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Get It Done: Clean Out Your Bedroom Closet

It's that time of year: clean-out-the-closet time. I’ll share some tips for curing closet envy in a separate ideabook, but first these spaces need a very thorough cleaning and a purge. Have you ever taken every single thing out of the closet, given it all a scrub-down and then put each thing back in one by one? I can tell you, I’ve lived in my house for seven years, and I’ve done it exactly once. And it was gross, and I wanted to quit in the middle, but it was worth it. (Yes, I am trying to motivate myself to do this at the same time I’m trying to motivate you; it’s been a year or two since that one time.) So, wait until you have up to a day to do this, because it could take a while. I promise the results will be worth it. Here’s how.

 How to Clean Out Your Bedroom Closet

Approximate time: 
At least three hours; it really depends on the state of your closet. My closet is going to take more like seven hours. 

Setup: A box for donations, a trash can, a box for items that will find new homes elsewhere, a notepad and pen for jotting down ideas and needs, a vacuum cleaner, paper towels or a rag, a step stool, a mop if your closet has a tile or hardwood floor, and dusting supplies.

 Getting started:

  • Clear. Completely empty the closet.
  • Pile. Hanging clothes can go on your bed. This way you’ll be forced to finish before you can go to sleep. (If you have closet painting planned, you will have to move them or sleep elsewhere until this is done.)
  • Separate. Place all like items, such as shoes, belts and ties, into their own piles with room around them for you to get in there and organize. Remember to carve some paths out so you can get around.
Clean from top to bottom:
  • Dust. Start with the cobwebs where the ceiling meets the walls. Clean shelves from top to bottom. Use a damp rag or paper towels to dust the rods.
  • Details. If you have baseboards in the closet, give them a thorough cleaning.
  • Vacuum. If you have a carpet, give it a really good vacuuming. Then sprinkle carpet freshener on it. If you have a hard floor, give it a really good mopping.
  • Take a breather. While you wait the 15 to 30 minutes for the freshener to work its magic or the mopping to dry, peruse The Cure for Houzz Envy: Closet Touches Anyone Can Dowhile you take a much-needed break and make some plans.
  • Vacuum up the freshener.
  • Feel good. Pat yourself on the back as you realize how unexpectedly dirty all that stuff was, and how now it’s spick-and-span.
  • Get three bins. The containers shown here are supercute, but cardboard boxes, garbage bags or plastic bins will work just fine.
  • Separate. Designate bins for repairs/cleaning and donating, and if you don’t have room to store clothes that are out of season, put those in a bin too. The stuff you are keeping stays on your bed.
  • Clear. Put the donation and repair/clean boxes in the car as soon as you are done. Now you can’t fill up your trunk with groceries until you stop by Goodwill and the dry cleaner first.
  • Store. Figure out where you are going to store your out-of-season stuff and stash it out of the way.
Paint or wallpaper. If you want to give the closet a fresh coat of paint or put up some fun wallpaper or shelf paper, do that now 
Make a hanger decision. You may decide to go all Joan Crawford and take on a “no more wire hangers” attitude. I invested in flat velvet hangers and am so glad I did. They don’t bow and bend; they save room over other kinds of hangers; and I love the uniform look (mine are all black). 

No plastic bags or wire hangers ever even make it close to my closet these days — I bring the clothes inside, remove the bags and hangers immediately, put them in the canvas boat tote I keep in my coat closet for collecting these recyclables and clothes for dry cleaning, and that’s as far as they get. Then I go upstairs and hang everything on my matching hangers. Yes, I realize this sounds like a little much, but it helps me keep my closet looking nice.

Also, it’s easy to find extra hangers when you designate a spot for them. As soon as you remove a piece of clothing from a hanger, move the hanger to the designated spot for empties on the rod.

These kinds of things are really about what works for you. For more ideas check out 7 Habits to Help a Tidy Closet Stay That Way 
Keep a permanent donation bin. Closet designer to the stars Lisa Adams gave me a great piece of advice I repeat often and put into practice myself. Keep a bag or bin in the closet for donations. Anytime you try something on and it doesn't fit, or you look in the mirror and think, “Ugh,” toss it in there. 

Assess the keepers again. Hmmm, great dress, but does it show too much cleavage for you to feel comfortable leaving the house in it? Before anything goes back into the closet, it has to earn a place. 

If you haven’t worn it in over a year, seriously consider donating it. Try it on, and if you can’t imagine anywhere you would like to be seen in it, toss it in the donation bin. 
 Put everything back. You may decide to sort by color; by professional, casual, party clothes; or simply by like items. Or, if you've sorted by color in the past and it’s just not working for you, try something different. When it comes to organization, different approaches work for different people; you can always keep improving or try something new.
Figure out how to make the best use of extra space. Once everything is back in place, look where there may be extra room or where you may need to add over-the-door hangers, a tie rack or other organizational items. For instance, you ladies may have a lot of wasted space beneath your shorter dresses. This is a good opportunity to add a shoe rack, drawers or a basket. 

Sorry I keep talking about dresses; guys, if you need a little balance, check out Man Space: A Guy Likes a Nice Closet, Too 
Reward yourself. Now it’s time for the fun stuff. Step back, admire your handiwork and look at that horrifying before photo. Think about how dirty your closet was and feel great about your accomplishment. Next, check out The Cure for Houzz Envy: Closet Touches Anyone Can Do and plan those icing-on-the-cake details. 
source: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/21772603/list/Get-It-Done--Clean-Out-Your-Bedroom-Closet 
Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014 5:00 PM by Sutton Realty


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