How-To

An In-depth Guide to Organizing Your Closet

by KM Team March 10, 2019

Tame an unruly closet

Closets come in all sizes and degrees of disarray, but following these simple pointers will help you tackle any organizing job.

Take stock
Open your closet and make an honest assessment: Do you really need those jeans that haven’t fit since 2002? Is that holiday sweater only there for nostalgia’s sake? Clear out the sartorial cobwebs (or actual ones, if it’s been a while since you’ve stuck your head in there). Try pairing pieces to create a few easy outfits, and donate or toss accordingly.

Hang in there
Start your overhaul with proper hangers—lots of them, in uniform shape, size, and material. Wooden hangers tend to be the sturdiest, and hangers with additional clips are kindest to pants and skirts. In general, hang and group clothing by style or color. This method is not only easy on the eyes, but it will also help speed up your selection process on groggy workweek mornings.

Everything in its place
Before you start enjoying your newly pared-down closet, take a good look at it while it’s still empty. How can you best utilize the space? Do you need shelving, stacked cubicles, shoe racks? Make sure you store clothes, accessories, and shoes where you can see them. You’re guaranteed to forget about anything hidden away in a corner. If you don’t use it, let it go!

Store your clothes the right way

An empty closet and plan of attack are nothing without proper execution. Before you fill your closet back up, follow these tips for getting your things where and how they should be.

Shoes
Store shoes with the right toe and left heel out so you’ll have a clear idea of whether the sole and toe shape will look good with a certain cut of pant or length of hem. You can organize shoes like clothing by color or style (sneakers, galoshes, boots, etc.).

Sweaters
Cedar naturally keeps moths and other pests away—and smells much more pleasant than mothballs. Choose cedar hangers or cedar chips to store your sweaters and other cashmere and wool items. Be sure to fold your sweaters—never hang them, as this causes them to lose their shape.

Pants and skirts
Hang pants and skirts with clip hangers to keep them neat and uniform. Skirts can be hung from the waistband. Fold pants lengthwise and hang them from the bottom cuffs to avoid marking the fabric or creating a permanent crease across the pant legs.

Ditch the plastic
Cotton and other breathable garment bags are best for storing special items, as plastic may encourage mold or moths. If you dry clean your clothes, remove the plastic bags as soon as you return from the cleaner; the chemicals from the dry cleaning process can destroy delicate fibers.

Cedar-wood garment hangers and shoe trees

The aroma of cedar naturally repels moths and insects and also deodorizes. The unvarnished material absorbs sweat and moisture from just-worn shoes and outerwear, helping to preserve them through the seasons. The hangers are durable enough to hold heavier clothing and are an inexpensive alternative to building an entire closet out of cedar. Carefully shaped at the toes and heels, the shoe trees maintain the original form of your footwear.

*This is an excerpt from “The Kaufmann Mercantile Guide.” To see more guides for a slow and thoughtful life and original artwork, check out the book in our shop.

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