What's Lurking in Your Clothes Closet?

Before I arrive for the first organizing session with a client, I tell them,

"Don't pick up anything before I arrive!" 

Every single item tells a story and if they move it, there's a possibility that it will continue to cause problems for them as we didn't have it to work with from the start.

So, of course this is


how the closet looked.


It looked like this.


Shoes piled vertically and...cleaning supplies?

Hiding Squirt from the kids - good idea, but not in a closet.

And this...

What you see is what you can reach...the doors not able to open as they are blocked

by 2 large nightstand tables.

The goal was to get all of the client's clothes, including outerwear!, shoes & boots, purses, and accessories in this one closet thereby emptying out 2 dressers and getting all of the scattered shoes off the floor.  

The client was a bit skeptical, visualization helps.

First we gathered


the clothing; outerwear, hats, mittens, tops, bottoms, skirts, pants, dresses, scarves, belts, undies, socks, workout wear, gardening clothes, and all the shoes, boots etc.  

The bed makes a perfect sorting "table", just be sure to cover it with some sheets first to protect your nice bedding.

Let the keeping begin!  Remember, only keep what brings you the thrill of joy!  Hold it and ask yourself, will you want to wear this again next season? 

Do you love wearing it?  

Focus on what you want to keep and discard the rest.

If it still has the tags on it from the store, cut them off and make the garment yours.

Discard anything that A. you don't love and B. inspires guilt

(spent too much money)

or fear

(afraid a relative will be upset


Visualize looking in your closet first thing in the morning and loving everything you see! So many beautiful choices, they all fit, feel good, are in good repair and make you feel happy!  

Donate or throw out the rest.

Check every pocket...you might find this!

But we also found this...uh-oh...mildew.

We sprayed bleach on it, then wiped it clean and did a quick paint job with 


 to finish it off.  Just in time to move all the clothes back in.

 (The client did find the source and fixed that too.)

The keep pile is much smaller


, and everything is off of the floor, including the shoes.

We were able to utilize matching containers from other closets by switching some things out.  I encourage clients to use what they have on hand!

We rolled or folded clothes to stand them up in the large totes and then labeled them by category:  socks, underwear, bras, shorts, work out tops, work out bottoms, gardening clothes, etc.

(Of course the socks are folded!)

The totes are labeled as is their place on the shelf.  So easy for the client to pull them all out to put away laundry and then place them right back where they belong.

On the left side we hung coats, jackets, fleece, sweaters, dresses, pants and skirts and after removing those bulky nightstands

(and replacing with a sweet little oak table that the client had in another room)

, dressy tops are hung on the top right side and casual tops on the bottom right side.  

Belts are hung on a hook just inside the door and scarves and gardening clothes are in the white totes on the left shelf.  J

eans are folded in a neat pile.

Boots were placed in plastic shopping bags and stored on the very top shelf to the left along with handbags, and all the shoes were placed on the bottom shelf - nothing on the floor!  

Voila!  All of the client's clothes, for all seasons, well organized in one visually pleasing space.  

There are still some minor tweaks to be made....changing out to 

velvet hangers

 which eliminate clothes slipping off... and placing shoes inside 

shoe boxes

(always keep your original shoe boxes, they keep your shoes dust-free) 

But what is most important, is that the client was thrilled!  Here is what she had to say about the experience.

"Here is how I feel now:  more peaceful, empowered to do more rather than overwhelmed, positive, encouraged, motivated to do more organizing, energized, helped to do more for myself, educated on tricks I did not know, wiser to know how long a project should actually take (much longer than I would expect if I count the hours I put in apart from your time), excited about how this will spill over into my family's spaces.  And I also feel like I understand myself better.....what I like and don't like, and how when things don't feel right, I am not able to focus.  Wow, if everyone could get to that point, what could they accomplish?  How would their lives be different?  It's an amazing thought, isn't it?"

What's lurking in the back of your closet?

What is the feeling you have when you get dressed in the morning?

*All pictures and testimony used with permission.