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Streamline your style: Tips to help organize your closet and home

3News Style Contributor Hallie Abrams meets up with a local organization expert to learn how to eliminate visual clutter and create systems you can stick to.

CLEVELAND — With the start of a new year still upon us, and the urge to spring-clean ramping up, this is the perfect season to get organized.

3News Style Contributor Hallie Abrams met up with The Neat Method Cleveland owner Lisa Hudak to share some simple steps you can apply to any space in your home that needs to be streamlined.

"Letting your eye be able to rest visually within your home, whether it's in your closet, your kitchen, or your pantry, really helps give you that ease of mind and helps you maintain your lifestyle quickly, easily, and seamlessly," Hudak explained. "So we say, if your countertops and your spaces are clear, it helps clear up the mind."

As a professional stylist and owner of The Wardrobe Consultant, Hallie says that while she spends lots of time in clients' closets, her focus is on the clothing. 

"The actual organization is not my lane," she said. "I help decide what stays and what goes. And so it's a little different. [Lisa and I] each sort of compliment each other."

And although they have different areas of expertise, both Hallie and Lisa agree that creating systems you can stick to makes all the difference.

"When something comes into the home, whether it's the closet or the pantry or the laundry room, and knowing where it goes....because there's a system as opposed to, okay, what do I do with this? And then it winds up in a junk drawer." Hallie said.

Lisa pointed out that organizing also helps with redundancy in purchasing.

"You actually are then spending less in the long term because you have items that aren't expiring that are being shoved in the back of your pantry or clothing that isn't being worn."

So, with those ideas in mind, Hallie and Lisa got to work in Hallie's closet - using the four simple steps of The Neat Method as a guide.

First - remove everything.

Lisa suggests pulling all of your items out of the closet or drawers and into a completely different space with enough room to really evaluate your items. Then start going section by section to assess which items stay and which will go.

And if you need a little help deciding what to hang on to, that's where Hallie's expertise comes in. She even has a free downloadable guide on her website with a flow chart to help you through the process.

Step two - categorize and color code.

This is part of the process where you can "prettify" your space. Lisa always suggests her clients use matching slimline hangers for visual organization and to maximize space. She also had Hallie turn her hanging clothing toward her to better see what she has. They also decided to categorize Hallie's hanging items by long sleeve, short sleeve, blazers and workout wear.

"We try to put things color-coded by category. So again, you can quickly scan and see whatever type of item you're looking," Lisa said.

Then, it's all about containing.

"One of our main tips and something that's easy for anyone to implement is leveraging baskets to contain your folded items," Lisa told Hallie. "This really helps to reduce the visual clutter letting your eye rests and the space looks like tidier and cleaner. But then also when everything's folded, if you pull one here, you're not going to mess up a whole stack and have this whole stack come tumbling down on you."

That will help reduce the likelihood that you're actually going to refold the whole stack, and keep it neat and tidy, Lisa added.  

And finally - don't forget to label all of those baskets, too.

"[Labeling] helps with any seasonal switches. Let's say now that we're in the cold winter months, you may have scarves, winter hats, things of that nature. And your lighter items or bathing suits may be kind of tucked away," Lisa said. "All you've got to do, is switch out the baskets, switch out the label, and the system stays in place. So it really helps you maintain it throughout the whole year."

When it comes to other rules to live by? Both Hallie and Lisa agree - if an item doesn't make you feel good, it shouldn't be in your closet. Lisa suggests keeping several bins tucked away - one can be for items to donate, one to resell - one can even be for items that need to be dry-cleaned or repaired.

"It can be a beautiful basket that kind of goes with your aesthetic, but every time you are putting your laundry back or getting dressed, you kind of are scanning your items and doing that ongoing purge so that you're making sure the closet doesn't kind of swell and get kind of out of hand," she said.

But if you’ve let things get to that point - don’t panic. As Hallie said, she's seen it all inside clients' closets, and it's always a no-judgment zone.

"And we are really here to be your trusted advisor and to again, help calm the chaos and make you feel that weight being lifted off your shoulders of seeing that your space is clutter free and not filled with items kind of taking over your home," Lisa added.

So whether you’re doing it yourself or bringing in the pros, both Hallie and Lisa agree - spending the time to get organized is so worth it.


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