Tips for Getting Organized

Tips for Getting Organized

What is it about the new year that makes us all feel the need to purge and organize?  

Is it because we received more gifts than we really need?  Or because everything just feels messy and disorganized after all of the holiday decorations are put away?

Whatever the reason, the organizing bug always hits me hard this time of year and I start cleaning and organizing like nobody’s business.  So, today, I’m offering some tips for getting organized that can be used in closets both large and small. 

My big offender is my master closet.  It’s large, but it’s a catch-all because we lack storage in our house.  If we don’t know what to do with it, it will likely end up in our master closet.  It’s easy for it to get out of control and stuffed with odds and ends with no permanent home.  
After one afternoon, I got it under control and functioning better than ever.
Whenever I organize, I try to keep a few simple things in mind.  

1.  Edit

First and foremost, you must purge!  As a general rule of thumb, if you  haven’t worn it or used it in a year, get rid of it!  

2. Categorize:

After I’m all done editing and I know what I’m going to keep, the first thing I do is sort all my clothes in to categories:

  • Dresses
  • Slacks
  • Jeans
  • Sleeveless shirts
  • Short-sleeved shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Jackets
  • etc.
And then within those groups, I sort them by color or color families.
I do the same with my drawers (although not so much into colors but you could).
For example, I have one drawer that houses all my yoga/workout clothes, and one drawer for swimsuits, one for shorts, etc.  

3.  Decide What Should Hang and What Will be Folded

After I’ve sorted my clothes in categories, I decide what is going to hang and what isn’t.  This may be dictated by the amount of space your have in either your closet or your dresser, but I like to hang more things than fold.  So, if I have the space, I hang it up.  Yes, even t-shirts!  Why?  I don’t like to iron and folded things can get wrinkled easily, so I like to hang them up.  Very often the things I have folded are things that don’t need much ironing.  
What I do fold, I fold as neatly as I can and sort by category and color.  And, yes, I do own an iron — see it there all neatly tucked away?  I use it as little as possible – ha! See the blue bottle next to it?  Downy Wrinkle Release — a girl’s best friend!

4.  Choose Your Hangers Wisely

This isn’t necessary but it really makes a space look so much neater and organized.  Not all my hangers match, but I will get there one day.  Right now I  have a combination of metal and clear plastic hangers mixed with standard white plastic hangers.  
I have my eye on those nice-looking velvet hangers that I keep seeing at Home Goods.  It looks like they wouldn’t leave the little shoulder marks and stuff wouldn’t fall off either but, hey, not a big priority in my life at the moment!

5.  Keep Things Within Easy Reach

This tip is somewhat geared toward those of us with walk-in closets but it’s also true for “regular” closets.
When arranging your things, think about how you get dressed in the morning and what you are reaching for all the time.  For example, I get dressed inside my closet.  When we first moved here I kept my perfume in my bathroom. I found that I was constantly going out into the bathroom to find my perfume.  I ended up moving it inside my closet so it is now handy where I get dressed.
I also keep things that I wear all the time at an easy-to-reach height.  My cowboy hat, for example, only gets worn when I go to the Ft. Worth Stock Show or visit my husband’s uncle’s ranch so it’s way up high in my closet.  (Hey, I live Texas — yes, I own a cowboy hat!)
As I already mentioned, we don’t have a lot of storage in our home so this closet stores other things like our ski gear, luggage, photo albums, and a whole bunch of other odds and ends.  We keep those things up higher or stuffed in the back corners because we only need to access them every so often.

6.  Corral Things Together with Bins and Organizers

I never met an organizer I didn’t like.  Well, that’s probably not completely true, but I absolutely love bins, baskets and organizers.  
Some of my storage organizers come from the store and some are things I find around the house.
Shoe boxes make great baskets.  You can either use it as-is or jazz it up with wrapping paper!

7.  Neatness Counts

I find this especially true for shoes.  Keep your shoes neat and put away and you’ll always be able to find the other shoe! Simple, right?!
8.  Create Extra Space
This probably sounds impossible since most people don’t have a huge walk-in closet.  I promise, I have lived in homes and apartments with so much less space than what I have today and you can create “extra space.”  
By “extra space”  I mean making the most out of the space you have by using hooks and other organizers like these:   
closet organization
Simply installing a hook can make a world of difference.  Bathrobes and other clothes that habitually end up on the floor can now be quickly and easily hung on a hook.
9.  Be Creative!  
Look at the space you have and think outside the box when deciding how you’re going to keep it all organized.   As I mentioned before, T-shirts don’t have to be folded, organizers don’t have to be store-bought and things don’t have to be used for their intended purpose.  Shoe boxes can store scarves or pantyhose.  Empty sour cream containers can hold jewlery.  Use what you have and let necessity be the mother of invention!  And, don’t forget to use your vertical space!
10.  Everything Needs a Home
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about organizing in general whether it’s a closet, a pantry, the garage or a kitchen cabinet…everything must have a home or it will be perpetually floating around your house cluttering things up forever.  
So, create a space for everything and make it easy to access.  If it has a home and it’s easy to access, it will get put away!
Are you ready to get organized?
If you’d like to read more about my organized spaces or my love of all things home, I’d love for you to visit me at Lilacs & Longhorns!  

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  1. You have a lot of great tips, Julie. Thanks for sharing! We have a walk-in master closet also and it’s slowly on its way to looking like your Before photo- I need to organize it now before it gets much worse! 🙂
    Jen @ Girl in the Garage recently posted…Decorating Advice From 1951My Profile

  2. LOL – What Jen wrote above is true for us as well: our walk-in closet is not as walkable as it could be! Thanks for sharing so many great ideas for us to get it organized!
    Laura / Pet Scribbles recently posted…Winter Pinecone Tree CraftMy Profile

  3. So many great ideas! I have an older home so I just dream about walk in closets but if I ever get a home with one I’ll be sure to remember your advice!

  4. Great tips, Julie! I have to tweak my closet organization every year….it’s still waiting. 🙂
    Sharon recently posted…6 secrets to keeping a clean (enough) homeMy Profile

  5. Julie…I feel like I know you even better now that I have been in your closet! Well done…As you know I have been editing my whole house too, so I am on board with you. Thanks for all the great tips!
    kelly recently posted…Editing – Round 3 – My Closet…and yours!My Profile

  6. good ideas

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