Getting in shape in 2014? Give your closet a workout, too

Getting in shape in 2014? Give your closet a workout, too

How are those New Year’s resolutions coming?

Getting organized is second only to losing weight as the top 2014 resolution, according to, citing a study conducted Jan. 1 at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
If you’re a clothing, shoes and accessories hoarder and one of your resolutions is to get rid of closet clutter, help has arrived.

We asked wardrobe and design experts to offer tips on the best ways to keep the clutter at bay. All you have to do is decide on the strategies that work best for you, and then hop to it.

Housecleaning and Design

Fashion enthusiasts hire Sarah Eppard of Closets by Design of Minneapolis/St. Paul (800-293-3744; to organize and build their dream closets. Whether hiring a pro or going it alone, Eppard offers plenty of design ideas for making life, and finding buried shoes, easier:

  • Dump the dust bunnies. At least once a year, give your closet a complete cleaning. Wash or vacuum the floor and dust shelving and walls. It’s a way to bring you face-to-face with your belongings and motivate you to get organized.
  • Find the right home for your stuff. Find a place other than the bedroom to store such items as photo albums, exercise equipment, outdoor coats and vacuums. It’s also important to discard things you no longer want or need. If you haven’t worn it in a year, you probably won’t wear it anytime soon. Donate items to a good cause or take newer, gently -used clothing to resale shops for some extra cash.
  • Create space with a closet organizer. You’d be amazed at how much you can fit into a space by installing an organization system. With more shelving, extra drawers and shoe racks, clothing for all seasons can fit neatly into one closet. Consider clear front drawers and shelf containers to make it easy to find pieces. Label containers, boxes and shelves for quick reference for remembering where everything belongs.
  • Make the most of vertical space. Especially with small closets, installing slanted shoe shelves, double hanging rods and other storage features allows you to maximize space.
  • Utilize the walls. If shelving does not work well for a section of a wall, consider a Slatwall paneling system. Hooks, baskets and other attachments can be added to Slatwalls according to your needs.

Editing Your Wardrobe

Senior stylist Tim Creagan of Minneapolis-based Style-Architects (; 952-956-2621; offers these tips for getting your closet and wardrobe in shape.

  • Edit for clarity. Scrutinize every item in your closets, drawers and wherever else you put your clothes. Ask yourself why it’s in your wardrobe. If items are in poor condition, do not fit, need repair or are something you don’t wear, pull them out of the pile and place them in bags labeled according to destination: donation, resale, a person who likes your hand-me-downs or a tailor.
  • Organize for simplicity. Group clothing together by style: T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, skirts, pants, dresses. Then organize by color: light to dark, left to right. It will make finding pieces and getting ready much easier.
  • Keep what you need close at hand. If you store wardrobe pieces in multiple places, take what you wear most often and keep it close to where you get ready every day. Store items you rarely wear farther away. For example, formal wear you might need only once year can be kept in another part of the house. This will free space in your primary closet.
  • Have “looks” at the ready. Take time to put together a few fresh looks. Hang them together by outfit. Then, on those days when you are in a rush, you will have a complete look with accessories ready to go. This is also a great way to start using pieces you might not wear as much as you’d like.
  • Use proper hangers. Store knits on padded hangers, clip pants at the waist, and keep jackets on wood hangers. That way, you won’t be running for an iron or putting a jacket over a sweater with stretched-out shoulders.

by Nancy Ngo

Originally printed in the St. Paul Pioneer Press | January 24, 2014

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