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January is Get Organized (GO) Month!

I am the marketing director for the Whit Harvey Group, a graphic designer and artist. I am also an organization addict. Give me a free hour and I’m clearing out my closet, reorganizing drawers or alphabetizing my son’s spices while staying with him in Denver.

This past weekend, I attacked my over-filled closet. It is strangely deep, but not very wide, so although there were two rods for hanging clothes, I would have to plow through the first rod of clothing to reach the back one. There was also a shelf above that was where I threw bags, shoeboxes and miscellaneous shawls and scarves. Above that was another 3 feet of unused space. The door would barely close.

I removed everything including the front clothes rod, and installed an extension rod above the back one. I stashed a foldable step stool to reach it easily, and that is where I store things I didn’t wear that often. I also added hanger extensions and open-sided pant hangers. Two bins from Home Goods hold shoes on the floor, and wooden pegs added places for scarves and bags.

Flannel shirts are my go-to top, but they take up a lot of room, so those are outside the closet on hooks.

Winter sales are all the rage this time of year. When purchasing new garments, use the one in/one out rule. For each item you buy, donate or toss an old item. It’s a sure way to help you reduce over-purchasing and the clutter that comes with it.

What will YOU organize this weekend?

The three rules to organization are visibility, accessibility and flexibility. Choose containers that are either transparent or that you can easily label to help immediately identify the contents and save valuable time.

  • If you have several areas in your home you want to get under control, start with just one.

  • Clean house

  • Once you've selected an area, go through the contents. Donate or hold a garage sale for anything you don't or can't wear or use any more. Use the two-year rule of thumb — if you haven't worn it in two years, it's time to say goodbye to it. These items take up valuable space and probably won't be missed.

  • Take inventory

  • After you've removed extraneous items, take a look at what remains. Does it belong here? Does it make sense to keep it here? Is there another place where you've got more room to keep it, or another area where it would be more easily accessible for its purpose?

  • Look for wasted space

  • Maximize vertical space (like the top half of my closet!)

My tip: Alphabetize your spices! That way you will know exactly what you have and it is extremely satisfying to reach right for the spice you need when you need it.

By Cathy Evans


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