Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to de-stress and de-clutter, but it’s often easier said than done. I got a very necessary crash-course in organization and the life-changing experience taught me five crucial steps that everyone can execute if you want to finally eliminate clutter for good.
We all have a junk drawer or closet, but what do you do when that “junk” space becomes a whole room? Therein was the problem, at least for me. I’ve never been very good at cleaning out my closet, and when I moved into an apartment without a closet in my bedroom, the second bedroom slowly but surely went from a storage space to a complete mess, (much to my husband’s horror). I didn’t think it was possible to find a solution that would meet my personal needs and my budget, but I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered ClosetMaid.
After doing extensive research I discovered that you can actually transform your space with a customizable system without the insane price tag. Whether you live in a dorm room, studio apartment, one-bedroom apartment, small home or mansion, you can easily find a solution that works for you, whether it be a shelving unit for your shoes or soft bins to store your athleisure products in. The best part? The entire process was a great DIY task — and if I could do it, you can, too.
We decided on the ClosetMaid SpaceCreations in Classic White and we transformed the second bedroom of our apartment into a walk-in closet. The coolest part was that we were able to select the shelves and racks based on what space we needed most and then we were able to put it all together ourselves. While we transformed a whole room into a closet, the valuable tips I learned can easily be applied to any size space. Once I planned out what I needed and put the product together, Barbara Reich of Resourceful Consultants and author of Secrets of an Organized Mom came over and offered up a crash-course in organization. “It really doesn’t matter how big or small your space is,” Barbara said.
Step One: Begin The Purge & Set Aside Enough Time In Your Calendar
No, we didn’t sit around and binge on the movie series with the same title. Instead, Barbara helped me sort out all of my clothing. My items were all thrown about in random piles so I honestly wasn’t even sure what I had — and once I was able to sort the items, it was so much easier to let things go, whether it be tattered items that were past their prime or pieces I was ready to donate. “You don’t want to make space for items you don’t want or you don’t need,” Barbara taught me. “When you don’t have places to put things it does feel very daunting.” The key to this first step? Making sure you set aside the time, mark it off on your calendar, and realistically dedicate 2-3 hours to organizing your wardrobe, the same way you would set the time aside for brunch or a meeting. Not very good at parting with your clothes? Invite over a friend that won’t enable you!
Step Two: Invest In The Same Type Of Hangers & Learn How To Properly Fold Clothes
Next, I threw out all of my hangers! (No, I’m not kidding). Before Barbara even entered my apartment she stressed the importance of using the same type of hanger — I was honestly perplexed and thought: “Wait, you mean all velvet hangers aren’t the same?” Even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I swiftly ordered all of the same hangers. Yes, I know hangers can add up in price but trust me this was life changing. You know how items seem to hide behind one another or get lost in your closet? If all of your items are hanging at the same height on the same hanger, this will never happen again.
Okay, does anyone actually enjoy folding? Even though I’m a total reformed folder, I would be lying if I said it brought me joy. I envy people who clean when they’re stressed — I prefer retail therapy, (but that’s partially how I got myself into this mess in the first place, isn’t it?). Even though the buzz of the dryer doesn’t seem to trigger any of my endorphins, taking an extra 10 minutes to properly fold the clothing has also been an amazing learning experience. I completely underestimated the fact that folding actually keeps your clothes crisp and unwrinkled. I was fortunate enough to have Barbara to coach me through this process, but a quick search on YouTube can also help. Once everything is properly grouped together by color and category, you can actually see what you have. “It makes it a lot easier to find things and a lot easier to get dressed,” Barbara said.
Step Three: Staying Organized Requires 2-3 Minutes Of Maintenance A Day & Prior Preparation:
If you label things not only do they have a better chance of staying in the correct space, but Barbara taught me that it truly only takes 2-3 minutes a day to straighten up — that means if you try something on, hang it right up. I would be lying if I said I do this every single time I try something on, (I am still me, after all), but now I do set aside time to catch up every other day. Want to eliminate this step altogether? Prior preparation does pay off: laying out your outfit the night before will eliminate a last-minute mess. Spending some time each and every day straightening up is the best way to ensure your mess never gets out of control — and if I can do this, anyone can! “But I don’t have any time” isn’t a viable excuse — it isn’t a question of whether or not the time exists, it’s prioritizing the task at hand.
Step Four: Create Personal Guidelines Before You Bring In ANY New Clothes — And Stick To Them:
In Barbara’s house, there’s only a certain amount of hangers in each closet — and once they’re full, you need to part with something before you bring in something new. The one-in-one-out rule will ensure that you don’t become bombarded ever again. This is obviously easier said than done, but now that I can see everything I own I haven’t been so quick to run out in a hurry to scoop up a new pair of tights or leggings because I know I don’t actually need them.
Step Five: Allow Your Accessories To Become Part Of Your Design Aesthetic:
Don’t underestimate the power of bins and trays. Store off-season items you don’t use or need all the time in bins, like the ClosetMaid cloth cubeicals fabric drawers. You can stack bins on the bottom or the top shelf in a closet you already have in your apartment. “A tray is the greatest organizing tool ever,” Barbara said, explaining that it allows you to display accessories and gives them a purpose in the overall design aesthetic. A stack of bracelets can even look like a piece of your apartment decor — and this tool is especially helpful for anyone in a dorm or studio apartment. The bins are also an affordable organizational tool that can serve as the first part of the organization process.
For me, the first step was admitting my dirty little secret and going forward with these valuable tools for keeping my space clean for good. Carve out some time this weekend to clean and try to eliminate that pesky junk drawer before it becomes impossible to manage.