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Author: Kelly GalfandChallenging Disorganization Closet Clothing Clutter General Home Organizing Wardrobe Management

Becoming Organized: The Case of the Missing Slippers

If being organized is not how you were raised but you’ve started to become more orderly, you may already know: it takes time getting used to “being organized.”

I learned this with a new client: Kim (not her real name) has struggled all her life to maintain a neat space. Her efforts go in waves and she has managed to live a really rich and creative life — but it hasn’t been easy. She’s lost a few things along the way. Paid her share of late fees for bills and penalties for misplaced parking tickets. And wasted time rewashing clothes after the dirty commingled with the clean.

When she was ready to stop this chaos…she called in a professional organizer.

She had 3 areas to organize:
• her wardrobe and bedroom
• her living room – including a desk area
• her hallway which had become an over-crowded storage space

We started in her bedroom because the mess was affecting her sleep. After 3 working sessions we had sorted through all of her clothes, cleared every surface (including the floor) of anything that didn’t belong, rearranged her dresser drawers and closet with zones for each type of clothing she needed in her life.

Moving on to the living room, Kim sheepishly told me a “funny” story about her missing slippers. The one constant in Kim’s life had been lots of weekends away to cabins with friends. In preparing to pack for one such weekend, she described how she had scoured her apartment looking for her slippers. 

She checked ALL of her usual spots: under the coffee table, in the bathroom, kicked under the hallway table, in a pile behind the couch, tucked under her bed, tossed into a corner by her cat…she couldn’t find them anywhere. 

She left for her weekend sans slippers in a bummed mood.

As soon as she got on the road to the cabin, it hit her. She couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Her slippers were right where we had left them — in their new home. They were in the bottom “bay” of the hanging shoe organizer we had installed in her closet.

It was a funny lesson to us both, that getting organized takes some getting used to! The motto of Kim’s story is: It’s easy to find what you need when you need it…when it is right where you left it.

Author: Robin StankowskiCloset Clothing Home Organizing Wardrobe Management

Hello Old Friend

So, I’ve been saying that a lot lately and not to who you would think. It’s been to inanimate objects! You know, the smoothie you start drinking again because you are going to give ‘that diet’ another go. Why do we address people and things this way? A matter of playful affection towards a friend who we’ve known since grade school? Used in jest as we put on our bikini for the first time in the Summer?

As we sort through our things, we go through this playful or sometimes sinister game with these items:

  • Is it really old and needs to be tossed? Has it worn out its welcome?
  • Is it really a friend? Was it kind to you over the years? You know, that go-to outfit that never disappointed?

Play the “Friends, Acquaintances and Strangers” game created by organizing guru Judith Kolberg:

  • Hold each item and evaluate how often you use it and if it has a home;
    • Frequent use = Friend
    • Occasional use = Acquaintance
    • Rare or no use = Stranger
  • Keep your friends, some acquaintances and purge your strangers

Friends come and go and so do the things in our lives. If it doesn’t bring you joy, it’s time to say adieu. Keep the items you hold valuable close to you and enjoy!

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Author: Amanda JeffersonCloset Clothing Consignment Organizing Wardrobe Management

Transform your Wardrobe in Just 5 Hours

Do you ever open your closet and think, “I have nothing to wear!”? Do you ever feel like you have certain “go-tos” and you ignore the rest of your closet? Do you keep things because they might come back into style?

Imagine a different scenario. Imagine a closet filled with only those clothes that ‘spark joy,’ clothes that make you feel confident and amazing, clothes that are comfortable and cared for. In just five hours, it can!

The New York Times bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Japanese de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo, teaches you how. As a member of the first class of KonMari consultant trainees, I love spreading the KonMari idea of #organizetheworld. Please see below my own take on how you can tackle the clothing category using the KonMari method, step by step.

Step One:
Find a time in your schedule when you can get five hours, distraction free. No kids. No husbands. No phones. This is YOUR time.

Step Two:
Pile every item of clothing on the bed.

  • Make sure ALL of your clothes are washed.
  • Drag those off-season clothes out of the basement.
  • Bring up those coats from the entry-way closet.
  • Pull out those old bridesmaid dresses.

Take a ‘before’ picture!

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Step Three:
Divide the clothes into broad categories like: Tops, Bottoms, Skirts, Pajamas, etc. Don’t worry about deciding what to keep yet. Focus on sorting, not discarding.

Step Four:
Now this is where the magic really comes in. You are going to take each and every item of clothing in your hand and ask yourself: Does this spark joy? Pay attention to how the garment makes you feel. Does it give you a jolt of happiness? Do you love wearing it? Or do you frown, think about feeling frumpy, or have a bad memory?

