Create a clutter-free closet

From outdated and oversized clothes to overlooked urns and misplaced heirlooms, the closet can become a tangle of all the detritus of life.

All that disorder will cost you time and energy, said Melanie Walker, professional organizer and business owner of Neat Method Las Vegas.

“A closet can turn in to a catch-all, with all the stuff from our lives stuffed in there because we just don’t know what to do with them at that moment,” said Walker, who has found everything from a client’s deceased father’s ashes to shoes piled to the ceiling in closets across the valley. “It’s uplifting to tackle all that clutter and make sense of that space, make it a place you want to walk in to.”

Every day, Walker tackles all aspects of organizing the home for clients around the valley, but the closet tends to be the most difficult and the most beneficial.

“Even opening your underwear drawer should make you happy,” Walker said. “Who wants to spend time digging through clothing that is too small, too big or, what we call, well-loved but is really worn out? An organized closet will save you tons of time when you can easily see and find all of your things.”

The average American loses about a year over their lifetime looking for misplaced shoes, sunglasses, coats and other items, according to U.S. News &World Report. Gaining back some of that time isn’t difficult, but it does require skills.

Walker has organized many homes in Las Vegas, but the closet tends to be the most problematic area in most.

“When we confront our closet, we confront a lot about ourselves,” she said. “It can be very emotional.”

A Neat Method walk-in closet makes the client feel like they are in their favorite clothing store. Negative items are chucked and loved items take center stage.

“A cohesive closet starts with matching hangers,” Walker said. “A black velvet, slim-line hanger and hanger clips saves space and it gives you that streamlined boutique look. Your clothing will thank you.”

For advanced closet organization, those who truly cherish their clothes and want to enjoy the morning rush routine, consider turning your closet into a rainbow of textiles. Roy G. Biv makes a beautiful closet, as in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

“First arrange them by garment type, then in sections and go from lighter to heavier fabrics,” Walker said. “Skirts, sleeveless tops, dress pants. Then arrange them by the color of the rainbow, starting with white at the beginning and black at the end. It’s like merchandising your own closet.”

Tackling folding can bring beauty to what tends to be a wadded mess that eventually ends up on the floor of the closet between the scattered shoes.

“Instead of stacking shirts and work-out pants that topple over, fold each garment neatly and vertically like a file,” Walker said. “Use acrylic drawer dividers to keep your garments filed away perfectly. It’s surprising how super easy it is to keep up.”

One of the more annoying inhabitants of the closet is clutches and purses. They fall over onto the shoes, gather in corners and generally cause a big mess.

“I once restyled a closet where the client had over 30 clutches strewn in rubber bins,” Walker said. “We’re talking YSL, LV (Louis Vuitton) and Gucci bags. After she edited them down, we purchased acrylic magazine racks from The Container Store to keep her clutches in tiptop shape and beautifully on display.”

She also turns to purse pillows, or old shirts, to keep large handbags plumped up and in shape while they rest quietly on a shelf waiting for their next daylight debut.

Shoes are always on a client’s list of frustrating closet residents. They fill the floor or are trapped in boxes that never see the light of day.

“Create a display of your shoes by style and then color-code them,” Walker said. “If you’re tight on room, use shoeboxes to stack and rotate by season or place them heal to toe for more room. Boot holders will keep your boots upright during the down season so you don’t get creases.”

You can also hang boots or cover a pool noodle in a black sock to put inside your boots and keep them upright and crease-free.

The little things should be loved just as much as the suits, weekend attire and favorite jeans that fill your closet.

“Store scarfs, winter hats and gloves, belts and swimwear in decorative baskets lined on a high shelf,” Walker said. “Label them for a high-end, efficient boutique touch.”

Line up your bras by style and color to help keep their shape and gather sunglasses and other small items you regularly use, and tend to lose, in an open acrylic box for easy grab-and-go.

The final touch is a simple hook, either on the inside of a door or at the base of a tall shelf.

“Boutiques display an outfit on a display hook and that makes the clothes more appealing,” Walker said. “Install valet bars or simply an over-the-door hook and you’ll be prepared, wrinkle free, for tomorrow.”

Cleaning out and stepping up the closet’s cache is an ongoing obsession for Larry and Megan Huegel. The married couple has been busy streamlining other people’s clutter for more than 15 years as co-owners of California Closets Las Vegas.

“Every customer is different and we work with each customer in different ways to accomplish what they need,” Larry Huegel said. “We get that amazing feedback of how their lives have changed when their closet is organized. That is what makes it all worthwhile to us every day.”

Within the squashed confines of an as-yet organized closet, the Huegels often find some difficult issues that the client hasn’t dealt with, from holding on to outdated clothing that was expensive or still has the tags to recognizing a new person in the mirror after weight loss or other life change.

“We had a client who just couldn’t get rid of her old size 16 clothes,” Megan Huegel said. “We helped her realize someone else could enjoy them, someone who needed them. She just needed someone to tell her that, and really to give her permission to move forward.”

Sometimes cleaning out your own closet can feel overwhelming, which is where the skills, attention to detail and desire of the trained couple comes in to play.

“We define the most important spaces of your home,” Larry Huegel said. “It’s a really rewarding job.”

Hiring a consultant can speed the daunting process. The Huegels can suggest better organizational tools, such as slim line hangers and the right sized rack or bins to maximize your space for your essentials.

“We have a very lengthy questioning process to find out more about who you are and what you need,” Larry Huegel said. “Once we know how you need to work your closet, we get a system that works for you and isn’t difficult so you can use it for a lifetime.”

California Closets is known for its versatile lines and range of materials in economical to high-end designs for organizing home spaces.

In Las Vegas, clients clamor for decorative and functional pieces. A well-made and designed laundry hamper is a popular request as it can make organization easy from the time the item lands in the hamper to when it effortlessly finds its way back to its assigned spot to be used again without a hunt.

“Another popular item is the ballet rod, which allows you to put a hanger on it and set your outfit out the night before so you are organized first thing in the morning,” Megan Huegel said. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment at night and in the morning you feel ready to go.”

They can also assist with the surprising emotional feelings that come with pulling out the past and looking toward the future.

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