My morning routine is now much easier.
When I decided to join the September #RSOrganizing Challenge in honor of our new book, The Real Simple Method to Organizing Every Room, I knew there was one space I absolutely had to tackle: my disaster of a bedroom closet. Overflowing with stuff—reusable bags, clothes I hadn't worn in years, extra duvet inserts—the task seemed so daunting I almost skipped it in favor of an easier-to-organize space. But I knew that if I actually buckled down and decluttered my chaotic closet, it would help me get ready faster (and with less swearing). Determined to wrangle my messy closet as quickly as possible during part of Labor Day weekend, here are all of the closet organizer ideas that made the space more manageable. The result: For $56 and one trip to The Container Store, I've been able to shave minutes off of my get-ready routine.
The Terrifying "Before" Photo
Before I started the #RSOrganizing Challenge, my small bedroom closet was a mess. A spare duvet insert sat on the floor, where it collected dust and also hid my shoe collection from view. I ended up wearing the same pair of sandals all summer just to avoid wrestling the mess in the morning. I had bought matching wooden hangers years ago (these from The Container Store), but each one was cluttered with multiple items and unsightly plastic dry cleaning bags only added to the chaos. Plus, every time I reached for a sweater on the upper shelf, it set off a mini avalanche. It was time for a change.
First, I Decluttered... A Lot
If you've ever done a major overhaul of your closet, then you probably already know that decluttering is half the battle. There simply wasn't room in my apartment closet for the leggings I'd bought for last year's Halloween costume and the box my new travel steamer came in. For starters, I ditched the boxes and the dry cleaning bags, then I went through section-by-section, weeding out socks that had holes and clothing I no longer wore. Two hours later, I had a big bag ready to donate to Goodwill. (Note: Even if the clothes you're donating are unwearable, Goodwill may be able to sell them to a textile recycler.)
I Stored Everyday Essentials Where I Can (Easily) Reach Them
Before the organizing began, I had a storage system that simply didn't work. Wire baskets on the shelf held underwear and socks, which were inevitably a struggle to reach in the morning. I thought I was clever to store my deodorant right where I needed it in my closet, but the ever-growing pile of clothes on the shelf would knock it to the floor almost every morning.
To corral the chaos, I first picked up a three-compartment hanging canvas organizer that clips right onto the metal bar. One drawer holds underwear and the other socks, and I no longer have to stand on my tip-toes to reach them. I then used a wire basket to wrangle the deodorant, lint roller, wrinkle-release spray, and bra-freshening spray so they no longer tumble off the shelf.
To buy: 3-Compartment Natural Canvas Hanging Sweater Organizer, $13 and Drawer Inserts, $6 each, containerstore.com.
I Added Much-Needed Storage Solutions
While I had a single coat hook on the back of the door, adding a full coat rack boosted the door's storage potential. Previously, my shoes were piled up on the bottom of the closet, but after buying a bamboo shoe rack during the Labor Day Sale, each pair of boots, sandals, and sneakers now has its own dedicated spot. Bonus: These shoe racks are stackable, so you can add on an extra shelf (or two) depending upon how big your shoe collection is.
To buy: 2-Tier Bamboo Stackable Shoe Rack, $30, containerstore.com.
Cost: $22 (on sale)
I Invested in Clear Plastic Cubes for Spare Bedding
In the "before" photo, the giant white duvet is hogging some prime closet real estate. To make better use of the space and keep the duvet dust-free, I bought a clear plastic cube cover and stashed it on the top shelf. Now, the duvet is protected, out of the way, and ready for overnight guests to use.
To buy: Clear PEVA Storage Chest, $9, containstore.com.
The Grand Total: $56