Get organized like a pro with these expert tips.

“I always describe closets as prime real estate,” explains Kashmir, founder of Vancouver Organized Chaos. “By organizing and making them functional, we’re really able to recoup some of our square footage.” That’s a win for any condo dweller, but especially for those in Vancouver’s hot real-estate market.

Nevertheless, organizing doesn’t come as easily to most of us as it does for Kashmir, who long ago learned the art of “using every little bit of your home that you can.” The organizing pro spent hours rearranging her bedroom and ordering her movie collection as a child, and that passion for tidiness has never petered out.

After years of providing her organizational skills to family and friends, she officially opened her business in 2012 so that other Vancouverites—famously pressed for space—could benefit from her services. “I love the before and after,” Kashmir says, explaining what keeps her coming back to clutter control, filing systems and junk drawers.

With her tips, you’ll love it too.


1. Start from scratch

Begin with “the bones of your closet,” emptying the contentsto see what storage configuration might work best. From there, you can determine whether you need a custom closet solution or if something as simple as a bookcase might do.

2. Consider maintenance

A colour-coded closet looks beautiful but can be hard to keep up, Kashmir says. “You need to ask yourself, ‘Is this something I can follow through on?’”

3. Forgo boxes or baskets

When it comes to organizing essentials, clear plastic storage totes are the way to go so you can actually see what’s inside. “They hold a lot of weight—and they’re stackable,” Kashmir explains.

4. Commit to a hanger

Wooden, felt or cheap white plastic: whatever your preferred type of hanger is, make sure you stay consistent. Even different brands can contribute to a cluttered look: clothes may hang higher on one and lower on another.

5. Repurpose shower hooks

Kashmir recommends this inexpensive hardware for hanging bags. Just thread the handles through the hook and clip to the rod for a display that’s as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing.

6. Organize clothing by weight

“Start with sweaters, transition into longer sleeves, and then finish off with your dress shirts and tank tops,” Kashmir says. “This will allow you to find the item you’re looking for really quickly.” Pants and skirts should all hang together, too—invest in specific hangers with clips to help store them neatly.

7. De-clutter and donate

Even the most committed pack rat can find a way to purge: just give any extra items to family and friends. “It doesn’t feel like you’re losing the item because you’re actually able to see it recycled,” Kashmir says—although donating to charity is another option she recommends.