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10 tips for organizing closets

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It's so fun to organize the closet! Just kidding. It's really hard, unless you are one of those people who just naturally loves organizing. In which case, you probably don't even need to read this article, since your closet is probably already tidy and orderly.These tips are very basic tips. They are not tips for someone who is upgrading to a Carrie Bradshaw-style walk-in closet with all the bells and whistles. These are tips for organizing a crummy old closet. If your average, bummer of a closet is ready for an overhaul, use these cheap and easy tips to whip it into shape.

Put up some wire shelves: Wire shelves are inexpensive and widely available. They're also highly customizable. They come with instructions, but if you are really lousy at home improvement, any decent handyman should be able to put them up for you.

Add rows of coat hooks: Coat hooks in a closet? Make use of wall space in the closet by mounting coat hooks on its walls at different heights. Wall space in closets (on the right and left sides of the door) is sorely underused. You can really maximize your closet by making use of the walls with coat hooks.

Build closet poles with plumbing supplies: One of the best DIY solutions for closet poles is metal plumbing pipes and pipe fittings. You can use a plumbing pipe as a wall-mounted closet pole, or build your own free-standing garment rack out of plumbing pipes and pipe fittings.

Get rid of what you don't use: Duh, but it's more challenging than it looks.

Build shelving with inexpensive boards: You don't have to invest in a costly prefabricated closet kit from your local high end storage superstore. Get boards cut to size at your local lumber yard, and install them using basic brackets.

Use an over-door organizer for small stuff: Shoe bags are not just for shoes! They work great for organizing snacks in the pantry, cleaning supplies in the linen closet, or hats and mittens in the coat closet.

Add shelving to the inside of closet doors: Another cool way to use the vertical space on the inside (or outside) of a closet door is to install tall, shallow baskets or shelves. These kind of shelves or baskets are a super storage option in the kitchen, especially for small things like spice bottles and boxes of tea.

Divide and label existing shelves: Without installing new shelving at all, you can still divide up your closet into storage zones if you already have some shelving in it. Metal shelf dividers are pretty easy to come by. Invest in a pair or two for each shelf, and then label each section.

Group things by length and size: Sometimes it works best to install two closet poles; a low one for shirts, and a high one for long dresses. Or a low one for pants folded over hangers, and a high one for shirts. Whatever's clever.

Group like with like: Group items in your closet by type of item and color. For instance, hang all of the blue shirts together, or stack all of the white towels together.

So you have tips for closet organization? Share them!

Chaya Kurtz writes about everything from Seattle remodelers to green living for Networx.com.

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