In the "after" picture from this same viewpoint, you'll see that I started by removing the items from the basket and making the basket the permanent home for nothing but her extensive collection of hats! The items that had been on the two shelves under the window were sorted. Many of them were boxed and included in her hall closet. (See previous blog about the "junk" closet makeover.) Other odds and ends were placed in cute baskets on the shelves that previously housed hats. Clothing pieces that had been placed amidst the hats were neatly folded and placed in the canvas baskets beneath the window. Both sets of baskets were found at Wal-mart and were relatively inexpensive. Be sure to measure your space to make sure the baskets will fit BEFORE you purchase them. As I sorted through the closet contents, I found many different purses and handbags - all in different locations in the room. I found a great hanging purse file at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $7.99 and used it to house the purses. The pockets are large enough to fit most bags.
These next "before" shots reveal her hanging clothes. Because they were not organized in any way, it was difficult for the owner to find what she needed AND she was unable to get a good picture of what she actually owned. When clothes are all mixed up like this, you may find yourself buying pieces you don't really need or forgetting about some of your old favorites!
I began by sorting the clothes by style. All of the strapless shirts were hung together, as were the sleeveless shirts, the short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, and sweaters. Pants, shorts, and skirts were done the same way. Then, within each category, I sorted by color. For example, all of the client's black pants were hung together. When I finished, she realized that she had over 10 pairs of black pants. Now she's ready to purge and will have great yard sale items! I also used all new hangers to create a sense of continuity and visual order in the closet. These white plastic hangers are only $1.17 for a ten-pack at Target. Replacing your hangers may be something that you don't want to budget for all at once, but you can buy a pack a week and have a nice, neat closet in no time at all.
So, what happened to all the items that were overflowing in the large basket on the floor? I actually sorted them into four medium-sized wooden baskets that we placed on the shelf above the hanging clothes. These baskets came with liners we had monogrammed so the contents would be easy to find: winter accessories, swim suits, cover-ups, and summer bandanas and accessories. This part of the project was the biggest expense because they were high quality baskets and we had the additional cost of monogramming. However, they were a needed element to make the project complete. If you are on a tight budget, try to shop around and look for sales and clearance items. Occasionally, stores like Michael's will have 40% off sales. If you are patient, you can find good deals!
Whatever your budget and whatever the size of your closet, you can use these basic concepts to create order instead of clothing chaos!