Organize a Closet

3 Clever Ways to Ensure a Tidier Closet
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Helping your loved one stay organized can eat up hours of your time each day. Try these clever ideas:

1. Let there be light.

Sometimes closets get unruly because nothing can be easily found. Your loved one may reach for item after item, questing for the right one. Solution: Add some light.

Stick-on LED lights (also called stick-and-click lights) are an economical, easy option to add lighting in hard-to-reach places. (They work well inside bathroom cabinets, too.) To turn the light on, you simply press it with your hand.

2. Find what works -- and eliminate the rest.

Minimizing the number of options in the closet is the quickest path to easier cleanup -- at any age.

Chances are good that your loved one is hanging onto many items that haven't been worn in a long time. Physical limitations may have made pull-on garments or shirts with many tiny buttons too complicated to mess with, for example. Or fancy clothes may no longer match a more close-to-home lifestyle.

Figure out what works best for your loved one now: Snap-front housedresses? Slacks without belts? Cozy cardigans with zip fronts? Stock the closet with two or three options of these most-worn clothing items, and clear out the rest.

Worried about resistance? Tie the change to a seasonal shift. Move all the extras to a spare closet or box them up, if your loved one isn't ready to part with them altogether. Fewer options means less mess.

3. Think hooks, not hangers.

Some older adults don't have the stamina to hang clothes back on hangers -- so they wind up in a heap at the bottom of the closet. Hanging everything back up makes more work for you to do. So why not ditch the hangers altogether?

Hooks are a great clutter-free alternative. Screw large hooks in your closet wall within easy reach for your loved one. (White hooks are especially easy to see.) Many people find it much easier to hang sweaters, pants, housedresses, and other items on individual hooks rather than to mess with hangers.

Worried about humps in their garments where they were hooked? Most humps disappear after a few minutes of wear. For the rare exceptions, try a quick spritz of wrinkle-release laundry product, then smooth the area with your hand; most humps and wrinkles disappear.