My closet is relatively clean … except for my shoes, my jewelry, and the two high shelves I throw things on because I’m just too short. Which leads me to realize my closet is actually far from organized.
Thankfully, I recently interviewed Leanne Jacobs, professional organizer and owner of Organize & Decorate Everything. She offered some great tips for creating an organized clothing closet. What I realized very soon after our conversation is just how much organizing one’s schedule and life is just like organizing a closet: Protecting your roles uses the exact same principles.
Here are four organizing tips to apply to both your closet and your calendar.
Closet tip No. 1: Designate a space for the most important things
According to Jacobs, we wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time. This means you’ve got things that you don’t use very often taking up valuable space in your wardrobe.
Our lives are no different. As a time-management mentor for moms, I have seen firsthand just how many women fill their entire schedule with activities that mean very little to them — only they don’t realize it. As they explore the things that are really important to them, the things that they really value, it becomes clear where they want to spend their time versus where they actually spend their time.
Scheduling tip: Fill your time only with the activities and roles that are most important to you.
Closet tip No. 2: Organize your clothes, shoes and accessories into like items
This makes complete sense. If our closet is a mix of random items, we will never find what we need or we will waste too much time looking for our left shoe (and then our mind). When we keep all of our shoes together, for example, we can also begin to see what we actually need and avoid spending money in the future on a “want” rather than a “need.”
Just as you need to know how many sweaters or pairs of shoes you actually have, it is also important to notice all the different roles you play in your life and the activities you have in each role. Too many roles will guarantee you a spot right in the middle of chaos.
Scheduling tip: Identify the different roles you have and organize your activities under each role.
Closet tip No. 3: Create space in your closet
In addition to keeping like items together, Jacobs even suggests creating space in your closet for things you want to donate, things that need repair and things that don’t actually belong to you but have migrated into your space.
Roles are responsibilities we have, and activities are what we do in each of those roles. The most common roles are those of parent, spouse, home manager, employee and volunteer. When our role list moves beyond six or eight, we can feel the pressure of the things we need to do weigh very heavy on us.
If we use an evaluation system like Jacobs suggests, we can begin to clear the clutter in our roles just like we do in our closet. First, identify the roles that you need to eliminate or release from your life. Maybe a youth coach or book club coordinator would fall into this category. Second, determine if any of your roles need repair. Have you neglected your role as spouse? Maybe you’ve even neglected your role of individual (Yes that role really exists and it’s actually the most important.) Finally, look for any roles or responsibilities you have that don’t actually belong to you and happily give them back to their rightful owner.
Scheduling tip: Create space in your life and pay attention to the roles that are most important to you.
Closet tip No. 4: Organize clothes by color
Though it may seem like more of a hassle to keep organized, Jacobs insists color-blocking your closet will help you find matching outfits more quickly and save time overall.
This works with your calendar too. Each day, create blocks of time for specific responsibilities, or roles, and then assign each role a different color. At a glance you’ll easily see where you need to be and what you need to do.
Scheduling tip: Assign different roles different colors on your calendar.
Now we just need to figure out the correlation between wearing cute shoes and wearing comfortable shoes.