Items that usurp floor space belong in the closet - Storing your things to make your life shine

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - Marie Kondo 2014

Items that usurp floor space belong in the closet
Storing your things to make your life shine

If you have built-in closets in your home, most of the things in your house can be stored inside them. Japanese closets are ideal storage spaces. They are deep and wide, are divided into top and bottom by a broad and extremely sturdy shelf, and have a cupboard built into the wall above. But many Japanese people do not know how to take advantage of this space. For those of you who have closets like this, the best policy is to use these faithfully. No matter how hard you might try to design some ingenious device to solve all your storage problems, the end result is almost always more difficult to use than what is already there.

The basic method for effective use of a closet is as follows. First, as a general rule, off-season items should be stored in the cupboard above the closet. This includes seasonal ornaments, skiwear, and hiking or other seasonal sportswear and goods. This is also the best spot for large mementos that will not fit in a bookcase, such as a wedding album or photo albums. But don’t put them in cardboard boxes. Instead, stand them up toward the front of the cupboard as you would books in a bookcase. Otherwise, you are unlikely to ever see them again.

Regular clothes should be stored in the closet. If you use clear plastic cases to store them, I strongly recommend the drawer rather than the box type. The instant clothes are put away in a box, they become a pain to remove, and in most cases, people never bother to take them out even when they are back in season. And, of course, fold and stand the clothes on edge in the drawer.

Bedding is best stored on the upper shelf of the closet where it is less exposed to humidity and dust. The bottom space can be used to store electrical appliances such as fans and space heaters during the off-season. The best way to use a Japanese-style closet is to think of it as a small room and to store the things inside it in drawers or other storage units. I had one client who kept all her clothes loose in the closet. When we opened the door, it looked like a garbage dump and the clothes resembled a tangled mess of noodles.

It is far more efficient to move all your storage units into your closet. This is where I usually put steel racks, bookcases, and plywood cupboards or shelves, which can also be used to store books. I also store any large items that take up floor space, such as suitcases, golf clubs, electrical appliances, or guitars, in the closet. I’m sure many of my clients did not believe they could ever fit all their things into their closet, but once they followed my method for thoroughly sorting and discarding, it was quite simple.