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It it is so difficult to organize your closet when you don’t have room for all of your things. Your closet soon becomes a catch-all and an overwhelming mess. You need to go through, sort, organize, and get rid of half the stuff in there, but you don’t know how.
We moved from a house with a ton of closet space to a house with 3 closets. Three. One for each bedroom. We had 9. And an attached garage (as well as a detached) for all of our craft, paint, and project storage. And as a couple of DIYers we have a lot of paint, crafts, and scrap wood lying around waiting for us to turn it into something amazing.
It never occurred to me we had way more storage until I tried to find a place for everything we had hidden behind closed doors in our old house. On top of the fact that our one and only garage is now detached and not heated. So all of those crafts, paints, and everything else that cannot be frozen has to be stored in one of these three closets. Or… alternatively on the floor of my bathroom because I simply can’t find a spot for it right now.
Our two oldest girls share a closet. Our youngest has her own (which she unknowingly shares with the rest of us) and our closet? It contains all of the everything. We have crafts, paints, paper, extra pens and pencils, linens, and well… somewhere in there are our clothes.
But, with a little bit of time, some elbow grease, ingenuity, and an open mind your closet space is salvageable. You might even want to leave the door open, or try one of these fancy sliding barn doors. And I’m going to show you how.
How to Organize Your Closet in 7 Simple Steps
Step 1: Set Aside Some Time to Declutter
I know the last thing anyone wants to do is spend all day cleaning out their closet. And you don’t have to, I promise. In fact, if you’re completely overwhelmed by it, you shouldn’t try to tackle it all at once. Even just 15 minutes for one little section if you need to. It really depends on: 1) how big your closet is 2) how neglected it has been and 3) how easily you’re overwhelmed by the mess.
The method I suggest will require you to remove everything from the closet and will take about an hour if you’re diligent. However, if you cannot tackle it all at once without it being overwhelming, don’t. Pick just a spot, empty out just that area and work on it. The next day (or week) work on the next area. Clean as you go if you choose to do it in baby steps.
Step 2: Gather Your Closet Organizing Supplies
You don’t need much to organize your closet, but you do need a few simple items you already have. These will help you get everything cleaned, sorted, and put away.
- A Step Stool – so you can reach the upper shelves.
- A Basket – to toss the things that don’t belong in your closet in so you can put those away later.
- Bags (or boxes) – to place the items going out for donation into.
- Vacuum (or mop & broom) – to clean the floor space.
- Cleaning Cloth & All Purpose Cleaner – to clean the hanging brackets, shelves, walls, and baseboards (just a quick swipe, nothing fancy).
- Perhaps a Storage Basket – you will use this as your maybe pile container (explained later) if you need it.
Step 3: Remove Everything From Your Closet
Take everything out. I know, if your closet is anything like mine, that’s a lot. of. stuff. It’s okay. You need to physically handle each and every item in that closet. Just pile it on the bed so you can go through it and we will get to work. I’ll wait.
Step 4: Vacuum and Clean
Vacuum (or sweep and mop) your floors. Take a cloth and all-purpose cleaner to quickly wipe down the walls, hanging rods, and baseboards. We’re not looking for spotless, just cleaner than it probably was.
Step 5: Start Going Through Your Clothes
Fun fact: did you know American’s wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time? So, 80% of the clothes you now have piled on your bed rarely, if ever get worn. We hang on because we might wear them someday, or they’re sentimental, or they were expensive and it feels like a waste of money. You can sell your clothes instead of donating them if you prefer, but really, you’ve got to let it go regardless.
To decide what to let go of:
- Automatically purge anything you’ve not worn in a year.
- Throw out anything that is stained or ripped that cannot be donated.
- Ask Yourself These Questions:
- Do I ever wear it?
- Would I wear it in front of others? Is it me?
- Is it comfortable?
- Do I love it?
- How many do I actually need?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, let it go. If you cannot decide, create a maybe pile. And don’t throw every single article of clothing you own in it, either. I know what you’re up to. Instead, place the true maybes in a pile, place them in the storage bin (or basket) I suggested in the supplies. When we start putting things back in you can place that bin up high on the shelf for one month. If you never even consider wearing it in that one month time, donate it.
Step 6: Remove The Unnecessary
Don’t keep paperwork, bills and other miscellany in your closet (unless you absolutely cannot help it). Anything that doesn’t belong in your closet that has somehow become trapped there goes into the basket to put away later. If you have bills in your bedroom closet or other paperwork take it out of there. Keep what you can in a digital file and what you cannot needs to either go in a fire safe (such as birth certificates and other important docs) or filed in a milk crate and left in your office space. You don’t want that stuff in your bedroom. I explained why in how to declutter your bedroom.
Step 7: A Place for Everything & Everything In It’s Place
Pick a spot for everything to go in your closet. Here are some tips on how to keep it well-organized and easier to find your things:
- Place the most used items at eye level.
- Group similar items together.
- Place less used items on the floor.
- Use things like boxes, cubbies and tiered shelves for shoes, belts, sweaters, or other accessories.
- Store the least used items on high shelves.
- This is a great place to store out-of-season clothing. Place it in a bin and put it up on a high shelf in the closet. Then, it doesn’t crowd up useable space out of season.
- Use your door, you can store shoes, belts, ties, jewelry… if you don’t install one of those fancy sliding barn doors, that is….
- If you do not have a lot of closet space and store things like crafts in your closet, use baskets and bins and create a shelving unit (or use stackable totes) to keep it neat, tidy and organized. Label it, keep like items together, and put your most used items easily accessible and put the infrequently used items in a basket up high.
I know it can be difficult to find a place, but with everything out of there and a lot of it gone, it’s easier. And I can totally relate if you don’t have space to keep just clothes in your closet. No judgement.
Tips to Keep Your Closet Decluttered & Tidy
You got it all done! Congratulations!! You should seriously reward yourself with some nice hangers. They last longer. But, you want to keep it that way so you don’t have to do it again. Here are some tips.
- Apply the one in one out rule. Make sure you’re not adding a bunch of stuff and not taking anything out. You will quickly run out of room again. Just make sure if you add something, you remove something.
- Take out anything that’s ripped or stained.
- Take the time to put everything up and hang it up when it gets clean.
- Leave a nice hamper in your closet or right there by it in your bedroom to put your dirty clothes in.
- Spend 15 minutes every week or two keeping it cleaned up, incase you got behind and didn’t put the laundry away… I get it.
How do you keep your closet decluttered? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!