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Cleaning Out Your Closet Clutter

by Susan M. Adams

Closet organization can be a challenge. The nature of the challenge can be two fold. The task might be challenging because over the years you have accumulated too much stuff. Conversely, the task might be challenging because, despite your minimalist leanings, your current home simply doesn’t have enough closet space.

I’ve managed many closet organization projects over my career, and you may think that it would be more challenging to deal with situations where there is a physical lack of storage space. You might be surprised to learn that it isn’t the physical constraints that are hard to solve, but in fact it is much harder to solve a closet organization problem where the closet owner can not visualize getting rid of any of their belongings.

The biggest obstacle to closet organization or even household organization is clutter. This cannot be over stated. The most serious problem with clutter is that is begets more clutter. For the most part, a collector doesn’t stop collecting and a hoarder doesn’t stop hoarding. It can be a difficult cycle to break and often requires the therapeutic skills beyond the average professional closet organizer.

So now lets talk about getting your home organized to begin with. This will require a dedicated effort to look critically at everything that you have. Begin with one closet, and take everything out. You should create 3 piles – one to keep, one to decide later, and one to get rid of. Make sure that you add a good amount to the get rid of pile, and when you have completed the whole exercise, make sure that you move some of the ‘later’ pile to the ‘get rid of’ pile.

If you find it difficult to tackle your whole house or even a large closet all at once, you might break the job down into smaller chunks, and spread the job out over a number of days or weeks. If you work on one area, and sort everything from this area into those three categories of things, then over the next week keep coming back and re-examining your piles. You may find that it is easy to move ‘maybe’ items to the ‘give away’ pile after you’ve had a chance to realize how much you really need or don’t need it.

Organizing your closets is definitely a big challenge. Letting old things go is always a hard thing, but you need to accept that you only have so much room in your life (and your closets) for your belongings. Take the purging process seriously, and keep coming back to your closets over time. By constantly questioning the value of your clutter versus the value of simplicity, you will eventually reach a state where you don’t feel so overwhelmed, and you will be much better able to keep your closets (and your life) organized.

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