Ok, now that I got your ATTENTION, LOL! This week's article will focus on a project that almost everyone thinks about yet puts off because the task can be somewhat overwhelming, can you guess what it is? ANSWER: Closet Organization (clothes, pantry and linen).
Now your response to this topic might be, "what's so difficult about that?" Well, here's a little test. Open the door to one of these locations and tell us if you would be proud or embarrassed by what we would see. If your proud then skip reading what I have to say. If embarrassed, then it's time to get out the trash bags and GET YOURSELF ORGANIZED!
Getting Started: The most important aspect of becoming organized is getting rid of the un-needed or outdated STUFF you have collected! For a closet, it's the items that you never wear anymore or worse yet, the left over Christmas gifts you’re too embarrassed to re-gift or even throw out. In the case of a kitchen pantry, you know you’re in trouble if the expiration dates on canned items are older than your youngest child. And in the bathroom linen closet, if when you open the door and you see stuff that should be placed elsewhere in your home... it's time for spring cleaning. So now that I have given you a reality check let's get started.
Closet Organization: Here are a few simple tricks to do once a year in order to help you have a fresh clean look.
- Purging- Begin by looking at each item in the closet and decide whether it's a PURGE or SAVE. My rule of thumb is, if you haven't worn or used the item in less than a year then it's time to donate to a local charity or goodwill center. By creating a purge pile you give yourself the instant gratification of making a dent in your organizational process.
- Merging- Once you have filtered out what you will keep, then take these items out of the closet and start to categorize. For clothes, separate all items "by lifestyle" (business , casual, evening or party). For shoes and accessories, do the same thing.
- Spot Cleaning- Now that you have an empty closet this is the perfect time to get out the vacuum and clean the carpet and baseboards which have a layer of dust you never thought was there. I also suggest you take a warm damp towel and wipe down all interior walls to rid yourself of dust mites that could also be lurking. NOTE: never store travel luggage in your closet.
- Categorizing- As you place back clothes, shoes and accessories make sure you keep them categorized by lifestyle (business, casual, evening or party). This will help you be more organized when getting ready for the day or evening. Another finishing touch is to separate items by COLOR within each lifestyle.
- Keeping It Fresh- Give your closet a tailored look by purchasing plastic or wood hangers. Using a consistent style hanger will keep you organized and looking sharp. And please... NO WIRE HANGERS! Also to give your closet a clean fresh smell, purchase products that will help keep dampness and odors in check from your local store. Damp Rid is a great product that keeps your closet smelling fresh and clean.
Pantry Organization- Use the same method above, yet do so on a two-to-three month cycle so as to have fresh goods on hand and outdated goods disposed of.
- Purging- Empty out the pantry and review expiration dates for current and or outdated freshness (my mother and sister-in-law clocked me on this one each time they came to visit...oops!).
- Merging- Group food items by category (canned goods, pasta's, rice products, oils, spices).
- Spot Cleaning- Take out the vacuum and clean floors and baseboards. Damp wipe interior walls with a little Spic and Span to help remove any odors spices or exposed food items may give off.
- Containerize- Using inexpensive plastic box containers or drawers (purchased at your local home improvement or discount store) to store food wraps, cookbooks and cleaning supplies thus helping to eliminate clutter.
Linen Closet- What's worse than having a guest to snoop in your linen closet while using the bathroom (yes, there are people that do that). To eliminate the unknown embarrassment, organize your linen closet as you would do your clothes closet.
- Purging- Grab a trash bag and start to toss those items you haven't used for sometime. Inspect sheets and towels that also haven't been used, or are torn or frayed and need to be replaced.
- Merging- Tri-fold towels to maximize space, and stack by color. Neatly fold sheets and pillowcases in order for them to be less wrinkled when in need for making your bed.
- Spot Cleaning- If you keep a used towel bin in your closet, be sure to sanitize the bin and wipe down interior walls to eliminate any bacteria or mold that may be caused by daily wetness.
- Containerize- Again, using inexpensive plastic box containers or drawers (purchased at your local home improvement or discount store) to store toothpaste, shampoo, medicines and cleaning supplies. This keeps everything organized, neat and hidden.
So there you have it... quick, simple and easy methods of keeping those hidden closet spaces looking fresh, new and inviting. You will be surprised at how enjoyable it will be to go in and out of the closet with a sense of organization you and your family will treasure.