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Spring Cleaning: Closets

By April Welch

Dilemma

Are you looking around and feeling a little suffocated by what lurks behind those small abysses of a space called the closet? You're not alone! Many of my clients will pass up closets during a home tour as if it was a part of the drywall! Not to worry, we are going to break down those anxiety ridden jitters and arm you with some great strategies.

Things you might see/feel in the space:

• Closets you don't want to open because you KNOW they are a catch-all
• Frustrated by how many times you've tried to organize them and they are still cluttered
• More of the wardrobe you wear is on the floor or piled on a chair than actually hanging up
• Purchasing multiples because you know the item exists somewhere, but its easier to just go buy another than to dig

Solution/Strategies:
   
Envision what you want the space to look like when you're done with the project
• First, remember ~ no one really lives in those organizing ads ... be realistic
• Next, pay attention to how you "live" in this space ~ no need to work against yourself!
• Finally, find habits that work and accommodate them ~ if kids don't like folding towels - put hooks up and let them hang!

Determine the "work" area - staging
• Where will everything be put while you work your way through the space?
     • a close by hallway
     • the bed
     • laundry baskets with signs

Know what your charitable choices are before you begin
• It's easier to let go of items when they have a value/purpose beyond yourself

Sort according to the purpose of the space
• Should this stay here? Or does it belong somewhere else?

When it comes to the wardrobe
• Realize, you will want to celebrate losing the weight with a shopping spree!
     • Let it go while it's still trendy enough for someone to wear
     • Rely on your charitable choices and donate to places you support
     • Local shelters
     • YWCA/YMCA
     • Local high school drama departments
     • Goodwill or Salvation Army

Keep a "too small" bin handy for kids and store a "grow into" section in the taller area of their closet

In the linen, consider color coding
• Establish 'zones' for mulit tasking the space

Pantry can be sectioned according to a grocery store theory or a restaurant theory
• Decide which one
• Grocery Store Theory - categorized by items (canned goods, dry goods)
• Restaurant Theory - categorized by recipes or meal type (Italian, Thai, Mexican)

Evaluate the contents of the coat closet and eliminate items that were passed up this season as you put them away
• Don't forget the above mentioned options for donating!

Check for expiration dates on all things in the bathroom cupboards - like medicines and cosmetics
• Create a caddy for the laundry room closet
• Placing commonly used cleaning supplies in a caddy keeps it mobile enough use and contained enough to find!

How the kiddos can help:
Give them pieces of the job
• They can be your runner or timer
• They can scavenger hunt for their belongings as you pull things out

Put them in charge of delegatable tasks
• Let the teenager deliver the Goodwill donation
• Let the adolescent load up the car
• Let the toddler retrieve the black sack for the donation items

Ask them what they think
• Allow them to contribute their opinions - especially in their own rooms!
• Be sure to stay open minded and really listen to what they say - WITHOUT any reactions

Provide them with tools
• Give them a bin or location for items that are too small

Explain the process to them
• When working with middle school clients I find that understanding WHY is the one part of the process that is overlooked - take the time to answer their questions and help them comprehend what's going on

Discuss your families charitable choices
• Listen to their thoughts regarding options for the donation pile
• They may have a friend at school who's family has been touched by our economic stresses
• They might know if their school or community is looking for specific items for projects

The important skills we're focused on teaching the kids this week are the following:

• Capacity
• Maintenance
• Sorting
• Like with Like
• Function and purpose of space
• Global problem solving
• Respecting our space
• Respecting others challenges

Supplies to consider:
    
Good Sense of Humor!!!
Flexibility
Block of time
Silenced phone and email
Garbage can
Recycle container
Black garbage bags
Containers for items during a big project
Music
Beverage
Snack

Have a productive week!

April Welch, CPO

Thanks, April!



 
 

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