Christine Park

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring Cleaning Your Closet

I have a lot of clothes. (The first step to overcoming an addiction is admitting you have a problem, right?)
Except, I wouldn't call having a lot of clothes a 
problem, per se. It's actually a necessity due to my career. My job requires that I have a lot of professional-looking outfits. And it would be an anchorwoman faux pas to repeat outfits too often. I try to console my husband, by explaining that nothing was bought at full price. So that I'm actually SAVING him money. Yeah, he doesn't buy that line either. He started to get fed up when the closet we shared, was more like a 90/10 split. "Can't you get rid of some of the stuff you don't wear anymore?" As if!!! But he was right. So this photo is a snapshot of how the dress section of my closet looked before my spring cleaning. A hodgepodge of hangers, clothes crammed together.

I didn't want to invest in an entire closet system. And I wasn't about to get my dream walk-in closet.Some people pin vacation spots on their Pinterest boards, but *this* is my happy place. Every now and then, I look at this photo to fantasize about what I'd really like to do with the space that is my guest room or hubby's office.

So I figured a really affordable way to organize and create more room in my existing closets would be to change out the hangers. Costco happened to have these no slip, space-saving hangers at $9.99 for a box of 35. I bought a few... hundred. Then I proceeded to swap out every single one of my hangers, color coordinating and purging the stuff I longer wear along the way. What do you know? The closet space is now more of a 70/30 split and I can actually find stuff now. Hubby was happy, happier. And I was pretty pleased with my $100 investment. Now I can turn my attention to my jewelry. But organizing that collection would require its own blog post!

Here is an after photo of the same space. Better, right?  Just so happens, the good folks at Consumer Reports did an article on low-cost closet fixes in their June 2014 issue. Here are some good ideas:

 Free or super-cheap:

  • Mason jars can be used to stash rolled-up belts, tights, and scarves.
  • Corkboards provide easy-access to jewelry particularly necklaces, earrings and bracelets; use decorative pushpins to dress it up.
  • Ice cube trays are sized just right for earrings and other small jewelry items, and they’re stackable.
  • Rubber bands can secure bulky items (such as a puffy down vest or jacket) that have to be rolled up tightly.
$25 or less:

  • Rubbermaid Flex Tote storage boxes, $8 ( can be filled with cotton items and is easier to squeeze into tight spaces than traditional storage boxes.
  • Hanger Hamper, $9 ( is a triangular bin that stores extra hangers neatly without tangling; the triangle shape nestles neatly into the corner of a closet.
  • 3M Command Hooks, $3 ( can be hung anywhere in a closet where there is a little space to hang robes, nighties, necklaces, and more.
  • Acrylic shelf dividers, $17 each ( keep T-shirts, jeans, and sweaters neatly stacked on a shelf; they can also prop handbags upright and don’t add visual clutter.

Best Closet Systems
Do-it-yourself closet kits can save shoppers hundreds of dollars over professionally installed systems.  ShopSmart  put  those  designed  for  a  six-foot  wide  closet  from  ClosetMaid,  Elfa,  Ikea, Martha Stewart, and Rubbermaid to the test.  Here’s a look at two of the winners:

Best Overall: Platinum Elfa Reach-In, $560 ( This system held all of the stuff without anything getting smooshed, plus it was the easiest and fastest unit to install (taking 35 minutes), with minimal drilling.  There is a lot of customer support – online and video directions are clear. 

Best for small closets: Rubbermaid Homefree Series, $90 ( This kit was the cheapest of the bunch and held all the stuff.  It was also fairly easy to put together, though installation time took more than an hour.

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