If you have reached the point where you want to actively deal with whatever lurks in your closets, Jessica Waters of In Perfect Order (inperfectorder.com) has some suggestions. Waters has run her organizing business nationwide for more than 12 years and has offices in western Massachusetts and Los Angeles.
In regard to organizing systems, Waters said that it tends to work better for most people if they install custom shelves and drawers, as opposed to wire and plastic organizing systems. "They (premade organizing systems) are hard to manipulate. They get very dirty and are hard to clean. I really don't care for them," said Waters. "If you are handy, build your own customized system, or if you can afford it, hire a contractor."
Waters said that many of her clients have found creating organizational systems in their closets often changes their lives.
"You can find your clothes faster; you will be able to put together outfits you may never have thought of before. You'll save an amazing amount of time," said Waters. "Invest in a system and build something simple. It will affect your life right away."
Waters said that one fast, simple solution to some of your closet organizing needs is to "throw out all your hangers and get all of the same kind. Just that alone would make a gigantic difference in appearance.
"The first thing you need to do is enlist the help of a good friend. The hardest part of closet organizing is deciding what to keep and what to throw away," said Waters. The next step is to make sure you have plenty of large, heavy-duty trash bags. Waters said that the average closet takes five to seven hours to clean and organize.
"Take everything out, I don't care how stuffed it (the closet) is," said Waters. "Then, make the commitment to not put anything back into the closet that you don't absolutely love. Then put everything you're keeping on good hangers."
Waters noted that what we keep in our closets can also have a regional element. "Having 50 pairs of shoes is not something you see a lot of in New England. But in L.A., having 50 pairs of shoes is pretty common," she said. Waters said that she tries to get her Los Angeles clients to whittle the number of shoes they keep to 15 pairs, for example.
Waters recommends sorting your clothing into seasons and storing off-season clothes elsewhere in clear plastic bins.
Once an organizational system is in place, Waters suggests having clothing arranged at eye level, sorted by tops and bottoms, sleeve lengths, colors and activity. "I know it sounds anal, but it really isn't. It's just a system that makes sense for most people," said Waters.