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Closet Organization Is A Challenge

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.

In my work as a professional closet organizer you might think the challenge posed by the latter situation might be most difficult. After all, how can I create more closet space? The truth is that it is much harder to organize people who have the tendency to accumulate too many belongings. The real challenge in closet organizing is to convince people to part with some 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.

That said, this first step in closet organization is to sort through the items that need to be organized. I always try to sort the items into a. must keep, b. might keep, and c. can be donated or trashed. Try to keep and equal amount of things in each category. The reality is that you will likely only get the client to part with 20-25% of the contents of any given closet but I always aim for a target of a 40-50% reduction.

Sometimes a closet purge cannot be done all at once. This is understandable. I often tell the client to return the “must keep” items to the closet, dispose of the items they are ready to dispose of and put the “might keep items in a box. Keep this box in their living room or kitchen for 2-3 weeks. During this period they should regularly examine the contents. In my experience, a lot of the “might keep” items are discarded, in one way or another, during this period.

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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