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Why Organizing A Closet Is So Damn Hard + 6 Steps To A Functional One

Why is organizing a closet so hard? See the five excuses we use to keep our stuff, plus six tips to have a functional and organized closet of your dreams.

Once I embraced wearing the same clothes everyday, I realized my closet housed a bunch of other clothes, shoes, and accessories that I would never wear again.

And my guess is you are in the same boat. Take a moment and go into your closet right now. I guarantee that you only wear 30% of the inventory in there.


That’s a lot of space wasted on items that are stained, too small, too large, don’t fit right or are out of style. Plus those items take not only physical space, but mental space too. We know this. We know organizing a closet is better for our psyche. But still, it never gets done.

Why Organizing A Closet is So Damn Hard!

It’s hard to clean out your closet. Period.

(Unless you are one of those uber organized freaks who only wears 12 items. If that is you, skip this article, because it isn’t for you. To be honest, why do you even have a closet? I’m talking to my girlfriends who love another pair of black boots – even though she already has four other pairs – the same way she loves her third child.)

So why is organizing a closet so damn hard?

It’s the voices.

Those voices that roll around in my head (usually supplied by some form of emotion or guilt) when I try to get rid of clothes from my closet. They talk back to me as I’m taking the item off the hanger and put it in the “donate” pile. In my experience, I have five voices (or thoughts if that is less creepy for you) when I try to clean and organize my closet.

1. The “I LOVE this ITEM” Voice

It’s my favorite voice. This voice that gives me a pat on my back because I spent my money wisely. I’m such a smart shopper.

But then, there are voices that are NOT my favorites.

2. The “Good Money Gone Wrong” Voice

“I paid good money for {insert clothing item} and it feels wasteful not wearing it and giving it away.”

Yep. I bought the item for whatever emotional reason and now it just doesn’t work (or maybe it never worked) and I feel guilty I wasted money. Bleh.

3. The “What The Hell Was I Thinking When I Bought This?” Voice

“What the hell was I thinking when I bought {insert clothing item}? I don’t care what {insert friend’s name} said, I do not look like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. And now I’m putting it in the donation pile. I’m never going to hear the end of it from {insert family member}.”

At one time or another I’ve needed to be on Fashion Police or What Not To Wear because of dumb decisions. It’s okay. Let’s move on. And put the item at the bottom of the donation pile so the certain family member doesn’t see it.

Why is organizing a closet so hard? See the five excuses we use to keep our stuff, plus six tips to have a functional and organized closet of your dreams.

4. The “Never Gonna Give You Up” Voice

“I loved this {insert clothing item}, but it is {insert excuse: completely threadbare; out of style, but I wore these jeans to my first Bruce Springsteen Concert and I know acid wash is making a comeback; or useful if I decided to start work in corporate law and needed a black suit everyday even though I’m a blogger and work from home}. I’m not sure I should give it up.”

This is the trickiest voice for me because I LOVE some of these items. LOVE THEM. The trick? Knowing when to say goodbye to the old faithful t-shirt before it starts looking like Old Yeller Arm Pit Stains.

5. The “If Only” Voice

“I know if I found the right {insert clothing item} to go with this or if I only lost {insert weight number} or if I only would remember that I have {insert clothing item}, I would wear it all the time.”

Sound familiar? Damn, if only. “If only” always makes me feel bad.

It’s normal to have a connection with your stuff. And it may be painful to part with an item. But remember the end goal, an organized closet you love going into each day because getting ready is super easy when you are surrounded by things you love and wear.

So let’s get REAL and let’s get RUTHLESS and PURGE the closet.

What You’ll Need For Organizing A Closet

  1. Time. Two hours. Don’t half-arse this. You’ll get frustrated if you don’t do it from start to finish. Plus, you’ll have stuff all over your room.
  2. A clean bed. Your bed is going to be your workstation. Clean it off, so you can work effectively.
  3. Trash Bags. Heavy duty. You’ll be making three piles: selling, throwing away and donation.
  4. New non-slip hangers. You can find these about anywhere now…but these hangers are inexpensive and help unify and streamline your closet. (Plus, please make a commitment and get rid of EVERY SINGLE WIRE HANGER you own. You, your closet, and your clothes will thank me.)

Why is organizing a closet so hard? See the five excuses we use to keep our stuff, plus six tips to have a functional and organized closet of your dreams.

6 Steps to An Organized & Functional Closet

1. Store the easy stuff. Wedding dresses, winter wool coats, wedding/funeral black suits, ski jackets, snow pants, etc. All of these items can and should be stored elsewhere. Either place in plastic bins and put under a bed or store in a guest closet for future use.

2. Start at the far left of your closet and touch and evaluate EVERY PIECE of clothing, shoes and accessories. Take items out of the closet and place on the bed if they..

Remember, you only wear 30% of your clothes on a regular basis, so the goal is to get rid of at least 30% of the remaining items.

3. Throw away any item that is stained, soiled, pilled, stretched or torn beyond repair. If you wouldn’t be seen in public with the item on, it’s time to get rid of it. Plus, only items in “good condition” should be donated.

4. Evaluate everything on the bed and place it in the correct pile.

5. Clean your closet. With a dust cloth and a vacuum. Refold items on shelves. Find a permanent place for items. Maybe get crazy and hang a new light fixture.

6. Use your new hangers and re-hang the rest of your wardrobe by color. Why? I can usually remember I have an orange halter top, but I hate going through my entire closet to find it. When I sort by color, I only have to go through the orange clothes before I find it.

Remember, decluttering a freeing process. It allows the old to be removed. And after completion, you are surrounded with open space. Open space helps our psyche, makes us not feel controlled, and give us peace that “stuff” is not the way to happiness.

And those voices we talked about earlier? The only one you will hear every time you go into your closet is…

“I LOVE this item! I’m such a smart shopper.”

Why is organizing a closet so hard? See the five excuses we use to keep our stuff, plus six tips to have a functional and organized closet of your dreams.

If you liked this article, don’t forget about How To Declutter Your House In Five Minutes – 16 Easy Ways.

16 Ways To Declutter Your House | KansasCityMamas.com