19 September, 2012

How I did it: A (more) Organized Closet

Let me start by saying I am by no means a neat freak.

I get frustrated by how much I don't care when my house is messy or when dishes are in the sink. It really doesn't bother me (until I don't have a bowl to put my cereal in - then it bothers me).

I clean when people come over or when Dan finally decides that we should have a cleaning day and then we spend the greater part of a Saturday washing, drying, straightening, etc.

In the back of my mind I always want a better system but sometimes the task is just daunting. I knew my closet was dysfunctional but did I want to spend the time (and money) to make it functional? These past few weeks my answer evolved into a yes.

Like I said in a previous post, my sister was coming so I knew I needed to clean the spare room which had become a catchall for us with random papers, crafts, projects and such. But I couldn't imagine getting that room clean without other areas of the house being impacted. It was a domino effect.

The time had come. I needed to get organized. While I doubt any of what I am going to say is original here's how I got my bedroom closet organized.

1. I ordered some supplies. I know that most organizational articles will tell you not to do this part first. And I agree with them to some degree. I shouldn't go out and buy tons of boxes of various sizes without knowing what exactly I need to store in them. BUT I knew I needed to store things vertically in my closet and I knew that if I didn't have the physical tools to do that I would get frustrated and quit. So I ordered two sets of storage cubes because I knew that even if I didn't use all of them in my closet I would use them somewhere else. When I got them I immediately set them up, cleared out the shelf of my closet and put them in there so that when I sorted the various items I could put them away instantly.

2. I got rid of stuff. This one is old news. You don't need all of the things you have. I certainly didn't need all the clothes I had (or all the clothes I still have). Dan had a bunch of things that he never wore. So I went through the closet and got rid of the things I knew I hadn't worn in the past 6 months/year and things I knew I wouldn't wear ever. I took some to Plato's Closet, took pictures of a few that I knew I could sell on Ebay and gave the rest to Goodwill. I went through my closet, my dresser, and my various baskets. I was brutal and got rid of about 4-5 shopping bags of things. To be fair, I've been doing this step every couple months for about a year now.

3. I divvied up space. He gets his space and I get mine. Since I already have a dresser to myself I gave Dan the hanging divider shelf-thing. I put all his jeans, t-shirts, underwear, etc., in there. I folded all our sweaters and put them in their respective storage cubes. I used the (vertical) space above the cubes for extra items that aren't used day to day.

4. I used the doors. This tip is a no-brainer and I feel like everyone already does this but it's important. I made that shoe organizer a while back and have been putting my flats, sandals, and some heels in that. Dan has a fraction of the shoes that I have and most of them go in the entry way closet. I put my scarfs and our belts on an over the door organizer.

5. I didn't get overwhelmed. It took me a couple of days to get this complete - I didn't do it all in one shot. I am studying for the LSAT so whenever I needed a break from that I would take an hour or so and tackle a task (ex. set up the hanging shelf and put Dan's clothes into it). If I tried to do everything I did (spare room, bedroom, laundry room) in one day I would've pulled my hair out. If you go to bed one night with your closet's contents spilled out into your bedroom then you are in good company. Allow for a few days of mess and chaos - you are creating a better system and that takes time!

Let me know if you have any questions or chime in if you have other helpful ideas!


  1. it looks so good, rach!! i've had to do a closet clean-out since we've moved, too. it's refreshing. and, as always, i wish i lived closer so we could raid each other's closets!!

    1. Thanks, Bran! The closet is seriously one of my least favorite things to clean in the house but organizing it has been one of the best decisions, ha! I live for the day we'll live closer!