A few tips:

  • Get quick wins
    Start with a smaller category so that you can feel the momentum.
  • Make notes
    As you go, write down items that need to be replaced or upgraded.
  • Take a break
     Midway, take a 15-minute break. Have some tea and a light snack.
  • Take stock
     Take stock at the four hour mark. You might need to leave a few categories for homework, like shoes and bags.

Step Five:
Put all of your donations and items to sell right in the car! While you have them sorted, you can even enter the donations into an app like It’s Deductible or onto a printed Goodwill checklist. You can save thousands at tax time with donations!

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Step Six:
Put all of the clothing that sparks joy back into the closet and folded in their drawers. To learn how to do Marie Kondo’s special folding method, visit this video. Think about using all that extra space in your closet to display your favorite items. I put my favorite books and my grandmother’s milk glass on the top shelf of my closet, where all of my bulky sweaters used to fall over onto each other. Some people hang artwork inside the doors or display wedding photos.

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A few tips:

  • Someday = Never
     If you find yourself thinking, “I might wear this someday,” think again. Think about your life today.
  • Don’t get bogged down on sentimental items
     Set aside sentimental items. Can you turn that fabric into a cool pouch? Can you display it?
  • Beware of the temptation of ‘selling’
     It’s tempting to want to sell your items. Be aware that consignors are VERY selective. Often, you will get more back by donating the item and cashing in on a tax refund.

Now sit back, take that after photo, and enjoy! After just five hours and six steps, you’ve created a closet that gives you joy, easy mornings and a boost of confidence.

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Author: Annette ReymanCloset Donating Home Organizing Seasonal

Five Quick Spring Organizing Tips

CrocusesHere are five ways to freshen up your home for spring:

Bedding-blitz  As you prepare to leave colder days behind, get ready to pull out lighter blankets and sheets. Refresh blankets that come out of storage by fluffing them in the dryer with a dryer sheet. Remove heavy blankets and flannels from beds to clean and store. This is also a good time to wash the mattress covers and give the mattresses a flip. Lighter, brighter spring-fresh bedding is sure to brighten everyone’s mood!

Counter-attack  Throw open the kitchen and bathroom windows and take a look at your counters. The fresh air will help energize you while you remove all items and give the counters a good wipe-down. Throw out any trash or items you don’t need and put away anything that has wandered out of its appropriate home. Return to the counter only those things that you absolutely must have out or that make you happy.

Pantry purge  During our winter hibernation we tend to stockpile supplies. Cupboards can become stuffed with soups, cocoas and comfort-snacks. As this happens, other food items get pushed out of sight. Set aside an hour on a nice spring morning to empty out a shelf or two at a time, wipe them down, discard outdated or unwanted food items and reorganize what’s left back onto the shelves.

Sew or go  Do you keep a sewing or ironing pile? If you do, make sure that what is in your pile has not been there longer than 6 months. If it has, it is likely that it may not fit, will be out of style, or will no longer be something that you think would be worth the effort. Now’s the time to sew or go! Pick an evening and an interesting TV show and get the ironing and sewing done. If you’re not going to do it – let it go. It will only sit there and make you feel guilty if you don’t. And, no one wants to feel bad on a sunny day!

Shoe-review  The warmer days of spring and summer will mean a change of shoe style. Take time to gather any and all of your shoes together. Separate cold-weather shoes from warm. Before storing shoes you won’t wear again until fall, try them on. If they don’t fit comfortably or you don’t like them, this is the time to donate or toss them. If any need cleaning or repair, get it done now, before storing. Next, look at their sunny day counterparts and go through the same process. If you find that your favorite sandals are broken or that those cute open toe shoes you bought last summer don’t really fit right, get rid of them. Take note of any shoes you may need to add to your shopping list for replacement to complete your wardrobe. Finally, make sure each member of your household has adequate shoe storage.

Happy Spring!

Author: Kelly GalfandCloset Clothing Consignment Donating Organizing Wardrobe Management

Slam Dunk your Way to a Spring Closet

Whether you follow basketball or not, college ball is an exciting sport and March Madness is the be-all, end-all competition among collegiate teams. I am always inspired by the players’ drive, athleticism, and winning attitude. Borrow this enthusiasm and plan your own decluttering plays for a Spring-ready closet.

Final Four Championship banner

March Madness has become an annual springboard for me to declutter. I love the NCAA’s single-elimination process as a framework for purging my wardrobe.

