Nobody likes to spend time in the closet, as many Hollywood celebrities can attest. It’s dark. It’s cramped. It’s depressing. But the fact is, cleaning out your closet can be one of the most liberating things you can do for your apartment, your life and yourself. And organizing it the right way can feel downright fabulous.

So even though the weather is gorgeous outside and you’re busy with work, social life and all the demands of your hectic New York City life, set a date to do battle with your closet, and keep it. Here’s how:

Set the Mood

photocred: moneycanbuylipstick.com

photocred: moneycanbuylipstick.com

Again, unless you’re a professional organizer, working in your closet sucks. So look at the weather forecast and choose the next rainy day off to do your organizing. Put on comfortable clothing, crank up the AC and blast your favorite radio station, podcast or recording. (We recommend the Hamilton cast album. It’s long, upbeat and totally captivating… perfect closet organizing music.)

Toss, Donate or Store

uiowa.edu

photo cred: uiowa.edu

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Closet organization begins with decluttering – and that begins with getting rid of anything you don’t want or use regularly. So take everything… literally EVERYTHING out of your closet, start the sorting process. Nearly everything you no longer want can be donated. Anything that’s really damaged, torn or stained can be tossed. (Why were you holding on to it anyway? Eww.)

The rest you should put in storage. Winter clothes – especially shoes, boots, coats and sweaters – take up an enormous amount of closet space. So get yourself a Personal Closet at your friendly neighborhood self-storage location, and let your closet breathe during the warm months of spring and summer. Come cold season, you can do a swap – moving all your warm-weather clothing and equipment into storage and returning all the winter stuff to your home closet. Clever, right?

One last point here: Your bedroom closet should be for clothing and accessories only. Anything that belongs in the bathroom, the kitchen or the living room should go into those rooms. (Of course, your options may be somewhat limited if you live in a studio apartment, but read on for tips that can help you regardless of your apartment size.)

Organize Up & Down (Instead of Across)

manhattan-closet

photocred: bravotv.com

We know – some New York apartments have higher ceilings than others. But regardless of your ceiling height, use every inch of space. Don’t have a shelf above the hanging rod in your closet? Build one. A shelf that’s even six inches high can hold lots of shoes, bags and other accessories.

Similarly, think about the closet space below your hanging clothes. You can buy inexpensive and lightweight drawer units at places like the Container Store or Bed Bath & Beyond. Fold everything that doesn’t need to be hung and store it in these drawers.

Match Your Hangers

Speaking of hangers, make sure all of yours match. This may seem totally OCD, but actually, coordinated hangers that are all the same size and shape will fit much better in your closet than uncoordinated ones, creating more space. So pick yourself up a bunch, like these from IKEA.

To further maximize your closet, face all your like clothing the same way. (We know – more OCD behavior.) In other words, if one shirt, blazer or dress hangs with its front facing left, hang all of them with their fronts facing left. And keep your clothing categorized; it will make it much easier for you to pick out a pair of pants if all your pants are hanging next to one another, rather than randomly spread out on the hanging rod.

Become a Hooker

photo cred: st.hzcdn.com

photo cred: st.hzcdn.com

Hooks can save your life. And they don’t all have to go in the closet, either. Attach hooks to any door or wall in your apartment, and use them to hang belts, ties, scarves, hats, robes or anything else. Now, this can get messy if you’re not careful, so don’t overload your hooks. But if you plan carefully, you can actually turn a wall of your apartment into a fashion showcase, turning your storage into stylish wall art!

The point is, think out of the box… and out of the closet.

Let There Be Light

If at all possible, install a light in your closet. We know – you’re not an electrician. But you probably know someone who knows someone who is. But let’s say installing a light is out of the question; no problem. You can purchase these battery-powered, stick-on LED lights and light up your closet. Trust us, it’ll make it much easier to keep your closet clean and organized. Plus, you’ll be able to find stuff… even if you’re looking for it in the middle of the night.

Have any organizing questions? Our storage experts are happy to help! Just give ‘em a call at 212-STORAGE.