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Spring Cleaning: Closets

By April Welch


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

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!!!
Block of time
Silenced phone and email
Garbage can
Recycle container
Black garbage bags
Containers for items during a big project

Have a productive week!

April Welch, CPO

Thanks, April!



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