10 Closet Cleaning Mistakes To Avoid This Spring
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Clothes Call1 of 11
By Mariel Goodson
When you can't see your closet floor, thanks to the array of shoes and piles of clothes strewn about, you know it's time for a little spring cleaning. Just make sure to avoid these ten common closet-decluttering mistakes.
Sort It Out2 of 11
The flub: Starting by dumping everything onto the bed.
The fix: Before you even open the closet door, be prepared. "Buy three large moving boxes and mark them 'trash,' "'charity' and 'garage sale,'" says Laura Dellutri, an expert organizer and spokesperson for Valpak.com. You also get one keep pile that goes on the bed. Now when you take things out of your closet, you're already narrowing down where they go.
Dirty Truth3 of 11
The flub: Cleaning out your closet but not actually cleaning anything.
The fix: "You drag a ton of dirt into your closet, but it probably doesn't get cleaned regularly," says Dellutri. Built-up filth can stain clothes and contribute to a musty odor that's absorbed by soft fabrics, so it's important to wipe down surfaces, dust the light fixture and vacuum the floor. Line the shelves with lavender drawer paper to infuse clothes with a fresh scent that deters pests.
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Hang Around4 of 11
The flub: Using a hodgepodge of different hangers.
The fix: The easiest, cheapest way to bring order to your wardrobe? "Switch out your mismatched hangers for ones that are the same color and style," says Melanie Charlton, founder and CEO of Clos-ette. "Visually, this makes everything look cohesive, so it's an instant closet makeover." Plus, proper hangers—not the flimsy wire ones from your dry cleaner—properly support your garments, so they don't come out of the closet looking wrinkled.
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Messy Miscellany5 of 11
The flub: Treating your closet as a catchall for random odds and ends.
The fix: If your wardrobe is concealing a hoard of "old photo albums, decorations, and unwanted gifts, it's functioning less as a closet and more as a disaster area," says Dellutri. It's crucial to make sure everything has its own place—photo albums under the bed, your yoga mat in the car trunk. "Every miscellaneous item has to belong somewhere. If it doesn't, it becomes a mess," she warns.
Kicked Out6 of 11
The flub: Storing shoes in your closet.
The fix: This may sound counterintuitive, but stashing your shoe collection in the garage will free up space and keep your closet cleaner. "Eighty-five percent of the dirt that comes into the home comes in on shoes," says Dellutri. "I set up a three-tier shoe shelf in my garage with a little chair next to it so it's really user-friendly." Don't have a garage? Store shoes in your laundry room or hall closet instead.
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Be a Groupie7 of 11
The flub: Arranging clothes with no rhyme or reason.
The fix: Organize your garments according to how you live your life—separating sections for work clothes, gym gear and cocktail attire—so you can shop your closet the way you would at a department store. Use rod organizers to ID each category. "Items worn most frequently should be placed in the most accessible area of the closet," says Barbara Reich, a professional organizer and author of Secrets of an Organized Mom.
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All Fall Down8 of 11
The flub: Piling towers of folded tees, tanks and sweaters.
The fix: "Shelf dividers and folding boards may be the most genius inventions ever," says Charlton. "The boards keep things folded perfectly so your stacks stay neat." Shelf dividers ensure your leaning towers of Pima cotton stand straight up, so nothing topples over when you grab what you want to wear. "You'll look like you have a custom closet," she says.
Bag Lady9 of 11
The flub: Tossing all your handbags into one big bin.
The fix: "Handbags should be addressed on a case-by-case basis so they don't end up misshapen or broken," says Charlton. Shoulder bags and cross-body purses can be hung on hooks, while clutches work well laid flat in a drawer or box. "Structured bags should be stuffed with newspaper and stood up on a shelf," she says.
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Lighten Up10 of 11
The flub: Getting dressed in the dark.
The fix: Dim closet lighting leads to dark corners, which make great hiding places for sloppy piles. "Bright lighting not only enables you to see your clothes better, but it also encourages you to stay orderly since messes will be even more obvious," explains Charlton. Even if you can't invest in fancy lighting, simply swapping in a white-light LED bulb or installing stick-on battery-operated lights will make a world of difference.
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Nuts & Bolts11 of 11
The flub: Skipping surface-mounted hardware.
The fix: "Hardware is underutilized in closets," says Charlton. Wherever there's a free wall, mount hooks, racks and pegboards to add accessory storage. "Bulletin boards and thumbtacks are great for hanging costume jewelry," adds Reich. "Rows of hooks on the back of a closet door create additional storage for hats and scarves."
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