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Simple steps to a closet makeover

Julie Bielenberg is a Denver-based writer who served as managing editor for a regional home and lifestyle publication before starting Tweeter Communications, her editorial services boutique. With a BA in journalism from the University of...

Get organized!

Closets might be one of the most visited spots in your home. Most people have the same complaint: Not enough room. De-cluttering your closet is critical in making the most of the room you have and maintaining a neat atmosphere.

First step

To start weeding out unnecessary items in your closet, ask yourself the following:

Have you worn that article of clothing in the past year?

Will that outfit ever fit you again?

Will that outfit ever come back into style?

Will you wear that stained shirt or pants?

Do you feel good in that outfit? Does it suit your body style?

If you answered "no" to the questions above, toss the item. Here are the most common reasons the clothing needs to go:

  • You've made it through all four seasons in the past year and did not wear it; it's a safe bet you are not going to wear it next season.
  • With age come body changes. Even if your weight hasn't changed, your hips might have become more defined and that pair of skinny jeans won't fit over your hips no matter how much weight you lose.
  • Sure, leg warmers came back in style along with spandex under skirts, but florescent pink t-shirts and pleated skirts are still out.
  • Does wearing stained clothing make you feel good? How many "painting" shirts do you need?
  • Does an off-the-shoulder ripped sweatshirt look good at a PTA meeting? Does a really short skirt mesh with your office's dress code?

Now that you've realized you can cut back on the clutter, follow these eight steps to creating a well-organized closet.

Bag or box it

If you simply cannot part with clothes that you haven't worn in some time, purchase a large Tupperware or vacuum-seal bag to store them. Neatly stack the boxes or bags at the bottom or top of your closet or in a basement or storage room.

Store it away

Arrange your closet seasonally. Though your five wool sweaters add color and class to your closet, it's highly unlikely you're going to be wearing them in the scorching months of summer so go ahead and store them away.

Is it a pair?

Shoes mate for life. If you haven't seen the mate to that shoe in years, get rid of the stag shoe.

Get organized

Purchase a shoe rack, or create a system that easily displays items. Some women even buy small, clear plastic boxes and label the outside of the box for easy storage.

Keep it clean

Keep a laundry hamper or basket as well as a dry cleaning bag in your closet for easy placement of dirty clothes. Better here than on your bedroom floor.

Have a system

Organizational systems such as the Elfa System or Yaffa Blocks help you keep items in their places and within view.

Hang it up

Hangers! You've got to have the right ones. Children's-sized hangers work great for pants, clip hangers can hold multiple skirts, and padded hangers are perfect for dresses.

closet people

Check your local yellow pages for the numerous companies that will come to your home and create a system for your closet that will help you stay organized. These companies use everything from wooden shelves to wire racks to additional rods. Some of these services can be costly, but they're well worth it.

Remember, if you can't see it, you probably aren't going to wear it. Keep the system simple and streamlined, and your closet makeover will keep you more organized and better able to find things you need.

More organization tips:

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