(ARA) - Thousands of Americans are hiding a dirty little secret -- a messy closet. If you're guilty of living with constant clutter -- whether it's the overstuffed hall closet, kitchen pantry or garage -- it's time to get organized, and there's help. Organizing clutter can actually lead to a more organized life. The trick is to get rid of anything you don't need, and to find a permanent "home" for everything else, according to Will Shewalter, a closet designer for Schulte Distinctive Storage, a manufacturer of innovative home storage and organization products. He offers the following advice:
* Create a checklist identifying your goals and specific tasks, whether it's tackling all of the sporting equipment and gardening tools in the garage, or whipping your linen closet into shape. This plan should include a checklist of items that you want to keep and toss, along with a realistic timeline to keep you on track.
* Set up storage stations and assign various items a "home" in each room or space you're organizing. For example, in the laundry room, use ventilated wire shelving and drawer basket systems to store detergents and fabric softeners, and to separate your lights and darks. Look for versatile drawer basket systems like Schulte's Stor-Drawers, which come in many sizes and configurations, and have the added conveniences of solid tops and wheels.
* Clean as you make your way from room to room. Holding onto things you don't need or use only creates chaos and clutter. Take inventory and get rid of things you haven't worn or used in a year. Separate items into boxes marked "Trash" and "Donate." Keep only those items that you need and use every day or season. Seldom-used or seasonal items can be stowed away in the basement or garage on a shelving system.
* Maximize space in bedroom closets with a flexible storage system. "When you open a closet, and everything is organized, it immediately reduces stress and brings a sense of control to your life," says Shewalter. "Style is also important to the consumer, especially those who want their closets to blend with the rest of a room's décor." Schulte offers the freedomRail adjustable storage system in three attractive finishes -- cherry, maple, and white with coordinating contemporary styled hardware. The system provides all of the beauty of a custom-built closet with the added benefits of easy installation and adjustability. Once the hanging rail is installed, all components can be moved or reconfigured so you can modify your closet as your storage needs change.
* Consider your needs in your design. Do you need plenty of shelves for sweaters? More shoe racks than drawers? Additional rods for suit jackets and pants? Everyone's needs are different, according to Shewalter. Schulte has made it possible to design your closet with their "Design It Yourself" feature at www.schultestorage.com. Simply enter your closet measurements and select from a variety of closet designs based on your specifications. A Parts and Price List is shown for every design created online, so you know what your investment will be in advance. Shewalter says upgrading your closet is not only an investment in your home, as it increases the value of the home when it's time to sell, it's also an investment in your sanity.
* In the garage, search for durable systems that can handle larger, heavier items such as power tools and home improvement supplies. Schulte offers freedomRail Garage, an adjustable storage system featuring cabinets, shelving and a complete line of storage accessories like tool hooks and bike racks. The system removes everything from the floor and enables you to safely and securely store everything from golf clubs and camping equipment to lawn chemicals and paint in the extra-wide GO-Boxes (Garage Organization Boxes). And, once you're organized, your cars can go back into the garage.
* Eliminate unnecessary clutter in the kitchen and pantry. Maximize cupboard space by placing canned foods, snacks, soda and spices in the pantry on adjustable, ventilated wire shelving. Be sure to look for epoxy-coated shelving over vinyl coating. Epoxy-coated shelves are more durable and won't discolor, chip, crack or peel. These can be found at stores like Organized Living and Do-It-Best Hardware stores, which carry a wide variety of organization solutions.
For more storage solutions from Schulte Distinctive Storage, log on to www.schultestorage.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content