If you ask me what tends to be the most cluttered part of my home I’ll blurt out “My closet!” without even thinking about it. In many homes this seems to be the case. How do you declutter an area that seems to accumulate “stuff” quicker than any other space in a house? When we no longer have space on our counters, tabletops, or even dressers, we seem to push this stuff (or, rather, shove this stuff) into our closets. We figure out of sight, out of mind. But then the moment we need something from that closet, we’re quickly reminded of the disaster that lies behind those doors.
I recently went through and decluttered all the closets in my home. There’s a few things I found to be very effective in decluttering the space, and keeping it clutter free. My process was tackling the space head on, not allowing myself the time to procrastinate.
How to declutter your closet:
The first thing I did was pull EVERYTHING out of the closets. Hangers and all. I then swept and mopped the space, in addition to wiping down the door, shelves… everywhere. This space was spotless by time I was done.
When done: Consider this space a blank canvas, giving us the ability to start fresh in the space.
Once I had cleansed the space, I turned around and was greeted (or perhaps tormented) by the amount of clutter that sat on the floor and bed in my room.
It was time to tackle the clutter that used to be in that space.
I sorted the items into 3 piles: clothing, shoes, and other. The other consisted of books, bags, decor, and etc. Starting with clothing and shoes, I sorted these items into “keep” and “toss.” Items deemed “tossable” were immediately recycled or placed into a donate box.
Feeling relief at the amount of items I’d tackled, I took a good look at the amount of “other” items that had accumulated in the closet and decided what really needed to remain in the space, keeping in mind that the space was not only my closet but also my bedroom. Did a box of silverware really need to be in my bedroom closet? I sorted these items into 3 piles: Keep, Toss, or Move.
Tip: When deciding what to keep, really think about it. Determine when the last time the item was used, or if the item is needed anymore. Decide whether the item is worth holding onto, or if it’s just taking up space that can be otherwise used. Be careful here or you may wind up just stuffing another closet in your home to the max, and the cycle will just continue.
By time I was done I had two piles before me: Items I was keeping in the space, and items I was going to remove.
Every item in the Remove pile was immediately recycled or placed into a donate box for my next trip to Goodwill. If it was an item I had decided to Move, I placed it in it’s necessary place. Truthfully, I only held onto three or four items that needed to be relocated, the majority was donated or recycled.
Items I had decided to keep were neatly placed back into the closet. My closet looked fantastic when I was done, and I’ve been able to keep it that way.
How to keep your closet decluttered:
The clothing items were placed into the closet using the “hanger trick.” To do this, each clothing item is designated a hanger. Hang every item backwards, meaning the back of the hanger should face out the door rather than towards the wall. Everytime an item is worn, flip the hanger back to its rightful place. At the end of a year (or three months if you’re feeling up to it) remove the clothing items that were not worn (the hanger is still in the reversed position). Treat shoes in a similar manner. You can bend a hanger giving you the option to hang shoes, or place shoes on your closet floor “backwards” and remove them if they have not been used in a certain length of time.
In addition to the “hanger trick” I had set a rule that anytime a new item was placed into the space, an old one was removed.
Needless to say, I’m relieved everytime I open my closet doors now (and I’m glad that nothing is flying out and tackling me). Definitely a great feeling. 🙂
For tips on how to begin your decluttering journey, you can Start Here, or snag a copy of the 30 Day Challenge (our Minimalism and Decluttering eBook).