Mom’s Closet: Newly Refreshed or Nostalgic?

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There are many downsides to having a disorganized closet, including frustration, stress and being chronically late. According to a survey conducted by ClosetMaid, a leading maker of closet organization systems, one in four American women say their closet is unorganized and nearly half report that they lose something in their closet at least once a month. If your mom’s overcrowded closet is weighing her down, a makeover could be one of the best Mother’s Day gifts she’ll ever receive.

Before you start organizing your mom’s closet, spend some time helping her get rid of clothes, shoes and accessories she no longer needs. There are different approaches for paring down a wardrobe. Bestselling author Marie Kondo instructs readers to remove every item from the closet, dump it all on the bed and then make a piece-by-piece decision about what stays and what goes. In her Netflix special, this effort was a transformative experience for Kondo’s clients.

A slower but still effective approach is to help your mom go through her closet in sections. Set aside a couple of hours at a time to sort a specific type of clothing such as jeans, dresses or T-shirts. Help Mom come up with a criteria for keeping or discarding an item, such as getting rid of everything that she hasn’t worn within a certain number of years. The Kondo system instructs organizers to keep only items that bring joy when worn. Either way, the goal is to donate wearable clothing your mom doesn’t plan on wearing again and discard things that are no longer wearable.

Here’s a word about nostalgic clothing. Many of us want to hold onto outfits that we wore on special occasions or that made us feel really good at a certain time in our lives. Your mother may have built up quite a collection over the years. Instead of hanging this kind of memento clothing in her main closet, see if your mom is comfortable with moving it to a drawer or storage box. Putting a limit on the amount of storage for memorabilia, such as just one box, will help keep her from saving too much.

Once Mom has purged unwanted items and limited her wardrobe to only items that really matter to her, you can think about the best way to store it. There are a wide range of closet organization systems for both walk-in and reach-in closets available from Elfa, IKEA, California Closets, ClosetMaid and Rubbermaid. Closet system cost ranges from affordable to high-end.

If you’ve got a big budget, you can get experts involved and order a custom closet. This service typically involves meeting with a closet designer to explore storage options. You’ll be shown drawings or a computer model of your finished design and your custom storage system will be professionally installed. Some of the special features available with custom closet designs include pull-out clothing racks, shoe shelves, purse hooks and padded jewelry drawers. A hidden laundry hamper or fold-down ironing board can be added to help with laundry.
Dedicated do-it-yourselfers can put together their own closet storage system using individual pieces or a kit. Both ClosetMaid and Rubbermaid offer DIY storage solutions through online retailers or in stores such as Home Depot and Walmart. These systems typically include racks and shelves made from vinyl coated steel that can be configured to store long and short hanging garments as well as folded sweaters and tops.

When moving clothing into a closet with a new storage system, create a uniform look by grouping like types of clothing together, such as all the pants together. This will make it easier to for your mom to find a particular item when she wants it.

You can still give your mother a closet makeover with a limited budget. The key is making small upgrades to her existing closet system that will have a big impact on her ability to keep things organized. Start by adding drawers or shelves for bins to hold smaller items that don’t fit on hangers. Speaking of hangers, replacing a random assortment with identical plastic, wood or velvet hangers can have a big impact on eye appeal. If space is at a premium, hanging canvas shelves are a great way to store sweaters your mother wears year round. Put winter sweaters in canvas boxes or drawers to avoid stretching from hanging.

The finishing touch to a closet makeover for Mom is to add some style and glamour. For a designer touch, add tassel trim or bows to bins. Transform a walk-in closet with a small chandelier or an animal print rug. If room allows, add a tufted stool where Mom can sit to put on shoes or just enjoy the closet view. ■


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