If you’re like most people whose clothing closets don’t look like what we see in magazines or the ‘California Closets’ website, don’t worry! You’re not alone.
In fact, if we took a photo of the majority of American families’ clothing closets, we’d see those spaces full to the brim of clothing, shoes and accessories, with little to no room for all the various items.
Why is that? Is it because there’s not enough closet space? Or not the right amount of built in drawers and closet shelving? Or is it that we have too much clothing, shoes and accessories in the first place?
Honestly, while all of that plays a role in how our closets could be better organized, if we’re going to be REALLY honest, the core problem to disorganized closets doesn’t have to do with the size of closet, storage accommodations or even all of our stuff. You want to know the core of the problem? It is YOU.
I know, I know, maybe not what you were expecting from reading a closet organization blog post, but it is the absolute truth. Take it from someone who spent years and years of trying to keep up with the closet clutter and could never seem to sustain it long-term. Many weekends of my life were spent “cleaning up the closet” and making it look beautiful and functional, only to find a few months later, my closet falling trap to clutter and disorder once more.
How many of you have experienced the same? Time and again trying to clean out your closet and get it all organized, only to find it fall right back to the cluttered closet again.
This is where we have to change our mindset from “I just need to get rid of some stuff” or “If I could just install some better closet shelving and drawers”… to “I need to change how I put my things away” and “Change some of my habits.” When it comes to LASTING Organization, this is the first and most important step; recognizing that the real solution of organization comes from YOU! If YOU can change your organizational habits, YOU can also create that long-lasting order you want, not only in your clothing closet, but in every aspect of your life.
So, if you’re ready for the real solution to closet organization, here are the TOP 6 THINGS YOU can Start Doing with Your Cluttered Closet TODAY:
1. Start with YOU
Recognize that if we want our closet to stay organized, we must stay organized ourselves!
As much as we’d like our clothing to magically fold or hang up itself, we must be the one who puts our clothing away. Make a goal to “leave no clothing behind” (sorry, bad pun) and pick it up off the floor each day. I’ve always had a rule to never go to bed until all my clothing has been properly put away where it belongs. Stick with it and see the magic of a clean closet really appear!
2. Categorize Your Items
Looking at a closet full of clutter can overwhelm your mind. So, make it easier by categorizing your items into various piles, such as tops, pants, dresses, shoes, scarfs/hats, socks, and so on. Don’t move onto the next category of clothing items, until you’ve completed one category. This will keep you on task and your mind organized as well.
By the way, make sure when going through categories of clothing items, you collect ALL your clothing throughout your home (including seasonal clothes, shoes, holiday/special occasion clothing, or jackets hanging up in your mudroom). You’ll be surprised how much you really have!
3. Do I Love It or Need It?
These two simple questions are all you need to ask when going through all of your items. As you pick up an item, simply ask yourself these two questions. Do I love wearing this? Do I really need this? Be aware, these questions seem basic, but pay attention to the way these questions prompt your thoughts and even emotions as you go through your various items. If you have an item that’s a ‘maybe,’ keep in mind that ‘maybes’ usually aren’t worth keeping around. If it’s not an easy, “Yes, I love this!” or “I use this a lot and need it often” then it’s most likely a no.
4. Get Rid as you Go
Keeping items around in a bag is dangerous. Most people end up keeping the bag or riffling through items a second or third time. Give your brain a break and just let it go! Remember, that item has a purpose and should be used…if you’re not using it, then donate it to someone who will. Taking a quick trip to the dump or donation center will ease your mind and complete the letting go process. Don’t wait, throw the un-needed items into a bag and in the back of your car.
As a side note, don’t leave bags out around kids! They will start rummaging through the bags and can create quite the mess.
5. Use Logic when Storing your Items
Do you prefer hung up clothes or folded clothing? Do you like storing clothing into drawers or open containers? Do you like having your shoes in your closet or by the garage door? When determining where to organize your clothing and accessories, make sure you’re using your own logic so you can continue to maintain the order you want to have.
So often, I see people trying to organize their closets based on what others do, a magazine article or what their Mother-in-Law says is best. While trying out new methods of how to store items is highly encouraged, YOU are ultimately the one who knows what works for you, your closet and lifestyle, so give yourself some credit. Try different ways of storing your clothing and see how it goes. Change things around if needed, but trust your instincts.
6. Use What You Have
While it’s tempting to head to the nearest store to grab storage containers, label makers, or spend a lot of money to have a fancy closet shelving system installed, look around your home first for storage containers you can use. Even laundry baskets can be great storage containers.
Getting color coordinated baskets and labeling things is great, but before you spend money getting MORE STUFF, use what you already have around your home. I especially recommend doing this as you are testing your closet’s new organization system. Make sure the way you are storing clothing is working FIRST before ever going out to buy containers, baskets or hangers.
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Keeping our closets organized is simple. We like to complicate our closet clutter by blaming the closet’s size, too many clothes or not enough shelving for our disorganization, but as said before, that is not the core to the problem. It is YOU that needs to make change, not only on how you declutter and reorganize your closet, but what new habits you’ll create to keep your closet clutter-free for years to come!
You’ve got this!
Your closet thanks you in advance.