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What’s in Your Closet?
by Jacquie Ross, Professional Organizer

Do you cringe when you open up your closet door? Are there still shopping tags on items, waiting for you to lose 5 or 10 pounds?  Maybe your closet is simply inefficient and only has one hanging bar with no shelves or a place for shoes?  Whatever the reason for the mess, dealing with a disorganized closet is not a smart way to begin your day.  If your closet is a mess, opening up your closet door in the morning can actually bring on undue stress.  It’s already late and now you need to wade through all those clothes, and of course you’re sure that you have nothing to wear anyway!

I recommend that you schedule at least 2 hours to go through everything in your closet.  It could take a lot more time if you have a lot of clothes. Consider the help of a friend or local professional organizer.  You’ll be able to get it done faster and you will have someone to be accountable to.

As you being the process, consider the season and transfer the items that you don’t need now to the back of your closet, or store them in another area of your home.  Go through what’s left and then ask yourself the following questions to help you to decide whether you should keep, donate or discard:

1. Have I worn it in the past two years?
If you haven’t worn it in two years, you probably won’t wear it again, so it should be donated.  If it is stained or torn, it should be discarded.

2. Do I love it?
Make a decision to only keep what you love.  Imagine having a closet full of items you love! Bring this thought with you when you go shopping and don’t fall victim to buying items just because they’re on sale. So if you don’t love it, don’t buy it!  For clothing you already own that you don’t love, have a clothing swap with friends or donate it. 

3. Does it still fit?
If it doesn’t fit, donate it.  No exceptions!  When you have reached your weight goal you will be so happy that you will want to go out and purchase something new!

4. Is it torn or stained?
If it’s torn or stained it needs to be discarded.  It’s that simple.

After you have gone through everything it’s time for the fun part – shopping!  You will most likely need to add additional storage to your closet. Consider your budget and decide whether you can afford a custom fitted closet.  If not, today’s local home improvement store has a couple of different systems available that you can install yourself.  You could also hire a local handyman to install it for you.  If you have less than $100 to spend you can choose  from a myriad of inexpensive and unique closet organizing products available in your local discount store or online, such as hanging sweater and shoe shelves, shelf dividers, baskets, over the door shoe organizers, shoe racks and more. 

A Place for Everything
Once you have purchased the necessary organizing tools, decide where you will store your sweaters, tops, dresses, pants, scarves, hats and handbags and make the effort to always return the items to their homes.

I recommend that you take a before and after picture.  You will be so proud of what you have accomplished and will not want to mess it up again!

Jacquie Ross is a Maryland based Professional Organizer, owner of CastAway the Clutter! and writes organizing articles online.  Jacquie is the author of Take Control of Your Clutter Before it Takes Control of You: 101 Tips to Success. You can learn more about her at

Copyright 2007 by Jacquie Ross.  All Rights Reserved.
Publishers can contact Jacquie at if they would like to use any of her articles.
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