Cleaning out your closets most likely fills your heart with dread and trepidation. Typically, it is put off until the pile overflows into the hall or you can’t shut the closet door anymore. 

While you may not get great pleasure out of organizing closets, this information will at least make the task bearable. It might not be pleasant to tackle all the junk, but having one more useful space in your home increases the functionality of your overall space considerably.

 Let’s dive in and transform those messy closets into beautiful storage areas.


No plan for the space

Begin by making a vision for every room in your home of what you want that space to do and how you want it to look (and yes, that includes your closets!) Asian countries have homes that are smaller than your hall closet. Respect the space as a valuable part of your home. Envision what your perfect closet would look like: How can you make that closet door one you want to open?  

My old sports closet was turning into a catch-all. I was rarely going into that closet and it wasn’t useful, thus I identified it as a problem spot in my home.

My new vision was for an “adventure closet.” My husband and I love going for long walks to coffee shops and working remotely. I decided to merge this love of walking and working with a space that would serve a purpose.

My “adventure closet” is now a place where I can get prepped for anything from a long walk, to a hike, to a day trip away. It’s a prime location right by the front door making it perfect for backpacks, hats, and the sort.

Having this vision beforehand made this closet a reality. Starting with a vision makes it a lot easier to relocate random items, and give away unnecessary items. Who wants to look at a boring normal closet when they could instead go to their adventure closet, motivational closet, or maybe even a memory closet?


Having to Pull everything out of the closet just to put it immediately back in.

This one is going to be hard for the ‘check it off the listers’ and I can sympathize. It took me a while to realize that taking time upfront will help immensely with the effectiveness of organizing.

When you empty out a closet you should leave the stuff on the floor and the closet empty for at least a few hours.

Do this is for two reasons:

  1. Your brain has attached the items in the closet and the closet space as a unit and since our brains love grouping it won’t get creative and allow for change until you force it to. Think of it as cleansing your organizational palate. After emptying out the closet, deep clean it, sit in it, read in it, do wall sits, touch all the sides. See it as a new space, the rest of the house may be a disaster but man you’ve got the sexiest empty closet in town.
  2. The second reason to keep a closet empty: The chance to reevaluate everything that was in the closet. Odds are you haven’t touched half the stuff in years. Lay it all out on the floor and pretend you’re in a store. Would you buy any of these items again? Pick up every item and decide if it’s worth keeping. Grab two trash bags, throw the obvious trash away and challenge yourself to fill a trash bag full of things to giveaway to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.


You work under the assumption that more boxes = more organized

Do you believe that organizing is simply labeling boxes and shoving them in your closets? I used to have those same thoughts.

I am by no means anti-box, as they are a valuable tool, but they are not the ultimate answer to your organizational problems. Why hide my stuff from myself?

The ultimate goal is visualizing everything in the closet. You want to make your home as functional as possible and having clean closets helps here. What’s more functional than trying to find something and only taking 30 seconds to do so?


You don’t focus on visual appeal

Who really wants to look at a stack of containers and clothes shoved together like sardines when they open up their closets?

Without the visual appeal piece you’re missing out on a great closet experience regardless of functionality. Channel your inner Target store layout designer. When I walk into target I want to buy things that my normal non-Target self would never even consider:

  • “How did these distressed overalls end up in my cart?!”
  • “I can’t pull off mustard yellow with my skin tone!”
  • “I’m not pregnant, I don’t need this cold-shoulder maternity dress
  • “Why did I buy 3 pairs of superhero PJ’s, I don’t even wear PJ’s!!”

How do they achieve this mind trickery? By displaying all their items in an appealing and alluring manner. That is what you want to aim for in your closet. Make it beautiful and something you want to look at. It will be a treat pulling out your favorite jacket instead of a chore. As a bonus you’ll be much more likely to keep the closet clean if it is something you enjoy looking at.


You don’t account for your personal weirdness

It has taken me 28 years to realize that everyone just has their own brand of weird.

I laugh in my sleep, don’t know how to flip a coin, am deathly afraid of being late to work, and think the most quotable movie of all time is Holes’.

Similarly, nothing is one size fits all when it comes to organization. Don’t let any preconceived notions taint your vision for your space. Maybe after seeing your closet empty you decide it would make a great meditation closet, do it! Trust your instincts and think like a child using your imagination and whimsy.

Use your closets as a extension of your personality. Be that weirdo that gives people a tour of their home and includes the hallway closet in the tour.

You may not have to go that drastic, but just remember that you are the one occupying the space in your home so you should make it your own.

Growing up, my oldest sister had a giant rainbow painted across her bedroom wall. Weird? Yup!

My other sister had my father put a pseudo-tree around the chimney with chicken wire & spackle.

Think outside the box and you’ll find yourself with a closet space you love.


You assume that the closet will stay organized forever

The problem with cleaning a space is that sometimes you open the closet 2 weeks later and it looks like it did before you organized it. After muttering a few curses under your breath you wonder ‘Where did I go wrong? “I spent 5 hours organizing that closet!”

Take a deep breath and reevaluate your space. You never want to fight your natural habits and tendencies, if the idea of putting a coat on a hanger when you come home sounds exhausting, stop forcing yourself to only have that option.

Buy a coat rack or put up a hook right by the front door. Experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. Look for ways to make your home more efficient and work better for you.

One way to find the best way to utilize a space is to leave it empty for a week and see what naturally accumulates there. It’s the same concept as the college that didn’t put sidewalks in right away but rather let the students walk around campus and create logical paths for them to put sidewalks in later. You’ll be amazed at what you find out about yourself.

Take this information and go create a vision for all your closets, dream big and go all in.

Life is too short to have boring cookie cutter closets!