The tournament always starts in March and concludes in April — as we warm up to Spring. I appreciate the build-up to the ultimate winner; each week there are winners (and losers). Borrow this approach and discover the winners and banish the losers in your closet.
• winners – clothes that are versatile, stylish, and flattering
• losers – anything stained, ill-fitting, or in need of repair

If you like following play-lists, here’s some quantifiable advice to help you keep score on your efforts:

• Trim 16 (Sweet Sixteen) bulky sweaters and jackets from your closet to make room for Spring styles. Scarves are typical accessories that you can rotate each season. Footwear is another category that deserves attention: pack up your heavy, weatherproof boots.

• Remove at least 8 items from your hanging space to create room for bolder colors and lighter-weight outfits. What you remove may end up in off-season storage, or may need to find a new home. Can you find an Elite Eight to donate, thrift, or E-bay?

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• Final Four Here’s where the tournament makes its biggest splash and reminds me to focus on the basics. Make sure you have what you need to enter Spring, well dressed in the appropriate clothes that suit your life and lifestyle. This may mean creating a short shopping list for your foundation pieces, or a to-do list for the winners before they go on court.
• shine your shoes to clean and preserve their leather
• alter any investment pieces so you continue to enjoy them
• dry-clean items that you have enjoyed all season but are packing away until next year

The hardest lesson March Madness teaches is one-and-done. The Final Four teams play two games over three days to determine a national champion. Culling collections down to a single winner is unrealistic (I couldn’t survive with only one pair of black slacks!) Selecting winners — of a reasonable quantity — based on proven criteria is a good play.

Author: Kathy LuskusCloset Clothing Organizing Products Shopping Wardrobe Management

“NO WIRE HANGERS EVER!”

Most of us remember this line from the movie “Mommy Dearest” along with the cruelty that accompanied it.

Most Professional Organizers cringe at the sight of a closet packed full of clothes and each piece on a wire hanger, twisting up, over and back. No wonder people say they have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear! You won’t wear what you don’t see. Most of us select clothes that reflect our personal style and if we’re appointing that task to our clothes, we need to respect them.

Proper care of your clothes will result in:
• longer wear
• neater appearance
• protection of your clothing investment
• easier outfit selection since you can clearly see what you have

The market is flush with many styles of hangers and it’s up to your priorities and budget to select what’s appropriate for your wardrobe. Here are some guidelines:


Plaid Padded HangerPadded hangers – Padded hangers are great for shirts, dresses, blouses, and of course, robes. Padded hangers with clips are a great choice for hanging outfits.  Amazon.com

Wooden HangerWooden hangers – If you can afford them, wooden hangers are the best choice for men’s and women’s suits.  The thick curved design provides support in your suits’ shoulders.  Some are made of cedar and protect precious fabrics and help maintain the shape of tailored pieces. It’s actually your most economic hanger purchase since they last for years and will most likely outlast your next 3 cars! HangerStore.com

Flocked Velvet HangerFlock/Velvet hangers – These hangers work best for delicate tops, camisoles, and pashminas. Although they come in many colors, black is best, and can always be matched when you need to purchase more.   ContainerStore.com

Quality hangers are also available for belts and neckties. If space is tight, hang these on the back wall of your closet behind the clothing.

Below are some budget-wise choices:

Clear acrylic hangers — These hangers are the ones most likely seen in department stores. They’re inexpensive, available everywhere, sturdy, moisture-proof, don’t take up too much visual space. They can be used in the laundry room for hanging items right out of the dryer.

Plastic tubular hangers — These hangers last forever and are inexpensive. Also, they can be used in the laundry room for hanging drip dry items. Purchase the thicker versions which hold up better.

Suit hangers — These hangers can accommodate pants/slacks folded underneath the jacket skirt/pant hangers with clips at the waist avoid that mid-length crease.

Space-saving hangers — Typically hold 10 garments vertically and then fold down horizontally to save space. Tradeoffs are wrinkled clothes and hidden garments; remember — if you can’t see it, you won’t wear it. Use them for long term/out of season storage.

Speaking of out-of-season storage, it’s best to use canvas garment bags. Plastic garment bags trap moisture and the chemicals used in the dry cleaning process. Be sure to add some cedar chips or blocks before closing the bag(s). Another option is Cedar Fresh sachets which are cedar and lavender combined in one sachet on a string you can hang on a hanger. The fragrance is pleasant and not overwhelmingly strong.

Hopefully, these suggestions have inspired you to ‘take stock’ of your closet situation, and if need be, make the necessary changes. Remember, you can always ask a professional organizer for help.