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13 People Tell Us Their Space (And Money!)-Saving Closet Tips

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I wrote a few weeks ago about my closet cleanse. It is kind of funny (not LOL funny, but pathetic-as-fuck funny), that weeks after posting that article, my ~closet cleanse~ is still not really done. In fact, I’m sitting on my bed (yes, I write from my bed and not my desk, because working remotely means bed = desk sometimes) staring into the natural disaster that is my closet. My closet houses many things: clothes, mostly, but also other random disastrous shit, like boxes full of old paintings, lots of extra sheets even though I only have one bed (???), notebooks filled up during previous semesters of school that I’ve kept on the off-chance that I need a piece of information from my sophomore year geology class someday — you get the point. I’m a low-key hoarder, and it needs to stop. I even have two (yes, two!!!) bookshelves in my closet that I am storing shoes on. How and why did I put actual pieces of furniture in a non-walk-in closet? I am at a loss.

So anyway, I took to the World Wide Web for some light Googling on how I could most efficiently organize my closet. (For reference, it is a weird-ass closet. It is very wide, but not very deep. It also had an inconveniently placed pillar of wall in the middle, breaking it into two sides with one hardly usable middle section.)

When confronted with too many minimalist blogs claiming I’ll feel ~totally cleansed~ if I just bite the bullet and get rid of literally everything I own except for a single marble cup full pencils and a scroll with some quote about how free my soul is in beautiful hand-lettering, I decided to just ask my own Email Squad for assistance. And boy, did they deliver.

I’ve got many different friends with many different personalities and many different homes (and therefore, many different closets), and each of them seems to have their own way of keeping it clean and functional. Some (like my best friend Maggie) live by a system of “keep the closet clean by throwing everything on the bedroom floor”, while others are actual Ikea Queens and Container Store Masters. (In fact, one of my closest friends worked at the Ikea restaurant for a while. $1 breakfast, y’all!)

Anyway, I asked all of these folks for some tips that I could pair with my minimalist-chic Internet tips, and the response, although mildly hilarious, was actually quite helpful – and easily applicable on an un-minimalist, un-chic lifestyle. Here are all of my new tips to clean up my life.

1. “Okay, I have one for sure. The thing that changed my closet the most was taking my damn shoes off the floor. It seems like the best spot for them but it is ugly as shit. And the shoes get unpaired and then you can’t find the match when you need it. I’ve definitely purchased new shoes before because I couldn’t find a match and that’s a damn waste of time and money. Those over-the-door hangers for shoe organization are also ugly as sin, so I think the best thing is to have a shoe rack or shelf. They have different sizes, tall or long depending on your closet size and the amount of shoes you have. Also on the topic of shoes, I think people declutter clothes a lot, but not shoes. No point keeping running sneakers from 10th grade or high heels you wore to one wedding. I think people totally forget about shoe-closet-cleaning.” — Isabella

2. “I double-hang things. I’m not sure if this actually keeps my closet clean, but it makes it look like I have less stuff hanging since there are half as many hangers as I need. This is actually probably stupid. It is like covering my messiness with a band-aid. Don’t listen to this tip. I mean, I saved money on hangers.” – Annie

3. Milk crates are my favorite thing. They’re not aesthetically pleasing, but they’re sturdy, they fit a lot of things, they have holes in them so you get a pretty good view of what is in each one when you’re looking for something, and they stack on top of each other perfectly. My closet is full of them. I keep clothes, shoes, and other miscellaneous items in them.” – David

4. “I bought a really expensive textbook a second time because I lost it in my closet. Then I found it and returned the book, and got back like $245. Moral of the story: closets are for clothes, not important things, like money or textbooks or like, adult paperwork.” — Rebecca

5. “My closet is a place for stuff I like/use/plan on accessing often. All other junk that is just shoved in there and never touched can be a) put in storage, or b) thrown away. I suggest going through every single item as unemotionally as possible and just seeing what you’ve been holding on to for no reason even if you haven’t touched it in years.” — Josh

6. “I actually have one of the clothing racks that bloggers always have. It might be an eyesore to some people but I like to see my favorite clothes on it, and it makes getting dressed easy because I keep just my current favorites and essentials on it. It keeps my closet a little tidier too because I keep 10 or so pieces at a time on the rack.” — Christie

7. Command hooks! They just stick on. You can hang so much stuff, bags or belts or scarves or whatever.” — Margaret

8. “I’m not sure if this counts, or if everyone does this, but I have those space bags that I put all of my off-season clothes in and vacuum all the air out of and then slide them under my bed. I have tons of clothes too, but having the ones I’m obviously not going to use for a while (like all of my sweaters in the summer) out of the way helps me.” — Kate

9. “Doing exactly what you’re doing is the best way to get a handle on it. Be a pro editor. Clean the closet often and it’ll never have the chance to get messy.” — Jess

10. “So, in my opinion, the closet is never messy if you can’t see the mess. I have a lot of stuff and am sort of a hoarder with things, but I keep everything put away so you can’t see it. I just have storage cubes lining my entire closet with those fabric drawers in them. I have so much stuff but since it is all put away, it always looks clean.” — Maria

11. “You have to keep your shirts buttoned on the hangers, or else they’ll fall off and your closet floor just becomes an ocean of shirts.” — Mike

12. “I’m an advocate for those clear acrylic containers you can buy on Amazon or maybe at Home Goods – they just are a good way to store things, especially smaller things that you’d lose in your closet. I like that they’re clear, because even though it sometimes can look messy to see all of your stuff, it is still cool to be able to like, see your stuff in the container and know it is there.” — Jill

13. “I never run out of hangers when I need them, and I never spend a cent on them, because I get them all for free at the store when I go shopping. Pretty much every store will let you keep the hangers if you ask. I have at least one hanger for every item of clothing I own. Well, at least the ones that were on hangers at the store. The others I just keep folded. Closet hack and money hack!” — Michelle

Mary is the summer Media Fellow at The Financial Diet. Send her your summer intern stories (your lessons, failures, triumphs and good advice) at mary@thefinancialdiet.com

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