Does throwing open the doors to your closet every morning inspire excitement or dread? "Women don't realize that your state of mind is often linked to the state of your closet. If it's a mess, you feel like a mess," says Melanie Charlton Fascitelli, author of Shop Your Closet: The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Closet With Style. "But when your clothes are presented in an orderly fashion, you're instantly more relaxed and confident."
If you've been putting off closet cleaning because you don't know where to start or think it will cost too much, it's time to kick the task to the top of your to-do list. This step-by-step plan, culled from top closet cleaning pros, will help you clear out clutter with a minimum of anxiety and cash. And who knows, your newly tamed closet just may become your favorite spot in the house.
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Peter Walsh, the organization guru on the TLC show Clean Sweep, believes the key to closet cleaning bliss is facing this hard truth: "The amount of clothing you own has to be determined by the space that exists in your closet, period." Start by pulling everything out, make separate stacks for shoes and different types of clothing (pants, suits, formal wear, you name it), then measure the length, height, and depth of the space you have in your closet. (This may be the point at which you say, "Ugh, I don't have time to do all that!" But trust us, better to spend two hours on a rainy weekend than 20 minutes every day rummaging through your clothes.) Take the dimensions of your closet with you to purchase any organizational items you might need (see step two). Walsh estimates you can fit the following into each 1-foot span: 12 pairs of pants, 15 shirts, or six jackets or suits. This should give you a general idea of how much stuff you'll be able to get back in your closet.