creating a user-friendlyWhen people ask me where to start organizing, if there are several areas that need to be streamlined, I recommend the master bedroom or master closet because these are, most likely, the two areas you see first thing in the morning. My organizing philosophy revolves around my simple 4-step C.A.L.M. technique that supports relaxation of the brain and harnesses increased focus and energy to spend on more fulfilling pursuits.

While we may try to ignore clutter consciously, our subconscious is on-call 24/7, taking note of all that surrounds us. The calmer our environment, the less brain power is wasted on cataloguing our surroundings in its ongoing effort to ensure we are safe. Clutter creates anxiety within us regardless of whether we allow ourselves to feel it. Chances are if we don’t feel anxious about the clutter, that anxiety is playing itself out in some other area of our lives. So let’s venture into your closet and create a calm and functioning environment for you to enter into in the morning. I like to say, seeing and feeling calm breeds being calm.

Think of your closet as your favorite boutique and organize it accordingly. Remove all the empty hangers; we don’t see empty hangers in stores, do we? Then, separate your pants and your tops, and categorize the tops by sleeve length first and color second. Retail clothing stores merchandise by color story just as I am recommending you create in your personal boutique. You will be amazed at how much calmer your closet will feel after this first step.

I prefer to hang my pants on skirt hangers for two reasons. Firstly, it takes up less space and, secondly, prevents a horizontal line from forming in the area where the pants have been folded. That being said, it’s a completely subjective preference. What I do recommend is that you either hang them my way or folded across the hanger to keep ‘your system’ consistent. If you have double bars, hang your blouses above the pants. If you have a walk-in closet, hand the shorter things closer to the door, with the longer items at the back, to create the illusion of greater depth in your closet. Aren’t you starting to see the picture now?

A big tip, to help you become aware of the twenty percent of clothing you wear eighty percent of the time, is to turn all your hangers around so that they hang over the bar from behind. When you wear an item, you then replace it in your closet with the hanger hung over the bar in the traditional way. After six months, you will be able to see what you are wearing and what is taking up precious real-estate in your closet.

Most importantly, have consistency with whatever hanger style you choose. Pick one kind (thin felt, transparent plastic, or another kind you like) and use it for all clothes rather than mixing different types of hangers. Clothes hang differently and at different heights when ‘any old hanger will do,’ unnecessarily taxing your brain while looking for an item of clothing you want to wear. It confounds me how beautiful clothes end up on wire hangers. Clothes on wire hangers look sad and tired. Who wants to pullsomething out of the closet to wear that looks sad and tired? Treat yourself and buy some clear plastic hangers, now available and sold in bulk at both retail and discount stores. And while you’re changing out those old hangers, might there be any clothes that could be donated and enjoyed by someone else more frequently who is in need?

Once you have reorganized and categorized your clothing items in the manner above, think about those things that make it fun to visit retail stores and integrate those ideas into your closet. A few examples of this idea are as follows:

* Does your favorite store have a pleasant scent whenever you walk into it? Consider getting an oil diffuser with reeds to place inside your closet. I have mine on the dresser near the door to my closet. I love that first delicious fragrance that I get when I walk in.

* Do you have a fancy pair of shoes that make you happy just to see them? Instead of storing them away until the next appropriate affair, find a place to display them so that you can enjoy their beauty year round.

* Have you ever been getting ready to go out and been hit with a fashion crisis, when nothing you try on seems to work? And with every outfit, you get more frantic because the time you need to leave your home is getting shorter and shorter? By the time you do leave, your cast-offs are strewn around your room waiting to deflate your enjoyment of the evening! The solution to prevent this scenario from happening is to install a rod, or better yet, just get one that hooks over your door. When an outfit doesn’t work, hang it on the rod, and come home to a bed you can climb into peacefully.

When organizing any area of your home, a great tool to use is modeling what you see and admire, be it in a retail store or in a magazine photo. Organizing is less about reinventing the wheel and more about putting your personal spin on creative ideas that we see around us.

To your success! Bust your clutter and increase your joy!

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