Organize Your Most Frustrating Closet {Week #4 of the Summer Organizing Challenge}

Organize Your Most Frustrating Closet SOC Week 4 -v

Did you watch Friends back in the 90’s? Do you remember when neat-freak Monica revealed her secret closet? Monica cleaned for fun and was so organized it went into an extreme. There was a locked closet in her apartment that she would never let other roommates open. One day the truth was revealed and we all saw what was in that closet – a hoarded mess of a mess. Most women in America suddenly could relate to Monica in a whole new way, because I think most people have a closet of shame! Heck, most people who aren’t as super-organized as Monica have more than one!

Welcome to Week #4!

This week we are going to open up (at least one of) our Monica closets and clean up the mess.

Make Organizing the Closet a little easier on yourself and BUY The Summer Organizing Printable HERE! If you are new to the Summer Organizing Challenge, you can read the details on how this challenge will work HERE.

Time To Open Your Monica Closet - Lets Organize Your Most Frustrating Closet -v

Select your most frustrating closet, the one you would be most embarrassed for a visitor to open. That’s the one.

Now, you are going to work through the Steps of Organizing we’ve been practicing and organize this closet. Ready?

Step 1 – Declutter

That’s right, you’re going to pull everything out of the closet. It is going to feel a little like a can of worms, but the only way to get this closet organized is to go through the motions! And while you’re working on Step 1, it’s okay to go ahead and work on Step 2 at the same time.

How To Declutter - The Process

Step 2 – Sort like with like

As you decide you’re keeping something from the closet, put it in a pile with similar items. For instance, a pile of games, a pile of camping supplies, a pile of coats, a pile of gloves, or a pile of toilet paper you forgot you had at the back of the closet.

If you come across something that is similar to stuff stored somewhere else, that item will go in your relocate pile, because in the big picture, you want your entire home sorted “like with like.”

Closet Under The Stairs Update 4

Step 3 – Decide where stuff goes

This is going to be like the organizing we did during Bathroom week, but on a slightly larger scale. I suggest sketching your closet and listing your items and creating a plan on paper first.

(If you already have shelves and organization setup within the closet that you want to re-use, you can go ahead and place the piles in those locations. Otherwise just stick get them as close to the place as possible and you’ll naturally start working on Step 4.)

Peek Inside My Linen Closet Update 6

My Closet Organizing Plans

Make a list of what kinds of things you have in the closet. List out the Theme/Category of each Like with Like pile.

Take the time right now to sketch a plan for your closet. Not only plan for shelves and tools, but mark on your plan what is going where in the closet! Use your list of Like with Like piles to label storage areas in the closet on your plan.

{It’s not too late to buy the Summer Organizing Printable! The worksheet format makes these tasks easier!}

Closet Under The Stairs Update 1

Step 4 – Find the right tools, containers, or furniture

Now that you know exactly what you have that is staying and where you want it to go in the closet, figuring out organizing tools, containers, or furniture is going to be a lot easier and you’re going to make better decisions.

Using your sketch, make decisions about what organizing tools and what containers or tools or furniture you may need to do the job to your liking.

Take a few minutes and create a plan for your containers. Decide what containers you already have and what  you’ll need to buy. Make a list of containers, including Description, Dimensions, QTY, and what EXACTLY that container will hold. Spending the time up front to make a detailed list will let you make the perfect purchase decisions when you’re shopping!

Now go get your organizing tools and install anything that needs to be installed. Then, put everything back in the closet. This is the most rewarding part seeing it come together.

Boys Room Tour - Closet

Step 5 – Make it pretty

You may think that making a closet pretty is silly or strange, but making it pretty doesn’t have to mean a chandelier and a bouquet of flowers. Take a second to do something to spruce up the space so that it is a delight to open the door. Does the paint need to be touched up? Could you use pretty labels on any bins? Wrap boring plastic containers in fabric?

