Competition season after competition season, you sit down and devise incredible new routines. From contemporary routines full of flying silks to full productions numbers with stage settings and large props, you’re probably collecting new performance “accessories” all the time. After a competition is over, you don’t want to get rid of them, though! What if you want to revisit a performance with a future class of dancers or repurpose them for other routines?

So, you accumulate a prop closet. Wonderful! Now, the tricky part–how do you keep it neat and useful?

Define Your “Zones”

If you were to take everything out of your prop closet right now, you would probably notice that things tend to fall into categories. You might have a sizeable stash of small, handheld props, a few major props, some stage background elements. You don’t have to take everything out of the closet to discover this (though you might want to), but taking the time to realize what these natural categories are will help you define “zones” to organize your closet into.

Having clear “zones” in any closet system is important because they make it easier to locate things when you need to take something out of the closet and they make it clear where new items should go as your prop collection grows. Don’t mix zones! It will only cause a cluttered closet later.

Move Your Shelves Around

Look at your shelves. Do you have large gaps above stacks of props or bins? Do you have shelves that are empty because they are too small to put anything in? If you do, it’s time to change things up. You don’t have to get new shelves unless you want to. Instead, adjust your shelves, don’t be afraid to raise or lower them or even add shelf dividers to make sure that everything fits neatly into place without wasting any valuable storage space.

Keep Important Things Within Reach

Think about the props that you use most frequently. This group probably includes things like ribbons, flowers, maybe even canes for tap routines. Whatever your most frequented props are, make sure they are the easiest to reach. If you have to reach up high for your favorite props, or if they’re hidden behind other less-used props, you’re going to find it hard to motivate yourself to be constantly digging them out and putting them back. Put them in an easy-access place.

Match Your Organization Tools

Keep any hangers, bins, clips, etc. matching. This will make your closet look amazing, but it will also save you space. Matching storage elements tend to stack, hang, and generally fit together more neatly while mixed and matched tools might battle for different amounts of space.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.