Summer to fall transition is ideal time for closet makeover

By: Sarah Wojcik | C&G Newspapers | Published October 20, 2020

Shutterstock image

METRO DETROIT — The leaves are turning colors and falling, pools are closed for the season, and we are still in a global pandemic.

Some of the extra time at home — which now often functions as an office, a recreation center, a gym and a school — could be spent revamping cluttered closets.

As Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither does your closet need to be transformed in 24 hours.

Corie Conroy, the president of First Impressions Home Staging in Bloomfield Hills, identified several small and cost-effective ways to gradually create a more organized, appealing and functional closet.

One simple tip, Conroy said, is to replace wire hangers or other mismatched hangers with matching wooden hangers. Packs of wooden hangers are available for sale at stores and online for affordable prices, and they add instant appeal and uniformity.

“In personal use or with home staging, wood hangers are a great idea to automatically upgrade closets. It’s also a bit better for clothing, and it’s simple to do,” she said.

Another tip Conroy offered is organizing clothes by sleeve length — sleeveless, short or long — as well as color categories.

“Organizing by color categories kind of helps when coordinating an outfit, so you know exactly where clothes are,” she said. “I also don’t recommend putting heavy items like heavy sweaters or coats on closet hangers. They take up a lot of space and sometimes tend to stretch things out a bit.”

She said she reserves such items for shelves and drawers, where they are easy to find and conveniently located.

“This helps cut down on the mess on a room chair where you throw clothes on. You’re more likely to put things away if it’s easy, convenient and not overcrowded,” Conroy said.

She also advised organizing shoes heel-to-toe to save room, as well as from light to dark and from high to low heel in order to pick out the proper heel length for a particular clothing item.

“One factor people don’t really think about is lighting. Really adequate lighting, such as a daylight bulb or something a little brighter or even adding more lighting, makes a huge difference and just makes it so you can see more of what’s going on and helps keep things more organized,” Conroy said.

As far as children’s closets, Conroy recommended creating an organization system that is easy for kids to navigate.

“A lot of times, an open shelving system in a closet is a really good idea because then they can put things on shelves and see everything,” she said. “Hooks are great for coats — they’re something that makes it easy for kids to put away.”

She added that it is good to teach kids early on how to fold clothes and organize things so they take pride in their rooms.

“I always organize things by season. If it’s summer, I store shorts toward the top of the drawers and heavy pants toward the bottom, so you automatically go toward the easier drawer,” Conroy said. “Space-savers bags that come with a vacuum are a really good idea. You can take blankets and crush them down to save a lot of space. I use those all the time and take things out seasonally.”

For other closets, whether in hallways or kitchens, Conroy recommended establishing a system of organization that groups and labels like items.

She said she likes to use labeled bins for items such as medicines and thermometers. Another tip, she said, is to fold a matching sheet set nicely and store it in a pillow case, eliminating the often frustrating task of locating a wayward pillow case.

“I use the label maker for the kitchen pantry, and sometimes they change. Because I’ve been baking more, I needed a bigger and better baking bin,” Conroy said. “Labels help somebody trying to help you in the kitchen or watching the house or kids when you’re not home.”

With many families’ busy schedules suddenly confined mostly to their homes, Conroy said interior design and do-it-yourself projects have rapidly picked up.

“Supplies are more and more limited in home improvement stores,” she said. “I think organization does take a lot of stress off. (Clutter) causes stress that you can’t see, and having an organization system definitely makes it easier to be home and just makes you feel (more peaceful).”

According to a Menards press release labeled “How to Love your Closet,” the home improvement chain offered several tips for functional, tidy closet space. According to the release, the top two prerequisites are planning and tough love.

The release recommends consciously purging, or going through everything one by one and donating or selling what no longer flatters, fits or brings joy. It encourages closet purgers to “be ruthless,” ditch anything covered in dust, and recycle torn or broken items.

It also encourages placing items worn most often front and center.

“You wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time,” the release states. “Sort items by type, such as button-down shirts, dress pants, casual pants, etc., and maybe sort by color.”

It advises storing off-seasonal clothing out of the way, such as under a bed or elsewhere, in plastic bins with labeled lids or on adjustable shelves.

Lastly, the release recommends tossing one thing to make room for a new purchase in order to maintain the newfound tidiness.

“Keep a bag in your closet for donations,” it states. “Wall hooks are useful for not-quite-dirty clothes, keeping them off the floor. They can also hold jewelry, belts and random items that might start the clutter.”

Jeff Abbott, a spokesperson for Menards, touted Dakota Closets, which are exclusively available at Menards.

“Dakota Closets are an easy way to update any space to maximize storage and can be wall mounted or floor standing, depending on your needs and layout,” he said in an email. “Dakota Closets will help you organize and maximize the usability of your closet space and come with predrilled uprights to make adjusting the height of the shelves, wardrobe rods and accessories quick and easy.”

He added that Menards offers a variety of accessories, including drawers, shelving, rods, hooks and more.