Most people have no idea what they own, says our organization expert Linda Rothschild, CEO of Cross It Off Your List. But once you stop and organize, you gain control. You know where things are, can retrieve them with ease, and get out the door that much faster. Here are her tips to sorting out that closet and making sure you can quickly and easily put together an outfit you forgot existed.
SOLUTION #1: PLAN AHEAD
You can't redo a closet in an hour. Set aside a day to reorganize your space, two if you want to paint. And don't feel you have to spend a bundle; even a small investment of $150 in rods, shelving and paint is worthwhile.
SOLUTION #2: BAN THE BULK
Remove bulky items like purses, luggage, overcoats, and out-of-season pieces.
SOLUTION #3: GET TOUGH
You need to go through everything and look at it as if it belonged to someone else. Make four piles: clothes bound for the dry cleaner, the tailor, a charity and the trash. Only A-list items remain in the closet. If you haven't worn something in two years, if it's dated or doesn't fit, get rid of it.
SOLUTION #4: ORGANIZE CLOTHES BY CATEGORY
Blouses, pants and other items should be grouped together. Within each group sort by length, style and color. If you need a visual reference, use a colorful pair of pants amid my sea of black pants to mark the transition from wool to cotton and dressy to casual.
SOLUTION #5: BE MINDFUL
Remove one old garment for every new piece you add.
This story first appeared in InStyle in March 2002.