Where do we start? I recommend starting on your neatest closet. Yes, start on the least messy closet because it will be the easiest and quickest and will give you instant gratification and prompt you to keep going.
Here we go:
1. Prepare a clean area near your closet to place items you'll taking out of the closet. This will be your staging area.
2. Gather together these supplies:
a. Solid colored (so you can't see through it) garbage bag.
b. Box/container to hold items to sell or donate
c. Box/container to hold items that you want to keep but that don't belong in that particular closet.
d. Box/container to hold items that need to be returned to someone one or someplace else (library books, borrowed items, hand-me-downs etc.)
e. Vacuum cleaner, cleaning rags for cleaning off shelves and floor
3. Remove items from the top shelf.
4. Immediately throw away anything that is trash.
5. Sort items into the other boxes, keeping out only those items you love, will use, and have a purpose.
6. Set those "keepers" aside in your staging area, placing like items together. Don't place them back on the shelf yet because you might decide to store them differently.
7. Continue on with items on the hanging bar and/or other shelves, following steps 4-6.
8. When every item has been removed from the closet and sorted into piles in your staging area it is time to do a bit of cleaning. First, vacuum the whole closet and then wipe down the walls, shelves, and baseboards with a cleaning rag and household cleaner. If you're very ambitious, now would be a good time to paint the inside of the closet and maybe add a shelf or extra hanging rod.
9. Before placing your "keepers" back into the closet, revisit each sorted pile and notice how many of each item you own. The first time I did this process in my own closet, I discovered that I owned 9 white blouses. Who needs 9 white blouses? Not me! I sorted the pile and kept 2 long sleeve blouses, 1 sleeveless top, and 1 three quarter sleeved blouse. I donated the rest and never missed them. I also highly recommend that you try on any clothes you haven't worn in a while. You probably haven't worn them because you don't really like them, they don't fit perfectly, or they are the wrong color. If you're not sure about what to keep, ask a friend to help you. True friends don't let friends wear outfits that don't flatter them.
10. Place your newly sorted items back into the closet, placing like items together. Place longer hanging items along the side of the closet that is nearest a wall to keep the floor space available.
11. To keep items on the shelves accessible, store them in fabric boxes and treat them like drawers. Use a shoe shelf to keep shoes in good shape and convenient to grab quickly. Belts and scarves can be hung on hooks or hangers so you can see at a glance what you own.
12. Remember those boxes/containers you filled? Don't put them back into the closet!! Take the garbage bag directly to the garbage can to be disposed of. Put the box of donations directly into your car to drop off at the thrift store. If you've decided to have a yard sale, place that box in an out of the way room that you'll use to gather other yard sale items (I usually use my garage). Place items that need to be returned to other people or places in your vehicle and make time this week to return them.
13. Stand back and enjoy looking at your newly organized closet. Tomorrow morning, you'll enjoy getting dressed quickly, without having to search for missing items.
If you get stuck, shoot me an email and I'll walk you through it. If you have a difficult closet to tackle, let me know and we can brainstorm together to come up with solutions for you.