by Marilyn Wetston

Spring is a time for cleaning and organzing. For some of us it is a time to move homes and downsize. This creates issues around closet space and storage. Recently Peter expressed this problem.

Dear Marilyn:
We have sold our home and are moving June 15 into a condo. Both my wife and myself have accumulated clothes for years. In our new home we don’t have a spare bedroom to use as a closet. We need to eliminate the excess, yet it is difficult for my wife to toss her prom dress, wedding dress etc. and I definitely want to keep my size 32 jeans (my waist is now 40)
Is there a way we can organize our respective wardrobes?
Dear Peter;
The simple answer is ‘yes, but’ – and there is a ‘but’. Sorting out your clothes, eliminating items and organizing a wardrobe is definite work. For years I have taught people to do this twice a year, once for Spring/Summer and once for Fall/Winter. Since you have not done this you are faced with a big job. The positive part is that once you do the big chore, keeping your wardrobe in order will be easier. Moving will be less cumbersome, and the needy will benefit form your charitable donations.

Here is a step by step method to clean your closet.

First, sort all the clothes you wear from all the clothes you never wear. I will go on the assumption that the clothes that you wear fit you physically, flatter you and are in good repair.

Next, examine the clothes that you never wear. If they are souvenirs and momentos of landmark occasions, put them aside to be stored and retrieved when you want to reminisce.

Next, examine the clothes you never wear and decide if there are items in this pile that you’d love to wear “if only”. If it is simply a matter of co-ordination to make something work put it to the side. If an item needs minor repair, for example a zipper or hem, place it in the “need work pile”. Keep in mind some adjustments are so expensive they may cost almost as much as a new item and will not be worth doing. Once you have completed the sort you should be left with all the clothes that you love to wear, the items that need minor work (sewing or cleaning etc) and the total elimination pile. This pile will either be for donating or tossing depending on the condition. If you like immediate gratification Peter, immediately drop off your donations and you will have more space and less “stuff” to move. Then drop off the cleaning and alterations. Your souvenirs and momentos can be boxed with cedar chips and stored easily and your “working wardrobe” can be hung into your closet and ready to move.

A couple of space saving tips you will find useful are as follows. Keep garments where they are most accessible. For example,

•robe, nightshirts etc. on a hook on your bathroom door.
•outerwear hung where you enter and exit.
•utilize space under your bed for storage.
•be creative and hang belts, scarves, necklaces on your closet door and on any little wall spaces in your closet. You will use what you can see and is easily accessible.

I have written a closet organizer instruction sheet. You are welcome to drop by my store or send a self-addressed stamped envelope and I will gladly reply. Good luck with your move and your new home.