8 Tips to Declutter a Closet & Keep it Organized

Let’s get real: If you walked into your bathroom and opened your cabinets or closet, would it bring you peace? Like, can you easily find what you need without knocking over 8 things? Or does it stress you out? You guys… the average American spends 2.5 DAYS PER YEAR looking for misplaced items (source). Why do we do this to ourselves?! It makes me sad because it only takes an afternoon and a few Dollar Store bins to declutter a closet.

When we moved into our house 2 years ago, I scrambled to hide things away so we could get settled. Well, now that everything is “put away,” I’m spending time organizing and decluttering the stuff I haphazardly stashed away (like my master closet!). My first project was to declutter a closet in our bathroom, ‘cuz guys, it was a hot. mess. I hated looking for things in there. It stressed me out hard. It was basically a Where’s Waldo? puzzle.

declutter a closet - before and after

From chaotic to peaceful! When I declutter a closet, it’s so, so, so crucial for me to keep this mindset:

My shelf space is valuable. If I’m not using something, it shouldn’t take up my space.

So, I spent a couple hours sorting through and organizing everything, and here are my 8 best tips to organize and declutter a closet – in your bathroom, bedroom, or anywhere! But before you start organizing, you have to declutter that thang.

Decluttering

1. It’s OK to let go of the things you used to love.

I’m a super sentimental person so it’s hard for me to get rid of things I used to use all the time. For example, I used to use my old Clarisonic face wash brush night and day, but I haven’t used that thing since college (nor do I plan to use it again). It was kind of expensive in its day, but if I’m not using it, there’s no purpose in keeping it. Plus, I don’t keep “someday” items.

Here’s the thing: When I let go of something I’m not using, I forget about it. I didn’t miss it since I hadn’t even been thinking about using it in over a year. My sentimental feelings are only stirred up when I’m looking at the thing in that moment and that’s not a legitimate reason for it to take up space in my functional closet.

By only having things I use visible, everyday tasks have become so much simpler. No Benedryl in the medicine tub? Must be out! I don’t have to look in 3 different locations because it could only be in one place.

declutter a closet - quote

2. Expired medicine? Toss it.

I know, some people say that medicines don’t actually expire. Okay, so at what point do you declutter your medicines? Do you keep everything until you use all of it? Nah. In my opinion, I would rather make a trip to the store and spend the $5-$10 (heck, $15) to replace it when I actually need it. Plus, I’ll know what I’m buying is full-strength!

If it’s a prescription, use your discretion as to whether it’s something worth holding onto and if it would be easy to get a refill.

Note: Take expired pills to a pharmacy where they can dispose of them properly.

3. Stop stockpiling travel items.

When we got married, my husband had a decent inventory of travel-sized soaps that he’d collected from various hotels. Two years later, we’ve barely touched them! The only travel items you need to keep are the ones you used on your last trip. Period.

4. Almost empty? THROW IT!

I know I’m not alone: I’m guilty of having 3 soaps in the shower with only a 1/2″ of soap left in them. To make matters worse, I had several of those in my closet, too. Guys, this is straight-up clutter!

Use it (NOW!) or lose it, friend! We don’t live for the someday. Your shelf space is PRECIOUS.

5. Do something with everything, now.

Hold every single item in your hands and make a decision on what to do with it. Keep it here, move it, toss it, or donate it. Don’t set it somewhere else to deal with later. Do it NOW! If you simply can’t make up your mind, put it in a box and wait 6 months to see if you use it. If you don’t, get rid of it.

Organizing

1. Roll those towels!

The best organization and space-saving tip I’ve come across is to ROLL YOUR TOWELS! Seriously. Being 5″2′, my top shelves are usually a collection of items that were chucked up there. By rolling these work towels, I can easily put them away and grab them out without them all falling on my face (seriously). By putting a bin up there for the utility rags, I can easily get the whole thing up and down to get whatever I need. It’s relieved a lot of stress having a simple solution for what should always be a very simple task.

declutter a closet - roll towels

2. BIN IT and LABEL IT!

I keep seeing this saying on Instagram and it has proven so true…

Containment is key!

Containment (AKA, putting stuff in labeled bins) not only makes it easier for you to find things, but it’s easier for your spouse, kids, guests, etc., to find what they need. It takes the guesswork out of your closet and makes it functional. You know how you have a mental map of things in other spaces? Like the fridge? “Milk is on the top shelf, veggies are in the bottom drawer…” and it’s so frustrating if someone puts the milk away in the wrong spot. Well, by using labeled bins, you’re showing everyone your mental map so they can keep it organized, just like you would!

3. EVERYTHING must be easily accessible.

If you have two “layers” of items on a shelf, keep the ones in the front short so it’s easy to reach the stuff in the back. Otherwise, you’ll be constantly knocking things over and rearranging stuff to reach items further in the back and your shelves will re-clutter fast!

declutter a closet - layering items

If you’re feeling overwhelmed…

I’m yet to get rid of something and later regret it. In fact, the more stuff I get rid of, the happier I am! That being said, I like to go all-in when I declutter a closet and that might not be for everyone. If you start to declutter but you get overwhelmed, just put what’s left back in the closet (even if it’s a mess!) and come back to it later.

Go at your own pace – you don’t want to get burnt out! A little progress is better than no progress, and I’m 110% you’ll feel an amazing sense of calm and relief once your closet is decluttered and organized. You got this!!

declutter a closet - before and after

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