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Kicking the Clutter: How to organize your closet

The number one question people ask is: where do I start decluttering?

You can’t organize if you don’t downsize. This is the number one rule of organizing. It doesn’t matter if you organize one kitchen drawer, bathroom, or closet, downsizing is recommended.

The number one question people ask is: where do I start decluttering?

To find out what you have in your closet, you have to pull everything out. You will probably have many jackets, pants, sweaters, shoes, scarves, purses and skirts, et cetera. Sort everything into piles. I use a portable table to sort the items my clients have.

I encourage people to have only three categories of items to sort: keep, donate or sell. More than three is overwhelming and time consuming.

For easy recognition, label the boxes. Also, make sure you have plenty of garbage bags and/or recycling bins for things that are stained, rusty and ripped.

Assess the clothes you like to wear

Use the 20/80 rule as a measurement. We only wear 20 per cent of our clothes, 80 per cent of the time. Ask yourself, which items do you find yourself wearing often and why? Is it because you feel comfortable wearing them, you like the style, or the way it makes you feel?

Not ready to part with your clothes?

If you have clothes you just cannot part with, put them in the box or container and out of sight. Make sure to label the contents. Give yourself three months to see if you miss them. If you completely forget about the items, get rid of them.

Is it worth fixing and keeping?

If you have a pile of clothes you’re hoping to fix one day, give yourself a month; if not fixed in that time, let them go. The same goes for missing socks, stained clothes, shoes that need new heels and purses with broken zippers. Schedule the time to do the fix, or donate or trash them accordingly.

Organizing your clothes

Now is the time to organize your selected clothing. Some people like to organize by colour, and some prefer assembling outfits, ready to wear. For example, black pants with a red sweater, or a brown skirt with a yellow blouse.

Whichever way you choose, make sure it works for you. Just remember the fewer items you have, the easier it is to stay organized and keep it that way.

Closet organizing tools

Splurge a little. Buy a few new hangers. Wooden ones are preferred, or sturdy plastic is okay, too. Buy canvas storage containers to store your sweaters or out-of-season clothes. A shoe rack is recommended to keep footweat tidy and off the floor.

Maintain your organized closet

One in one out, that is the rule. This especially applies if you are buying clothes more than once per year. Always have a donation box in your closet to make it easier to purge unwanted items.

Just remember, organizing is a journey, not a destination. I wish you the best of luck, keeping your home functional and free of clutter.

Ranka Burzan owns a professional organizing company based in Powell River and has written several books on reducing clutter and becoming more organized. For information, go to