The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” dates back to the time of King David, somewhere around 1000 BC, though those were not his exact words. Clearly the concept that people, as well as things, can be easily forgotten when they’re not in view is centuries old. So it should be of no surprise that we are prone to stuffing or leaving things we don’t want to deal with in closets.
I have some good news: decluttering closets is therapeutic. The process of going through clothes, shoes and other long-forgotten belongings will help you cleanse your house and your mind of any emotional baggage that may be connected to these items. Be sure you keep your 3 bins nearby for this task and follow our closet declutter advice below:
Start from the Bottom of the Wardrobe and Work Your Way Up
Your instinct will be to start from the top with the things that are hanging, but cleaning up and cleaning out the mess at the bottom of the closet is the better way to go. Not only will you free up space in which to work, but you will feel like you’re half-way done in no time!
Get Rid of Clothes and Shoes
In case you glossed over the section earlier in the guide where I discussed the 80/20 rule, I’ll reiterate. We typically wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time, which means you should have a significant amount of clothing you can purge. Ask yourself these questions about each item if you’re having trouble deciding which items you should pitch:
- Does it fit?
- Is it damaged? (stained, torn, faded)
- Has it been worn in the past year?
If you answered, “No,” to any of those questions, I strongly urge you to add the item to your “Get Rid of It” bin. If you have something that is sentimental or seasonal that you don’t wear often, put it in your storage bin and free up some space in your closet. The same goes for shoes.
Since I’m sure you will keep at least a few things that you probably should get rid of, even after this exercise (I know I did), try the “backwards hanger” trick over the course of the next year to weed out any more items that can free up space in your closet. Start the year with the hangers tips all facing the front of the closet (backwards). After you wear something, put it back in the closet with the hanger facing the back. At the end of the year, you’ll be able to easily identify the clothes that just aren’t worth keeping anymore.
Clean Up Wardrobe Storage Shelves
Remove everything from your closet shelves, wipe down the shelves and then get rid of anything that isn’t adding value to your life. Avoid stacking clothing on shelves and storing stuff on shelves that can get buried under hanging clothes. Aside from items you store in containers, you should be able to see everything in your closet without moving too much. Boxes and bins are recommended for storing smaller items on your closet shelves.
If you are decluttering a closet that you don’t use to store clothing, it can be really tempting to stack everything in there like a beautiful game of Tetris. Don’t do it. Consider adding more shelving above things that you may keep at the bottom, like a vacuum cleaner or storage bins. You can also add hooks inside the door for brooms, mops and dustpans.
Cleaning up your closets is guaranteed to improve your quality of life! Seriously, it’s the little things. You’ll save time when you no longer have to look and search for items you ‘could have sworn were in there.’ You’ll make room for new belongings that bring you more joy. And you won’t risk something falling on you the next time you open a closet door.
Go vertical. Take advantage of any extra vertical space you might have, such as the back of the door, a small section of wall, or the extra vertical space above your top shelf. Use hooks to hang robes, jewellery, and scarves.
Over the door organizsrs aren’t just for shoes. They also make excellent storage spots for scarves, belts and socks. Install another shelf at the top of your closet for storing mementoes and out of season clothing.