picture of it for your photo book and then toss it!

If you don't have drawer organizers, you need some


Linen Drawer Organizers from the Container Store

A drawer without an organizer is just a big pile of socks, underwear or accessories. I like the Linen Drawer Organizers from the Container Store. But for anything that can be hung, hang it rather than folding it.


Your sweaters should all be hung — they just need to be hung properly. Fold them in half and drape them over the bottom of your velvet pants hanger. This is better for the sweater.

Shoes, shoes, shoes


Shoes are always the wild card that usually end up in a pile on the floor. If you have the room for a hanging shoe organizer or a back-of-the-door shoe organizer, get one! But if you have overflow, a simple solution is to rubber band your shoes or put them in extra-large Ziploc bags so they stay in pairs, and neatly store them in a wicker basket or laundry bin.


The most important thing is that all your shoes are in the same spot and that you really evaluate which shoes you’re going to wear and which shoes you’re holding on to because you think one day you’ll wear them. Likewise, if they are shoes that are so worn out that the soles are gone or you can see your feet, it’s time to let go.


If you want to simplify your shoe life, keep only these basics: a flip flop, a flat, a wedge, a going out heel, a work heel and a special occasion heel, a boot and a sneaker. Anything above that is just extra. So if you’ve got the room, keep them. If not, go back to the basics!

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Comments on "Anya says: An organized closet means..."

Amy December 29, 2012 | 1:59 PM

To keep my closet organized, I group everything by category - nice sweaters, sweatshirts, hoodies, tanks, etc. If I'm feeling really crazy, I'll color-code all my categories.

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