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How often have you cleaned a room by throwing stuff into a box and shoving it into the closet? Unfortunately, the closet becomes a place where we put things that we want to get out of sight. It can be impossible to keep you closet neat and clean when you don't feel like you have a place to put everything. You may have been tempted to hire a closet or a home organizer. You can actually do a lot of organizing on your own if you use your imagination and follow these simple guidelines.

1) The closet is not a receptacle for junk. Don't allow junk to enter your closet. Start being conservative with what goes in and you won't have to start from scratch very often. Empty the closet out and determine what you really want to keep in there. Shoes, clothes, accessories, luggage, and other common items generally can be stored in any closet.

2) If you don't have enough room, get creative with storage space. Large, shallow containers fit nicely underneath beds and couches. You can store your out of season clothing underneath furniture, in garment bags or in the garage or basement if you have to. Only allow things that fit correctly in your closet to stay.

3) Make sure that your stored items are safe. You wouldn't want to go get your winter clothes out of the garage and find out that they have been chewed up by bugs, molded, or mildewed while in storage. You may have heard that you can place dryer sheets with fabric softener into your closets and storage containers to keep that fresh clean laundry smell. Don't do this unless the sheet doesn't touch any of your clothing. The chemicals in the fabric softener change when they are exposed to heat and humidity. They will leave a waxy residue on your clothes and damage certain fabrics. Use cedar as an alternative, because it absorbs moisture and repels pests. No more musty odors!

4) A popular option for storing clothes is a double bar rolling rack. Some fold, so you can store them when they are not in use. Hanging clothing that is out of season will ensure that it doesn't get wrinkled or damaged while in storage. Use high quality clothes hangers, like wooden hangers or cedar hangers, to make sure that your clothes don't end up on the floor. Cover the stored items with a garment rack dust cover to keep out pests and moisture.

About the Author: Jo Granville is on the staff of Only Hangers, a leading online retailer and manufacturer of well made clothing hangers.