Erica Kalkofen – Get rid of closet gnomes
January 7, 2010
Hate getting ready in the morning because the closet gnome has once again moved your favorite jeans? Clearing out your closet may help alleviate that stress. Here are seven steps to finding closet nirvana.
• The first step is always the hardest: Try on everything in your closet. If it doesn’t fit, put it in the discard pile. If it is the wrong color, wrong style, something you haven’t worn in a year, will never wear, or only keep because your significant other gave it to you – put it in the discard pile. The goal is to make a huge pile. Place all the items to toss in another room. You’ll be surprised at the results. PJs, towels, belts, shoes and accessories should be included in this “try-on” phase.
• Remove the rest of the items from the closet – shoes, luggage, linens, skis, poles, boots, snowshoes, hats and anything else that doesn’t belong. Sort and continue discarding items as you empty the space. Clean the closet interior and evaluate your storage needs. A design professional can help here, if you are unsure what to do.
• Add additional shelves, rods, and storage units as needed. Great closet organization systems can be relatively inexpensive, or get creative and build your own. Everything from wire shelving to melamine storage to custom cabinetry can be used, depending on how intricate you’d like to get and how much you want to spend. Get creative with the space – even though a rod and shelf are there, consider using shelving or double hung clothes rods for better organization.
• Sort your clothing and accessories when putting them back. Shoes and accessories should have their own space, and luggage and linens should be assigned an area. Whether you choose to store your clothes by garment, by color, by sleeve length, by occasion, or by any other system, sort it so you can imagine your closet in your head. The stress of getting ready in the morning will disappear because you won’t have to search for your favorite jeans. Just the thought of opening the closet door and finding what you need will be refreshing.
• Give away the huge pile of clothes you discarded from the “try-on” phase. Not only will resell shops take the clothes, but also consider giving to local charities to help families in need. You can get a tax deduction and feel good about helping others. You also get the bonus of having a clean closet.
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• One final rule: For every new item that goes in, discard an equal item. For instance if you get a new shirt, discard at least one shirt. Your closet will stay in check and the giving cycle will stay fresh.
• Celebrate your success. Show off your new closet to your friends. Enjoy getting ready in the morning. Go clothes shopping to replace needed items. Best of all – the closet gnome will disappear and you will have closet nirvana.
– Erica Kalkofen is president of Erica Kalkofen Designs in Winter Park and a board member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association.