closetOk -- be honest. Is your bedroom closet all nice and neat and organized? Or does it more closely resemble the aftermath of a major natural disaster (like mine does)?

Every single time the seasons change, I vow to clean out the walk-in closet in my master bedroom (that you can't even walk into anymore because of all the stuff on the floor), but somehow the task never gets done. And honestly, it's because I go in there with every intention of clearing things out, but then I get overwhelmed and have no idea where to start, so I give up entirely.

But luckily for unorganized gals like me, there are people out there like Coriann Bright, a professional organizer with her own company Bright Living, who can help take the stress and guesswork out of getting a closet in order.

Here are some of her tips on how to make the process a lot easier, and much less excruciating.

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1. Let go of pre-baby body clothes - Gee, does this one sound familiar? After having babies, it's so hard to part with some of our favorite items that we wore before we got pregnant, but probably will never fit again simply because the shape of our bodies has changed. I still have a teeny-tiny pair of shorts I wore on my honeymoon that I've been clinging to, but every time I try them on, I only feel worse about the way I look. (Note to self -- get rid of those shorts, pronto.)

2. Get rid of self-esteem killers - Yeah, yeah, yeah -- I know that sweats and yoga pants are comfortable, but do you honestly feel put together and confident when you wear them for anything other than working out? I didn't think so. Stick to pieces you feel good wearing, and get your workout gear out of the mix.

3. Numbers game - Scale down your clothes so you are forced to choose from your nicer things. Using Coriann's own example -- if you have 10 pairs of jeans and 10 pairs of sweats, get rid of most of the sweats so you're more likely to pull the jeans out instead while getting dressed.

4. Donate things you don't wear or don't need - One woman's trash is another woman's treasure, right? Donating your old clothing is a great way to help someone else out and clear out your closet space in the process. You should donate anything that you haven't worn in a year, things that are two sizes too large or small, and anything with stains, holes, or missing buttons & zippers.

5. Organize your tops by type - This makes total sense, doesn't it? How many times have you picked through countless sweaters, blouses, and jackets frantically looking for a certain sleeveless top that you just can't seem to locate? Grouping different styles together makes it much easier to know where to look for your favorite pieces.

Ok, so those are some of her best tips, and here are a few more that I couldn't resist throwing in.

6. Swap new duds for old ones - A woman I used to work with about 10 years ago gave me this tip, and it's a great one (though I have yet to use it because I'm such a pack rat). Every time you buy a new piece of clothing, take one item out of your closet. This way you keep your wardrobe fresh and your space doesn't get overloaded with clothes you don't wear.

7. Hook, Line, and Sinker - I love this tip from Good Housekeeping: Mount a hook on the back of your closet door, pre-select whatever outfit you are going to wear the next day, and hang it there before you go to bed. This saves you time first thing in the morning, and also keeps you from having to repeat the process of pulling things out and putting them back during the a.m. rush, thus creating another potential mess.

8. Get into the zone - Real Simple has some great insight as to what those rods and shelves are actually for in your closet. They suggest organizing your clothes into different zones. The low rod is for skirts and tops, the high rod should be to hang shirts and suits, and the one for dresses should be eye-level. And use those high shelves at the top of your closet to store out of season sweaters, etc.

What other tips can you offer on how to get your closet in perfect shape?

 

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