Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 3, 2013

Every woman's dream closet

Local mother and daughters share tips for organization

For the Daily Telegraph

—  In Marilyn Tinder’s home, sweaters, arranged by style, then color, look like soft pastel clouds. Scarves, rolled and tucked, shine from a bed of satin and silk. Shoes line up perfectly. Dresses and suits hang from the closet, ready for a night out. The organization is reminiscent of a storefront — everything is folded, tucked and meticulously arranged in order.

A perfect and well-organized closet is every woman’s dream come true. Tinder’s daughter Cathy Bailey, 53, of Bluefield, said everybody wants to spring clean and organize to make life easier.

“If your house is in order, nine times out of 10, your life is in order,” Bailey said.

Tinder, 85, of Bluefield, said the overhaul of her closets, drawers and bedroom started a few days ago. Her daughters, Beth Lipton, 62, along with Bailey, took control. Lipton, who is from Los Angeles, Calif., said the family has a system to the madness, which starts by tossing everything — sweaters, purses, shoes, tops, dresses, pants and more — into the floor. Then, the piles are divided into three categories — belongings to reorganize, things to donate and items to give away to friends and family.

“We found 310 shoes from as far back as 1980,” Bailey said.

The sisters said organization doesn’t have to be a dream. Lipton said you have to make the task at hand — whether overhauling a complete bedroom or simply a closet — a fun, family affair.

“Put on some music, dance around a bit and get to work,” Lipton said. “Make it fun. At 5 p.m., have a cocktail.”

A former stewardess, Lipton said she picked new ways to organize during her travels. From folding sheets to scarfs, she said everybody has a trick.

Here are a few of Lipton and Bailey’s tricks for a better closet:

Be a shoe queen:

Start with black and then progress to more colorful shoes. Place one shoe with the toe pointed towards you. Turn the mate the opposite way. Not only will you be able to select the proper shoe, you will create more space, Bailey said. Slippers should always face with the heels out so a person can slip them on with ease.

Get new hangers:

Want to create a seamless look? Buy new hangers. Lipton choose black felt hangers for pants and white felt hangers for dressy shirts. Arrange all clothes by color.

Create more space:

At the top of the closet, create two different spaces.

“Put something in the middle — a vase or a book — to separate,” she said. On one side, Lipton stored Tinder’s sheets. On the other side, she arranged purses.

If you have the space, designate a separate closet for dresses and suits. In this closet, Lipton arranged everything by color. She placed dressy shoes underneath. Instead of lining shoes up row-by-row, she used a shoe organizer, but left empty racks to create an illusion of space.

Fold with care:

Instead of folding everything flat, Lipton said a key to wrinkle-free clothes is rolling shirts. Lay the shirt down, fold the sleeves in and create a square. Then, starting from bottom roll the shirt up. Scarfs, socks and other items can be rolled as well. Sheets can be packaged together like a present. Fold the top sheet into a large rectangle. Place folded pillow cases on one side. Place folded bottom sheet on the other side. Create a package by bringing the top sheet together into a smaller rectangle.

Put up a display:

In the corner of her closet, a pair of shoes stand out among the rest. They stand alone on top of a shoe box, taking up a corner of the closet. No one can remember the brand name, but every female in the family has danced and played in the clear and gold shoes. Lipton calls them “glass slippers.” Tinder said the shoes are more than 30 years old. All three women — mother and daughters — have worn the shoes. The granddaughters of the family have also slipped their feet inside the familiar dress shoes.  

“These mean more to me and my family than anything else in my closet,” Tinder said, holding the shoes to her chest.

You can do the same with shoes or jewelry.

Make it fun:

Turn on the music, Lipton said. And ask for friends’ advice, tips and help. Lipton said her friend Linda Martin helped a lot with the project. Another good idea is to make the event about family. There are a lot of memories in closets — like Tinder’s favorite shoes. Consider selling on Ebay, but only if you are sure you have in-demand items, Bailey said. The last piece of advice? Be serious about what items are really a part of your wardrobe.