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Kick the clutter with a well-planned closet


Scripps Howard News Service

It seems like we never have enough closet space, and it seems the little space we have in our closets is crammed and unorganized. Let's see how we can fix that.

Start by removing the clothes from the rods and all the stuff that is on the shelves and floors. In other words, start by emptying the closet. Place the items you've taken out into groups of similar items, such as slacks in one pile, shirts in another, skirts in another and so on.

Further that organization by categorizing each group into colors; all the tan tops together, all the blue tops together and so on. While you are sorting through and organizing all these items, get rid of things you haven't used in a long while. If you just can't part with some things but really don't have use for them, put them in a box and store them in the attic or someplace other than your closet. This way you still have your treasures, but those treasures won't be taking up needed space in the closet. Items you can part with should go to charity.

Measure the space available in the closet (length, width, depth). Now estimate how much room you will need for each of the groups of clothing, shoes, bags, etc. Draw a simple template onto paper with the size of the closet. Create "blocks" in the closet template, sort of like building blocks, and figure out what to put where. Tops and shorts can go one over the other on rods. If you don't mind hanging slacks by draping them over a hanger, then slacks can also go on a rod under the tops. Blocks for shoes and handbags should be drawn in, also. There will need to be an area for longer-hanging items such as dresses and, if you prefer, hanging pants the long way. In your drawing, be sure to provide a high shelf for hats - or, if no hats, then luggage or large handbags.

Provide a space on a wall in the closet to hang belts and necklaces. If you have space in the closet for drawers, install them for underwear, PJs, socks and jewelry. T-shirts can go on shelves or in drawers, whichever you prefer. If there is no space for drawers in the closet, then store these things in the bedroom in the dresser drawers.

Hooks in the closet serve good purposes. Robes are one example of what the hooks can be used for.

Of course the size of some closets just won't meet your needs no matter how much you work at it, but hopefully these ideas will help somewhat. Remember to group things into categories and colors and get rid of items you don't use or don't need.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, is author of "Mystery of Color."