Clean Closets Make a Happy Home



(Family Features)—When it comes to getting the house clean and
tidy, closets often get left off the to-do list. From hall closets and linen
closets to bedroom closets, "out of sight, out of mind" thinking quickly leads
to clutter -- and then frustration when you can't find what you need when you
need it.

But a little planning and a few simple tips can help you get
your closets in user-friendly shape in no time.

Put your closets
on your calendar.
Take stock of your schedule and commit some time to
tackle your closets. Set realistic expectations -- you don't have to conquer all
your closets at once. It may make sense for your family to forego TV one evening
a week and focus on one closet at a time, for example.

Start by

  • If you haven't worn a piece of clothing in the past year -- or you can't
    remember the last time you wore something -- then you don't need it. Other items
    to purge from your closet: children's clothes and shoes that are either too
    small or too worn out to pass down to a sibling or a friend.
  • Sort your remaining clothes by season and then into piles to keep or pass
    down. If you have limited closet space, keep only the current season's wardrobe
    in your closet. Carefully pack and store the rest for later.
  • Linen closets stay more organized when you stack similar sized items
    together. Sort sheets by size, and group washcloths, hand towels and bath towels
  • For closets that hold everything from the vacuum cleaner to art supplies and
    anything in between, work one shelf at a time. Sort items by categories and
    dedicate one shelf or area of the closet to each group.

Eliminate excess -- but don't throw it away.
As the saying goes, one man's trash is another's treasure. There are
easy ways to donate your unwanted items to benefit those in need. One example is, where you can request
pre-paid UPS shipping bags that make it simple and free to send in unwanted
clothes, shoes, accessories and household linens. Your donation benefits one of
three national nonprofits of your choosing: AMVETS, Easter Seals, or The Purple
Heart. It's tax deductible, and it reduces waste. Americans throw away an
average of 68 pounds of clothing each year. You can learn more at

up your storage.
When it's time to put things back into place, instead
of buying new containers to hold things, look around the house for boxes and
containers you already heave. Baskets, crates and even empty shoeboxes can be
reused to keep your closets more organized.

Repeat often.
You don't have to wait until the next neighborhood yard sale before you
sift through your closets again. As with most household chores, a little
maintenance goes a long way to keep your closets looking neat and clean. You
could even keep a bag in each of your kids' closets and encourage them to set
aside gently used and outgrown items on a regular basis.

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