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Organize your life – or just your closet

By Linda Rothschild, New York Organizational Guru and Founder of Cross It Off Your List.

I met Linda after she did a total overhaul of my publicist, Desiree’s, closets. Linda’s demanding, high-profile clients love her rigorous sense of order. Here’s her advice on how to organize your wardrobe, and just about everything else.

The purpose of organizing your closet – or any room in your house – should be to arrange it so you can get to things effortlessly and quickly. Many people just keep buying the same articles of clothing because they forget they already own them, or have no idea where they are. Out of sight, out of mind. Organizing is something you should do all the time. You can do one big purge yearly, if not seasonally, but it is not simply about getting rid of things – it’s about having access to what you want and storing everything so you can find it.

  1. STAND IN YOUR CLOSET AND REMOVE EVERYTHING, ONE ITEM AT A TIME.

    As you touch each piece of clothing, ask yourself some really honest questions: Do I wear this? Do I really love it? Does it irritate my skin every time I put it on? Do these shoes hurt my feet so much I will never wear them again? Have I stopped wearing this, yet can’t get rid of it because I blew an entire paycheck on it? Just let it go. Sort into piles for keeping, donating, repairing, or tossing.

  2. THINK INSIDE THE BOX.

    I don’t strictly adhere to the if-you-haven’t-worn-it-in-a-year-then-toss-it rule. Some things are classic or vintage and can be held on to for a time. It’s what I call “personal recycling.” Box and label, then store in an out-of-the-way place – on a shelf in the closet, or in the attic.

  3. MAXIMIZE SPACE.

    Now that everything is out of the closet, figure out how to put it all back in an organized way. Start with the hanging clothes, and organize by type – tops, skirts, pants, jackets, suits. Hang long things with long, short with short. For extra points, organize by color. Figure out what kinds of containers you need to store what you’re keeping. Exploit upper and lower spaces: The shelf above the rod is good for stuff you use less often. Use the space underneath your short hanging clothes for show boxes or drawers.

  4. BUY GOOD-QUALITY HANGERS:

    Wood or plastic, they’re not that expensive; they affect how your clothes hang in the closet and, therefore, how they look on you.

  5. LOSE THE DRY-CLEANING BAGS.

    They’re bad for fabric because they don’t breathe or allow they dry-cleaning chemicals to air out. Plus, when you look into your closet and see the sea of plastic, you often miss what’s hiding underneath. For infrequently used items, store in canvas bags instead.

  6. GET A FRIEND – ONE YOU TRUST TO BE HONEST – TO HELP YOU EDIT YOUR STUFF

    . It’s pointless unless she feels comfortable saying, “That’s hideous. Throw it out.”

  7. FIND A WORTHY PLACE FOR DONATIONS.

    If you’re struggling to get rid of things you’ll never wear again, think about someone who needs them more than you do – could be a friend or your local thrift shop or homeless shelter. Designer duds can go to a resale shop. You may even get a tax deduction.