LISA LELAS: Take control of your closet

We all have some tendency to accumulate things. It doesn’t matter what kind of things, whether papers, photos, books, magazines or clothes - it’s when that accumulation turns from helping you out to stressing you out that the reorganization of living and storage space becomes a top priority.

Closets are a major issue. Organizing your clothes closet can be a daunting challenge, but most would agree it’s a project well worth any frustration. An organized closet will help you assess and better utilize your wardrobe. You should be able to see and reach for things without having an avalanche fall on you. Organized closet space is almost like adding additional floor space to your home. The more that fits properly into the closet, the less you’ll need dressers, bureaus and other furniture in the room.

Ideally, you should clean out and organize your clothes closets twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring, to accommodate the seasonal clothing changeover, but mid winter can also be an ideal time to start clearing, sorting and organizing your closet, since most of tend to hibernate indoors more often. Might as well make good use of a snow day!

Begin by emptying the closet completely. Create separate piles for those items you can dump or donate. The idea is to cull as much as you can. Be ruthless. If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it. If you haven’t worn it in the past year, toss it.

Reorganize by category, length of clothes, necessity and convenience. Separate work clothes from play clothes, and consider organizing by color hues, from light to dark.

Upgrade to all matching wooden hangers if you can. Nothing makes a closet look more streamlined than having all the shoulders of your garments perfectly aligned across the clothing rod. The thickness of wooden hangers will also help prevent cramming in clothes that there might not be ample room for. If you are not a clothes hoarder, then you can also consider the thinner, fleeced hangers.

Stand back and carefully study the layout of your closet. Consider whether your closet is structurally functional. Are there enough shelves and hanging space for all your clothes and accessories? Do you need additional storage space? Is there enough room to store your shoes, belts, scarves, maybe even your jewelry?

If you decide your closet needs more of a professional overhaul, getting a free estimate from a closet contractor might be right for you. They can provide you with a sketch design and share trending ideas that might make sense for storing your things. Whether you just need additional shelves installed or you want all the bells and whistles, such as tie racks, valet hooks, velvet jewelry drawer inserts, and more, it might be a good investment for you. When you organize your closet, it’s a step toward simplifying your life!

De-cluttering your stuff is the first step to a new organized closet space. Most people keep way more than they will ever wear. It’s the old 20/80 rule: we wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time. Time to purge!

Lisa Lelas is a lifestyle and business productivity consultant, bestselling author and keynote speaker.

Connecticut Media Group