In Feng Shui, it is highly recommended that your front entrance be kept tidy and free of clutter. As I knew this, I was unhappy with the state of the front coat closet in our new home. I knew it was time to declutter a closet!
It’s important to think about frequency of use when you organize a closet. While it’s smart organizing to use all the space available to you, some spaces are more convenient to reach than others. Be sure to put the items you need most frequently in places that are easy to access. Other items can go in the tricky places.
I had gone through this challenge at our old house, and have of course supported many clients in transforming closets of every sort, so this should have been a piece of cake, right? Though it wasn’t an overwhelming challenge, it was something that I did not have the skills to do on my own.
So I had to ask for support. Easy, right? Well, I suppose it is easier for some than for others, but as a professional organizer, I am accustomed to being able to meet organizing challenges on my own and I wanted it done yesterday!
After getting over my frustration that I can’t do everything myself, I got assistance in doing three things that made me happier with my coat closet.
Declutter a Closet 1: The importance of shelves
Many closets are designed with a hanging rod and one shelf above it. This one shelf can be useful if you have tall things to store, but many people have shorter items to put in the closet. This results in a lot of “dead” space above the one shelf – space that could be used if only there were a second shelf!
In our case, I could see that a second shelf above the hanging coats would easily fit. This was where I needed the most help. The previous owner of our house had left some stray shelves and so we hired a handyman to install the second shelf. If you don’t have spare shelves in your home, try simple solutions like this or that from Amazon.
As the new shelf is too high to reach without a step-stool, I put things up there that we only need to get down occasionally, such as off-season clothes and water filters. If you can, I recommend keeping step-stools nearby where you need them, such as in a closet like this. That way you don’t have to go hunting for the stool when you need to reach something. This foldable one is a good option.
Bonus decluttering tip: It is always advisable to start at the top with any project and work your way down. That way any dust or dirt that is stirred up only needs to be cleaned up once.
Declutter a Closet 2: Let there be light
Another problem was that it was difficult to see in the closet. My husband discovered this handy NEBO light switch which solved our lighting problem. Yay! It came in a two-pack and so I was able to use the second one under a very dark cabinet in the kitchen.
This solution is so simple… and the simplest solutions are sometimes the ones we overlook because they don’t seem dramatic or “worth it” enough to invest the time and money. As you declutter and organize your closet, be mindful of any limiting thoughts that might keep you stuck.
Being able to SEE what’s in the closet and where makes it a much more functional space!
Declutter a Closet 3: Clear the floor!
I was unhappy with the floor of the closet for one primary reason: there were too many things willy-nilly on the closet floor. Do you have spaces in your home like this?
Having objects willy nilly on the floor is problematic for several reasons:
- Clutter invites more clutter: when your space is cluttered it’s easy to fall into habits that make the clutter worse. You open your closet door to put something away and see your things all over the floor. Suddenly you’ve lost your motivation to put anything away!
- It’s inconvenient: It’s difficult and even dangerous to reach through a crowded floor. You could hurt yourself! It turns your space into an obstacle course, making it hard to reach the thing you need when you need it
- It’s visually overwhelming: having objects all over the floor makes it difficult to see what you have and access things when you need them
Decluttering can be a challenge because it asks you to tweak some of your habits. If you’re in the habit of putting stuff on the floor of your closet, it might take creating a new habit to stop doing so. Remember to be gentle with yourself as you grow into new habits and get used to putting things away in new places.
A lot of the objects on our closet floor were items that could be organized against a wall, like mops and brooms. So I ordered a Home-It Mop and Broom Holder from Amazon, which allowed us to get all those objects up off the floor.
Note: I love recommending the products that my clients and I have tried. If you purchase any of these products on Amazon, we receive a small percentage of the sales price as a member of their affiliate program.
The closet transformation is complete!
Below is a before and after picture of the closet. Though the changes may not be radically noticeable to the untrained eye, the space is being used much more efficiently and more importantly, the closet now makes me happy!
Below are the three solutions that we implemented to declutter a closet, along with a close-up of the now tidy floor.
Do you have a project that has been hanging around for a while that you would like support with? Let us know in the comments below.
The steps in the checklist can actually be applied to decluttering any space, but closets are an excellent place to apply them for the following reasons:
- A closet is usually smaller than a whole room. If you have a large walk-in closet, you will want to allow extra time and consider breaking it down into several more manageable tasks.
- Closets can easily become black holes for things that have been forgotten or stuffed away when guests came to visit. This creates a negative energy suck!
As I mentioned before, clutter begets more clutter. On the plus side, the opposite is true as well. Once you declutter your closet and other spaces and set up organized systems that serve you, organization will beget more organization! You will be motivated and inspired to stick to your new system, and your house will be transformed.
Do you have a closet that is driving you crazy, or one that you have transformed? Let us know in the comments!
Discover more ways to mindfully DECLUTTER your home or office here! >>
Discover more ways to mindfully ORGANIZE your home or office here! >>