This month, we’re organizing your closet! Last week I wrote about how to find your closet style, because defining a goal is the first step toward achieving a goal. But whether you go for minimalism, coziness, or a total glam closet, you’ll need space to achieve it. The best way to make space is to declutter your closet!
When I work with clients, I use the acronym TRACKS to sort and pare it down to the essentials, and you can use it on your own, too.
TRACKS stands for Trash, Recycle, Action, Charity, Keep, and Sell. When I’m decluttering with someone, we go through each item and ask which of these categories it belongs in. Sorting everything into these categories is a big step towards a neat closet!
It’s the first letter of the acronym, but it’s really the last resort. Only send a piece of clothing to the landfill if it doesn’t fit in any other category.
Recycling clothes usually takes the form of donation, but you CAN reuse material in other ways if the garment is no longer wearable. Here’s a neat video about how to make t-shirt yarn! You can also cut garments into rags and use them to clean up around the house.
Clothing is an everyday part of life, which means your closet is a central part of your morning. Does it take forever to find what you want to wear each day? Do you roam the house, looking through piles of laundry for what you want? Getting dressed can be simple and stress-free, but not if your closet threatens an avalanche when you open it. A simple-to-use, calm and orderly closet? You can make it happen! Over the next four weeks I’ll take you through the steps you can take to make your closet work for YOU. The first step: find your closet style.
Why Organize My Closet?
An organized closet brings many benefits! An organized closet…
contains ALL of your clothes, so you only have one place to go to find what you need.
contains clothes you like and wear. You can go into your closet and be guaranteed to pick out something that fits you and matches your personal style.
keeps your clothes in better condition. When they’re wadded up on the floor, or languishing in the dryer, clothes develop wrinkles. The less you have to iron, the longer your clothes will last. And who wants to iron, anyway?
makes it clear which clothes are clean. When your clothes are strewn all about the house, it can be difficult to tell the dirty stuff from the clean stuff. Clothes might go through the wash two or three times! When all your clothes have a home, it’s simple to tell what’s clean.
is decluttered, meaning you have fewer clothes to deal with overall. Things might get worn more often, which gives you a chance to update your wardrobe with current styles without having barely-worn items hanging around for ages.
is eco- and budget-friendly! When you store clothes properly, they last longer and you won’t have to buy new ones. Donating items that you don’t wear gives them a chance to be loved by someone else, too. The longer a piece of clothing stays in circulation, the less new clothing has to be made. Don’t buy into the throwaway mentality of fast fashion!
How do you leave the house in the morning? Are you calm? Are you able to quickly pick up the things you need as you go out the door? Or do you run around, frantically trying to remember where you put your keys last night and forgetting your lunch on the kitchen counter?
If you have children, or need to coordinate with other people leaving the house, the difficulties are multiplied, sometimes exponentially!
So what can help you get out the door with the minimum of fuss and maximum of efficiency? I heard of one woman who was able to get her and her children out the door in 25 minutes in the morning – that’s efficiency. I confess, I like to have more time in the morning to do a few things around the house before I leave.
So what do you need to do to make your morning routine easier on yourself? Ask yourself what it would be like to leave calmly. What sorts of things would you do? How much time do you need to leave for various tasks? What things could you do ahead of time?
Here are some ideas if you are stuck.
The Night Before
Set out clothes, including ironing them if necessary
Prepare lunches, or at least gather together any uncut items – whole fruit, carrot sticks, cheese sticks, crackers, etc. – and put them in their containers or baggies.
Gather any items you will need for the next day- homework, permission slips, items for running errands, meeting materials, etc. – and put them in your bag/briefcase near the door.
I’ve written before about the best way to keep your digital files organized. Today I’d like to go a little deeper into one of those topics: using search to find files on your computer!
It’s important to keep your digital files organized in a folder/subfolder system! However, the old method of clicking through those files to find what you need is outdated. Keeping your files organized saves space on your hard drive and makes all methods of file retrieval easier, but using your computer’s built-in search function is now faster than the point-and-click route. Here are my best practices for using search to find what you need quickly and efficiently.
How to Use Search
Mac and Windows each have their own built-in search functions, and they operate in similar ways. Much like an internet search engine, you type your keywords into a search bar to find what you’re looking for.
On Mac, the global search function is called Spotlight Search. You can also look for files directly in the Finder system. To open up the Spotlight, click the Spotlight icon, or press Command + Space. Then enter your keywords to search. For some more information on how to use Mac’s Spotlight Search, click here.
Windows has its own search in the task bar, or you can press Windows + S, and enter your keywords from there. More instructions on using it can be found here.
This month we’re focusing on answering questions about organizing! Last week I wrote about what virtual organizing is, as it’s not a well-known topic. This week, I’ll be addressing another less-talked-about issue.
Here’s one of the questions I received.
“I have a chronic illness that fluctuates a lot. I wake up never knowing what kind of day I’m going to have. Is it going to be painful? Am I going to be fatigued? Am I gonna be totally fine?
I want to have an organized life, but it doesn’t seem possible for me given my illness. How am I supposed to get organized and stay organized when I can’t plan more than a few hours ahead?”
What a question! And what a great opportunity to talk about what organizing is all about.
I get the feeling that when I say “an organized life,” what some hear is “a perfect life.” That’s not quite right. Everyone goes through rough patches. Everyone encounters interruptions! No matter how organized you are, there will always be something that doesn’t go to plan. And that’s okay.
Being an organized person isn’t about being a perfect person who has it all under control. It’s about being adaptable, and learning strategies for managing the tough times when they come. So what do you do when it all falls apart?