The Skeletons—and Other Things—in Your Closet

Guest Post by Kelly Moore, Owner Moore Efficiency Solutions Denver, CO

Closets are one of those spaces that can be difficult to organize.  After all, isn’t a closet meant to house all of our junk when we don’t know what else to do with it?  Fortunately, because they are small (unless you have a celebrity sized walk-in), closets can usually be organized in an afternoon. But, before you rush out to buy all the fun organizing bins, labels, and shelves, read through the tips below to help make this project a successful one.
Give the Space a Function. Before you even begin, think about what types of items should be kept in this closet.  Are you going to use it for linens? Crafts? Toys? Clothes?  Deciding the function of this closet will encourage you to find a new home for things that do not belong, thereby making more room.

Gather Your Materials. For this project, you will likely need a large trash can, recycling bin, and additional trash bags for sorting.  Find the name and location of a local charity near you where you can take any unwanted items that are still in good condition.  And, if this is a project that is going to have you occupied for the afternoon, might I suggest some enjoyable music?

Sort the Junk.
Now you are ready to open that closet door and begin sorting.  This is just about grouping items based on where they belong, so resist the urge to start organizing a box of photographs or filing a bunch of papers.  Your job is to make a decision, and move onto the next item.  Here’s how you might categorize your belongings:

  • Trash and Recycling. Get rid of these things immediately, it will make the rest of your task seem less daunting.
  • Keep. Only the items that will go back into the closet should go in this pile.  Make sure that the items you are keeping in this space stay in line with the space’s function.
  • New Home. Items in this pile are things you would like to keep but need to put somewhere else.  If you found the screwdriver set in the linen closet, use this opportunity to put it back where it belongs.
  • Donate. For things that are still in good condition, consider donating them to a local charity such as ARC or Goodwill.  It will make you feel good and it’s tax deductible.
  • Unsure. Use this pile with much caution as it can easily become huge if you struggle with making decisions.  This pile should be reserved only for things that you do not have the authority to throw away (your spouse’s old work documents, for example).

Assess Your Organizing Needs. Once you have taken care of every other group of belongings, you should be left with only your “Keep” pile to put back in the closet.  Consider what kinds of tools might help you stay more organized in this space such as bins, racks, drawers, etc.  You can browse online before you even leave your house to have a better idea of what’s out there and how much it costs.   Stores like The Container Store, Target, Walmart, The Home Depot, and even Crate & Barrel have some great organizing tools.

Keep it Organized. Rather than going through the closet once every few years, make organization a habit.  This means only putting items in the closet that belong in there!  If it starts overflowing, it may be time to purge a few more unnecessary belongings.

Kelly Moore - Moore Efficiency Solutions

Getting Organized…for Good

Guest Post: Written by Kelly Moore, owner Moore Efficiency Solutions Denver, CO.

Getting organized in the New Year is on many of our minds as we plan our resolutions.  We make ambitious plans to “stay on top of things” so that we can stress less and accomplish more.  Yet the resolution to finally “get organized” can be full of pitfalls and setbacks.  If becoming more organized is on your list of resolutions this year, check out these tips:

Begin the Battle.  One of the biggest barriers to becoming organized hits many of us right off the bat: “Where in the world to start?”  The garage?  The attic?  The kitchen?  The office?  The answer?  Start where it will have the most impact for you on a day-to-day basis.  This will keep you motivated and energized to tackle more organizing projects as you reap the benefits of your hard work.  Consider where you spend a significant amount of time.  For many of us it is likely a location such as the kitchen, your office, or a family room.

Maintain Your Focus.  Managing your time while working on an organizing project can be tricky.  Have  you ever set out to organize your home office, say, only to look up at the clock an hour later because you got distracted looking at your old high school yearbook?  Sometimes good intentions quickly evaporate as we become distracted during the organizing process. Try this trick: Set an egg timer for 10 minutes.  Begin your organizing task, and when it goes off ask yourself, “Am I still doing what I need to be doing or do I need to re-focus?”

Don’t Go it Alone. One reason organizing on your own can be overwhelming is because you can lose perspective on the things that are and aren’t important.  If you are someone who tends to hang onto things “just in case,” consider asking a friend or hiring a professional organizer to help you wade through your possessions.  Someone without an emotional attachment to your things can help you make decisions about what you really should keep and what’s just taking up space.  It might be hard to believe, but you probably won’t miss that 80’s cocktail dress in your closet that’s 2 sizes too small.

Go Easy on Yourself (and Your Kids…and Your Spouse). What can ruin your feeling of organizing accomplishments faster than anything else?  Walking into a recently organized space only to find that your kids (or spouse) have foiled your efforts!  Before you say or do something you regret, remember organization is not a going to happen overnight.  It is a lifestyle that takes time to become habit.  Communicate and reinforce your expectations to your family.  If you expect your kids to hang their coat and backpack in the entryway, be sure to do it yourself and be prepared to remind them when they forget. If you want to be organized in the long haul, be patient with yourself and your kids – good habits take lots of practice.

Kelly Moore, owner - Moore Efficiency Solutions