Making the closet a little bit nicer will help you enjoy maintaining it. It is a 100% mental help because in reality it probably doesn’t matter if the closet is decorated … but if it is pretty to open, you are going to naturally feel motivated to keep it tidy. If you hack together an ugly organizing solution that you never want to look at, what’s going to stop you from opening the door and throwing things in like you used to do?

What will you do to make your closet just a little prettier? Leopard Print Carpet?

Girls Room Tour - 8 Closet Clothes Dividers

Step 6 – Create a maintenance plan

What habits are you going to start that will keep this closet looking good? The habits may have little to do with the closet itself. Your plan could be things like “I resolve to not shove things in this closet because I don’t know where they go. If something doesn’t have a place in my home, it doesn’t belong in my home.” Or “I am going to do drop-offs to my donation center on a more regular basis.” Or “I’m going to start the Super Tidy and spend 10 minutes a day putting things away where they go so that I’m not tempted to just shove things in this closet when company is coming.”

Sometimes the maintenance plan is just simply about self-discipline mixed with the sincere desire to just keep it organized!

Tour my Mary ORGANIZES Studio - 10

You Did It!

You’ve completed a tough week. You conquered your hardest closet! How does that feel?!

Don’t be surprised if suddenly it’s a little easier to keep everything organized. Sometimes these kinds of messes are mental blocks we didn’t even realize were causing us to not move forward. Now is the time to move forward!

Happy Organizing!


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Time To Open Your Monica Closet - Lets Organize Your Most Frustrating Closet -s

11 thoughts on “Organize Your Most Frustrating Closet {Week #4 of the Summer Organizing Challenge}

  1. How do you organize photos, albums and scrapbooks? I have nearly 40 years of albums and they take up a lot of space.

    1. What worked for me was making Shutterfly books with the various albums and photos. It is labor intensive, but enjoyable, and the books take up SOOOOOOO much less room. We are actually looking through them, too, as opposed to the albums and photos in boxes.

    2. This is a tough one! When you have that many years worth of albums, it really becomes a statement piece and takes up at least a few bookshelves! If you have that many years worth of it, I would say it is pretty important to you and it is worth making into a bit of an art piece on a wall. If you tuck them away into boxes, they won’t bet looked at and will become obsolete … you didn’t work so hard to do that!!

  2. Great post as always. One subject I never see addressed is items we find that belong to other people.
    My solution along with the bins for put away, giveaway, and throw away, is to add a basket where I put the items that need to be returned. I then make a point to deliver those items to my friends’ homes on my next errand day, hopefully allowing enough time for a cup of coffee or tea.
    Mary P

    1. Beautiful sentiment! You organize to your priorities, and returning those things and spending time with your friends is a priority. :)

  3. I love this: “Sometimes the maintenance plan is just simply about self-discipline mixed with the sincere desire to just keep it organized!” Yes! Good motivation here, Mary.

    My worst closet is in the (unused, except for “stuff”) guest room. The closet has Christmas items, wrapping paper, sewing stuff, out-of-season clothing, luggage and “to donate” items. It’s going to take more than a few minutes this evening to get that room/closet whipped into shape. I am scheduling a week from Saturday to tackle that room and closet (I have to finish the kitchen this Saturday). Thanks for the push! (Loving this challenge.)

  4. Mary, unless I’m overlooking it, your blog doesn’t have a “subscribe to follow-up comments” option. When I post a comment, I don’t know if there are replies unless I check back periodically. I’d love to get email notifications of follow-up comments.

  5. I just saw this post (don’t know how I missed it before) and I LOVE the clothes basket idea for the shelves. I’ll have to measure to see what I can get to fit in there, because I’m sure my shelves are not consistent in height from one to the next, but I’m going to try to find some baskets to fit so I no longer have piles of blankets and sheets that look like they’re falling over, or do fall over when you pull one out.

Leave a comment! I love to hear what you think!