Closet Organization: Easy Tips for Getting Organized

Closets can sometimes feel like a never-ending task to clean and organize. Discover new ways to keep your closet organized in just a few steps!

Published on
July 5, 2023
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Closet Organization: Easy Tips for Getting Organized


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No matter how hard we try, our spaces sometimes become messy and accumulate clutter. Even when our main rooms remain organized and clean, many of us have a few places in our homes that fly under the radar like a junk drawer or closet. As a preface, no home can be perfectly clean around the clock, and you shouldn’t feel like that is what you need to aim for. Your home is supposed to be your safe space to unwind. If you don’t feel like you can unwind at home, then your clutter may be the culprit–or at least it’s not helping.

Benefits of an organized home

In a study published by the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2016, researchers from the University of New Mexico found that messy, disorganized homes can reduce a person’s ability to feel pleasure (Kondo, n.d.). The study revealed “self-extension tendencies toward possessions” and place attachment can either have a positive or negative effect on a person’s well-being, all depending on the level of clutter in their home (Roster et al., 2016). 

In another study published by Sage Journals in 2009, researchers found that clutter in the home is linked to stress and feelings of depression. When a room is cluttered cortisol levels rise, but when a room is organized people are likely to feel less stressed or depressed (Kondo, n.d.; Saxbe and Repetti, 2009).

Organizing: self-care and lifestyle choices

Some people find extreme value in discovering methods for organizing and even view the practice as an act of self-care or even as a lifestyle. Organization methods such as the minimalist approach or the KonMari Method™ have inspired many people to reduce their material consumption to only what they need or love in pursuit of the life they want to live.

Minimalism is a lifestyle choice coined by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus which places less value on material items and instead emphasizes being intentional with every item you own to ultimately reflect the life you want to live. This lifestyle approach often brings a person down to only 100 items owned. This can vary from person to person on the number of items they choose to own, or what they include in this category. Some people who choose to be minimalists don’t even count the number of items they own, but still, follow the principles of minimalism and owning and consuming less. 

The creators of this method explain that minimalism is a tool for finding freedom in life. They continue: “Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom,” (Millburn and Nicodemus, n.d.). Minimalism is certainly an extreme method of organizing considering it is defined as a lifestyle choice, but many people can find it helpful and comforting, whether or not they take it to such extremes.

Meanwhile, the creator of the KonMari Method™, Marie Kondo, takes a different approach to organizing. The method revolves around the same concept of intentionality and owning less but also bases the system on joy. This method claims to be helpful in never relapsing to clutter again and that it will help reset your life so you can live how you envision yourself to be. Kondo says, “Life truly begins only after you have put your house in order,” (Kondo, n.d.).

The KonMari Method™ encourages you to stop organizing by location and to tidy by category. Instead of organizing one drawer or room at a time, the method emphasizes organizing by category, regardless if all these items are in the same room, which will help you discover just how much of a category you own so you can let go more easily (Kondo, n.d.).

The method encourages you to follow an order of tidying which includes clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items. Kondo claims that this order will make harder categories like sentimental items easier to sort through and release once you’ve already released items in easier categories. This method also encourages a philosophy of following your heart, being intentional, mindful, and thankful. Kondo believes in only keeping items that spark joy, and thanking and appreciating the items that no longer serve a place in our life (Kondo, n.d.).

Whether or not these extreme methods of organizing resonate with you, let’s take a look at some organization tips for those spots that never seem to stay tidy–our closets.

Steps to organizing your closet

  1. Remove every item from your closet

To reset your closet, you need to know exactly everything that currently occupies that space. Taking everything out will allow you to take stock of what resides in the closet, making it easier to find new homes for the items, remove what you don’t need, and get the space in order (Larkin, 2022).

  1. Clean the closet space

To plan and visualize the space, you should clean the empty area including the floor, rods, walls, and baseboards. After all, you don’t want to put all the effort into reorganizing your closet and making it to your liking without first cleaning the space (Larkin, 2022).

  1. Assess every item and declutter

Closets can often become our dumping grounds for items we don’t know what to do with. Sometimes they need a new home either in the house or outside the house for someone else to use. Take this time to assess every item and declutter what no longer serves your needs and wants. This can be a great time to implement a minimalist mindset, the KonMari Method™, or any other organizing method that works for you. A good tip to keep in mind while sorting through your items is to ask yourself if you’ve used it in the last couple of months or years, or if you even remembered you owned that item. If the answer is no, you can likely feel safe in finding the item a new home (Larkin, 2022).

  1. Decide on your storage systems and put away every item

This next part of the organizing process is either going to be your favorite or least favorite–putting it all back together. You’ve cleaned and decluttered your closet, but you can’t just put everything back in without a plan. Deciding on your storage system is how you will keep your closet from returning to a dumping ground. You can choose anything to fit your budget and needs, from shelving to racks, dividers, drawers, over-the-door shoe hangers, and more. Depending on your level of dedication, you can even organize your clothing and other closet items by color, category, and length. Though, before you purchase any forms of storage make sure you measure the space and the item you’re buying so that you know it will fit (Larkin, 2022).

Keeping organized spaces organized

Staying organized isn’t a one-and-done situation; it takes daily effort and dedication. To stay organized you will want to reevaluate your habits and what steps you can take to keep your space tidy. This can mean planning to organize weekly or monthly or implementing small daily habits to prevent a space from accumulating clutter (Larkin, 2022). 

Choose what works for you and your lifestyle, but remember homes are not perfect nor should they be. Life goes through seasons, and some seasons may be messier than others and that’s okay. We can always begin again, and sometimes a reset in our home is exactly what we need.


How to Organize Clothes in Your Closet: 5 Easy Steps

No Place Like Home: Home Tours Correlate With Daily Patterns of Mood and Cortisol

Organization is Self-Care

The dark side of home: Assessing possession ‘clutter’ on subjective well-being

What is Minimalism?

What is the KonMari Method™ ?

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva: