Conquering Closet Clutter Once and For All

Conquering Closet Clutter Once and For All

Laine Hardman can be reached at, 703-401-4829 or

We all have that all-purpose closet that has become our dumping ground for everything from high school yearbooks to grandma’s tea set.  We know those holiday decorations are in there somewhere, but there is too much clutter on top of them to get at them easily.  (Or, very often, we can’t even remember what is in there!)

Although it may seem daunting, cleaning out a closet will save you time formerly spent looking for lost items and give you the sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering your clutter.  So, now that you know you are going to tackle the closet, put aside a couple of hours, make a plan, and stick to it.  Use the following steps to get that closet in shape.

Sort and Purge

First, pull everything out of the closet.

contents of closet

Separate and arrange contents by category and type. For example, balls, gloves, bats and bases.

sports balls

baseball gloves

baseball bats

Once you see what you have, decide what you are going to keep, what you are going to donate, and what can be thrown out. For some people, this can be a struggle. Remember, if you haven’t used an “everyday” item in one year, there is a good chance you won’t ever use it.


You may want to safely store items that you know you want to keep but won’t need anytime soon (like those yearbooks) in the attic or garage. A closet should be a place to retrieve something, not to store it.


Assign and Label

Give all items going back in the closet a home. Of course it would be great if everything had a clear, labeled, covered box, but it’s not needed. Plastic bins or even cardboard and fabric bins work well.

bins at top of closet


Store like-items together in one box with labels on all sides. Lesser-used items should go in the back. Items used more frequently should be stored at waist height. Reserve upper shelves for lightweight bins or objects to avoid injury if they fall.

winter accessories in bins

Stack similar items together so that when you go to retrieve the Christmas decorations, for example, they are all in one pile. If you have to store bins in front of each other, you could make a list of what is in the back and tape it to the inside of the closet.

Use hooks (either over the door or on the wall) to hold gym bags, jackets, hats, etc.


And finally, consider storage accessories in new ways: A clear overdoor shoe organizer can hold small items like mittens, gloves, winter hats or toiletries in a linen closet and a hanging sweater bag can hold shoes, school supplies, or stuffed animals.

All photos courtesy of DIYDelRay.

Laine Hardman can be reached at, 703-401-4829 or


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