6 Habits to a Heavenly Closet

A girl holds her head while looking at a closet stuffed with hanging clothes

Have you ever walked into your closet, already late for work, and can't find the blouse that would be perfect with the skirt you just bought? It's a never ending cycle of new clothes shoved into an old closet. Well, it's time to break that habit. Keeping your closet organized is easy—once you start building the following six habits. And I mean habits. Do them consistently for 21 days. They will become a habit and you will never have to fight the clothes monsters in a cluttered closet again.

Habit 1 - Reverse Your Hangers

Clean that closet out at least once per year. I am sure you have heard this a million times, but if you haven’t worn something for a year, toss it, donate it or recycle it. One trick I found useful is to hook my hangers on to the rod backwards, with the pointed end of the hook facing toward you. If I wear something, it goes back into the closet the correct way. The next time I clean the closet, any hanger that hasn’t been turned around has obviously not been worn…out it goes.

Habit 2 - Make Laundry Day Do Double Duty

You don’t have to let your closet go untouched for an entire year. In fact, you shouldn't. The once a year clean-out is for a deep clean. Spruce up your closet every week or two. The best time to do it is on laundry day. You’re in there putting things back where they belong anyway, so you might as well put them back in the right place.

Habit 3 - Code By Type and Color

Speaking about putting things back in the right place, the best organizers do just that. Organize your clothes first by type, then by color. I have a two-layer rod system in my closet. All my short sleeve shirts go on the top rod, and all the long sleeve shirts on the bottom rod. Then I organize them by color.

With sweaters it’s the same thing -- type and then color. I keep the sweaters folded (sometime rolled if they are real flimsy), and in baskets on the closet shelf (neatly marked as well). If marking baskets is a little too much for you, think about getting clear plastic shelf-sized tubs. Then at least you can see through them to easily find your favorite sweater.

Habit 4 - Relegate Shoes to the Floor

Keep the shoes out of the closet. It will give you much more space. I keep my everyday shoes in two different baskets. One for tennis shoes, one for dress shoes. All my other shoes go in a container under the bed. For example, I live where there are four distinct seasons, so for at least 9 months out of the year I have no need for sandals. Under the bed they go. Out of the closet, out of the way. An added benefit -- it’s like getting a new pair of sandals when I open that box in the spring.

If you absolutely don’t like the basket idea, think about getting an over-the-door shoe organizer. At least that way they will be off the floor of the closet and out of your way.

Habit 5 - Practice "In With the New, Out With the Old"

Simply put, when you buy something new, dispose of something old. This goes for clothes as well as anything else in your house. If you buy a new stove, you don’t keep the old one, do you? So in the same vein, if you buy a new blouse, get rid of an old one. New pants? Get rid of an old pair. About the only thing I don’t get rid of is jewelry. My jewelry box is one thing I don’t mind overflowing!

Habit 6 - Give Discards a Place of Honor

Set up a box or two so it's easy to toss out what you remove from your closet during your routine laundry day cleanings, or when you buy something new.

One box is to be donated, and one box is for things that you want to take to the consignment shop or recycle. Once items are in that box, make a commitment not to take them out again. You will defeat the purpose of staying organized. When the box is full, take them to their new destination.

Build these good habits and you will never have to search out your favorite blouse again.