Joyful Downsizing: Addressing Closet Clutter

Kim Kubsch

Tackling the master closet is fourth in a series of articles that features techniques for decluttering your home—one room at a time. As owner of Joyful DOWNSIZING and a Sun Lakes resident, I am passionate about helping boomers and seniors declutter to simplify their lives, organize remaining items, and downsize unwanted stuff.

Look in your closet and ask yourself, “Am I really going to wear this again?” and “Have I actually worn this in the last year?” If the reply is “No,” then purge it.

The goal is to simplify. Don’t overload your hanging space, shelves, and drawers. You need to be able to see what’s there. There should be 20% free space.

For hanging clothes, color coding everything will make it easier to mix and match. Group in categories of blouses and tops (sleeveless, short-sleeve, and long-sleeve), jackets, pants,  skirts, and dresses. This will save you time looking for clothes. In addition, once this is done, you may realize eight pairs of black pants is too many. Purge those that don’t fit or you seldom wear.

Consider storing seldom-worn, dressy clothes in another closet.

Next step: Start with how many hangers fit comfortably in your closet and don’t buy any more. Get rid of wire hangers and, if necessary, replace with all matching slim-line hangers. Put back only the clothes you think you will wear, placing all hangers backwards on the rod. After six months, all clothes with hangers still backwards should be purged.

Share the wealth. If you bring something new into your closet, take something out! Give it to a friend or donate it. Don’t keep what you don’t wear—only what fits and makes you happy.

Do you like to fold casual clothes? Consider folding leggings, sweaters, or t-shirts, and place them on shelves or inside drawers. Use color-coding. To save space, use tiered hangers with adjustable clips.

For closets or dressers with drawer units, use drawer separators. Choose from fabric, wood, and plastic separators in various sizes and colors from Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, and The Container Store.

To store accessories like purses, jewelry, or belts, consider using hooks on the wall, wall-mounted jewelry organizer, bins, and baskets. Label everything. Use painter’s tape, which is removable. Dry erase tape and marker by Scotch or 3M is another option.

To store shoes, use built-in closet shoe shelves, floor shoe racks, or a pocket shoe hanger mounted to the back of the closet door. Store all shoes by color, and facing in the same direction.

Stay tuned. Future articles will feature where to take clothing, kitchen fridge and freezer, bathroom; office-digital; laundry, garage, and automobile.

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