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Closets and Drawers

Clotheskeeping, Special Issue 1998

Ten Tips for Organizing Your Closets
Storing your clothes well means they'll always look their best. And if you organize your closets and drawers, you'll find you wear more of your clothes more often.

1. Divide the closet into zones, and use three short rods rather than a single long one. Hang dresses, robes, and coats from one high rod; hang blouses and short items from another high rod, and skirts and folded slacks from a low rod below.

2. Group clothes by color.

3. Stack cubbies across the closet floor to create space for shoes.

4. Make sure shelves are adjustable, and line them with smooth vinyl matting, usually used to protect drafting tables. Cut the matting to fit each shelf, and fasten it with double-sided tape.

5. Clean garments before storing them for the season. Sugar stains (such as wine) can set and spread over time. View our stain chart for information about treating stains.

6. Remove dry-cleaning bags, which trap moisture; use fabric bags instead. And don't store wool or silk in airtight containers -- they need to breathe.

7. Line very light garments with acid-free tissue.

8. Fibers can dry out if the closet temperature is consistently above 75 degrees.

9. Never let mothballs touch clothing; hang them in old socks or hosiery. If you suspect moth infestation, dry-clean clothes, and wash closet with mild soap and water.

10. Before storing heavy coats, stuff the arms with acid-free tissue.

Do You Know?
Cedar discourages insects but it must be kept fresh and dry; use a dehumidifier, or turn on a low-wattage bulb from time to time to burn off humidity in cedar closets.

 Organizing Dresser Drawers
These strategies will help you organize your dresser drawers:

Accessories Drawer: Line shallow top drawers with velvet (use archival glue to back the velvet with poster board). This will provide plush support for delicate items such as scarves and jewelry. Martha likes to use small aluminum containers with transparent lids to store notions.

Sweater Drawer: Use a deep drawer for sweaters -- never hang knits -- and place cedar blocks inside to fend off moths.

Knitwear, Stockings, and T-shirts: Create removable compartments that fit your clothes (place small boxes inside drawers for items such as underwear and socks) and make the fewest folds possible in order to reduce creasing. Line the drawer with acid-free tissue paper.

Pants Drawer: Save a drawer for khakis and jeans. Acid-free paper will protect them from splinters and acids in the wood.

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