Cleaning Out My Closet

My closet is no longer a vortex of horror.

(or Dear God This Was Sorely Needed)

A couple years ago, I was obsessed with Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I was on a roll, getting rid of s–t, folding my clothes properly, and making sure things were tidy.

That lasted about six months.

When I photographed my new bed, I purposely angled the shot so that you didn’t see any of my closet because, well, it looked like the inside of my brain after watching the finale of Twin Peaks: messy, chaotic, and overwhelming. I’m kind of embarrassed to post this, but here it is:

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(Yes, that IS a cat in there. It’s not a hoarder’s situation, though; I only have the one cat, I generally don’t lose track of him, and he just liked to nap in the nest he’d made for himself.)

Four hours, two coffees, and three bags of clothing for donation later, my closet was no longer a source of shame:

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Here are my tips:

  • Remove everything. I’m often tempted to try to pare down my wardrobe while things are still hanging up (I always figured it saved me the effort of un-hanging and re-hanging), but it’s really easy to overlook things if you’re not actually handling them. Plus, if you start by taking everything out, you’re obligated to finish (unless you’re fine with having a mountain of clothes on the floor, in which case, you do you, man).
  • Be ruthless when evaluating your stuff. I’m the woooooooorst for keeping things that don’t fit or that I never really liked to begin with. I find Marie Kondo’s method helpful: if it isn’t an absolute necessity and it doesn’t bring you joy, toss it or donate it. You’re probably never going to wear that really out-of-character dress you bought four years ago that still has the tags on it, so you might as well pass it along to someone who will love it. The dress deserves it.
  • Use dividers. Although I got rid of the hanging divider that was in my closet before, I kept the dividers on the top shelf to separate my belongings. They’re particularly helpful for keeping jeans mountain from toppling over into my handbags. (I can’t find the exact ones I purchased, but these ones are very similar.)
  • Invest in matching hangers. I know it’s silly, but my closet feels so much tidier now that all of the (visible) hangers match. I particularly like the slim velvet ones because they don’t take up much space and they keep even the slinkiest, slipperiest materials in place. (I do have some wooden hangers for pants and skirts, but I’ve pushed them to the far ends of the closet so that they’re hidden behind the doors.)
  • Boxes are your friend. I wanted to keep plastic hangers for when I needed to hang items to dry (I’m always worried that the colour from the hangers will transfer onto my clothes if they’re wet), but I also wanted them out of sight. That’s what’s in those pretty black and white boxes to the left of the photo; I can grab a couple hangers out of there when I need them and hide them away when they’re not in use. Similarly, I’ve used smaller boxes to hold my clutches and smaller purses on the right side.
  • Organize by function. A lot of people advocate organizing by colour or length, but I find it’s more useful to organize by function. For example, all of my camisoles are in one section, then my sleeveless work tops, then blouses, etc. That way, if I’m looking for something specific, I know exactly what section it will be in without having to muck around.

What are your tips for keeping your closet tidy? Any bets on how long my closet will look like this before it devolves into its previous chaos?

  1. “You’re probably never going to wear that really out-of-character dress you bought four years ago that still has the tags on it, so you might as well pass it along to someone who will love it. The dress deserves it.” YES!!! I’m guilty of this right now… And a purse too…

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