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Home » Interiors-designing » Tidy-closets-060804
Spring cleaning
Three simple steps to tidy closets

Spring cleaning
Most people believe that straightening out your closets is a waste of time, given the typical juggling act of daily life; there are often other, more basic tasks that are likely to give you a much greater return on your time investment.

Feeling like an organisational failure because your clothes and shoes aren't colour coded and perfectly aligned is a complete waste of energy. With that said, however, there are times when you simply need a catalyst, a major "event" that will help you get over your organisational "hump" - sort of like a shot in the arm.
And in that case, almost nothing can come close to the instant gratification that comes with tackling a closet that is bursting at the seams with stuff.


The 80 / 20 Rule
The 80 / 20 rule is certainly in effect when it comes to putting your closets in order. For example, people tend to wear 10 per cent to 20 per cent of their clothes 80 per cent of the time, which means the vast majority are just taking up space. There is probably a similar dynamic at work in your linen closets, shoe closets, toy closets, and/or those catch-all "stuff" closets. So the first step to a neater space is to identify which 20 per cent of things in the closet you use and which 80 per cent you rarely, if ever (be honest!) use.

The end goal
It's important to keep in mind that you're shooting for a more functional closet, not a "perfect" closet. Perfect doesn't stand the test of time because sooner or later real life gets in the way. Rather than worry about achieving an end state fit for a magazine photo shoot, think ahead to how the closet is most likely to get used each day, and set your expectations accordingly. If it's a mud closet for the whole family, the end goal should be a system that makes it easy for everybody to find or put away their things."

Three simple steps to tidy closets
Here is how to transform your closets from dumps to diamonds in no time.
  1. Sort it out
    The first step in the process, sorting, actually makes the biggest difference in taming the closet chaos. Take everything out and put it into one of three piles: Keep, Toss, and Recycle / Give Away. As you plow through the clutter, stay focused on that 80 / 20 rule - your 'Keep' pile should be 20 per cent of the items, and the other two piles should comprise the remaining 80 per cent. As a rule of thumb, if the item hasn't been used / worn in the past year, it should go in the Toss or Recycle / Give Away pile.

  2. Create a flexible framework
    Three things matter to people when it comes to storage and closets: being able to see what you're looking for, reaching things easily, finding out if there is more than one right way to put something away. Think about who will use the closet and how they will use the items in it. If some items need to be easily accessible to children, be sure to put them in a low spot. If linens are likely to be put away by different people, give each family member a shelf, and label it with a brief description of their bed linens.

  3. Get help
    As you put items back in the closet, especially communal ones, ask other family members to help you get the job done. The time investment they make is likely to pay dividends because they'll be more likely to maintain something that they helped clean up in the first place.

Rupila Sethi
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