A Clean Closet: Tips

FullSizeRender copyLabel everything in enclosed containers. You know what is in that drawer now, but will you remember in a week? Labels allow you to
find what you need at a glance, without opening every drawer and pulling down every box until you find the right one. They don’t even have to be fancy, just legible.

Hooks are helpful. When you have a few items in use often and odd FullSizeRender 3shapes, try hooks on the wall or door. They will be easy to grab and just as easy to put away. Command hooks, if used properly, can be easily removed and reassigned as your needs change. You can even arrange the hooks in a row or circle or zigzag, whatever pattern is pleasant for your grouping and space.

FullSizeRender copy 2Decorate what you cannot hide. You are keeping it for now, but there isn’t a good place for it in storage. Try arranging it attractively in an empty corner. It will be pleasing to your eye while it occupies space until you use it again.

Another option is to cover a box with wrapping paper or a tablecloth. If it has to be out in the living room, it might as well be pretty — or even useful as a side table. Even on a shelf, banker’s boxes work well; they are uniform, tough and easy to cover with decorative paper. You will be hiding your storage in plain sight.

Keep empty hangers together. If you have a hanging rod, you will find the hanger you FullSizeRender 4need to put the shirt back up right away…if they are always in the same place. Hunting through all your clothes for an empty hanger wastes time.

Contain loose items as much as you can. If pulling one thing out of a pile will bring the whole thing down on your head, find a box that will contain them. Not only will your head thank you, you will save minutes each time you get one of those things out for use.

Don’t stack too high. StackingWe’ve all experienced the landslide effect; in addition to being unpleasant, that also takes time to put everything back where it belongs. Keep your stacks of boxes manageable, usually 3 or 4 high, so that you can pull one out without everything coming down on your head. If you need to go higher on a shelf, you can add extensions or make an open box function as a shelf.

IMG_9257Repair as you go. Now is your chance. You are touching everything, so make needed repairs while you are sorting. Tape up broken boxes, replace ripped bags or cracked bins, etc.

If you would like a visual summary of the process described in this post, please click here for an infographic.

Any other ideas you have found helpful? I know I enjoy picking them up along the way through shared stories and experiences. Please post a comment below to add to the treasury.

A Clean Closet: Process

It just sounds lovely, doesn’t it? A clean closet. Storage that is accessible and useful and neat. A dream come true.

This dream can come true for you. It takes time and effort, but by adding a little strategy you can achieve it. Recently a friend and I worked on a few of her closets to provide illustrations for this post. The process we used is detailed in this post, and we’ll talk about a few tips and tricks in our next post.



First, take everything out of the closet. Yes, everything. No, it will not be quicker to just FullSizeRendertidy it up in place and move it around as you work. Yes, I do mean pull it out and pile it on the floor. Note: This is not needed every time you clean up, just for the once a year (or two years or decade…) deep cleaning or reorganization.


Clean your empty space. This is your chance, and it only takes a couple minutes!

Sort what you have. Arrange the items to keep in groups that make sense for you. Sorting this way will allow you to see where you have excess more easily. Throw away the trash. Give away what you do not need or use. Put stray items back where they belong — elsewhere.

Determine what is needed for the space and how it will best fit. In our example, we FullSizeRender copydecided that the luggage did not need to be in the coat closet. Hats, scarves, and gloves, however, would be helpful along with the winter jackets, so they were moved into the free space. (Note: having all the winter wearables in one place saves time when getting dressed. It’s one stop rather than a trip to two closets.)

Put everything back in the closet, one section at a time. Use what you have for storage as much as possible; this doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. Make sure one section fits before moving on to the next. Build your puzzle one piece at a time.

  • It will work best to have what you access most closest to you. This means items rarely pulled out go on top or in back or under something else.
  • Keep weight and balance in mind also. A heavy item may not be best where you reach it on tiptoes, even if you don’t pull it out every week.
  • If you have a drawer that is only half full, be free to combine two groups of items that are similar, even though you sorted them separately. Too much free space may tempt you to fill it with unnecessary things.


Rejoice in a job well done! And be determined to maintain what you have just accomplished. It is easier to take 15 seconds to open the drawers and put items away than to throw stuff in the door for a month or two and then need to clean it out again each quarter.

If you would like a visual summary of the process described above, please click here for an infographic.