Closet rescue

For many couples in this age of downsizing, the days of his-and-hers closets may be over.

If you share space with a significant other in an older house, in all likelihood you're both crammed into a single clothes closet, wrestling for hanger space. And the divide is not always clear. One partner may start encroaching on the other's space. Over time, a clothes closet can become so crammed it's hard to see what you have, and clothes can get wrinkled, damaged or "lost."

The soution, professional organizers say, begins with a hard purge and negotiation.

"It's really about coming to grips with the volumes of stuff people accumulate," said Kathleen Crombie, an Oakland-based organizer who helps people all over the Bay Area wrestle with their mess. "And it's one of the biggest obstacles for most people, making decisions."

It is possible, however, for couples to find peace around their respective stuff.

"Most folks don't utilize closets very efficiently. So we try to help them understand the things they use on a consistent basis should be closer and easily accessible," she said.

Crombie will lead a workshop on "Helping Couples Meet Their Organizing Goals" when the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers — the second largest chapter in the U.S. — converges on Santa Rosa Nov. 2 and 3 for a regional conference.

While geared to organizing professionals, the conference also is open to the general public. It includes sessions packed with tips to help people get control of their stuff.

There also will be sessions dealing with organizing photos, using technology to organize, eco-friendly organizing and feng shui.

And on Friday, Scott Roewer of Style for Hire, a network of personal stylists led by Stacy London of the TV show "What Not to Wear," will co-lead a workshop on "Wardrobe Wisdom: Every Day, Every Way, Every Woman," with tips on creating a closet filled with clothes you really will wear.

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