How to Solve Your Messy Closet Dilemma Once and for All

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How to Solve Your Messy Closet Dilemma Once and for All

If you dread getting dressed in the morning, your disorganized closet might just be to blame.  After all, most women have plenty of great clothes to wear, but those items often wind up hidden in a giant, cluttered mess. Shelves are crammed, hangers are tangled, and clothes, shoes, and belts are piled on up on the floor. If this sounds like your closet, you’re not alone! Frankly, closet chaos just happens from time to time because we are all busy with other priorities. But if you always start your day staring into an overstuffed, messy closet, you might find that the rest of your day feels disorganized and chaotic as well. And the worst part is, when your closet is a disaster, it’s hard to feel and look your very best. The solution? Make cleaning and organizing your closet an ongoing priority.

Regularly doing a closet clean-up and audit is useful for many reasons. Aside from the fact that it keeps you from repurchasing pieces you already own, having a tidy and organized closet helps you to create more thoughtful, intentional, and beautiful outfits in less time. In the end, you’ll look and feel better and enjoy the ease of getting dressed in the mornings. These tips will help you clean out your closet, organize it, and maintain it beautifully from now on.

Commit to get started. It’s never easy to get started on a major task, but the moment you do you’ll be amazed at how empowered you feel. And once you begin, you will start noticing the benefits of a neater closet. To make the process easier, schedule a block of time to get started and add it to your calendar. A Saturday morning, or a few 30-minute periods during the week are all it takes to reclaim control over your clothes and accessories.

Bring in the troops. If you need help getting some perspective on your current wardrobe, don’t hesitate to enlist help. A friend, a relative, or an image consultant can give you honest feedback and help you make good choices about which clothes you should keep and which you should get rid of. It’s also helpful that this person does not have the same emotional attachments to your clothing as you do and can give you unbiased feedback. Plus, you’ll welcome the moral support in tackling this project.

Commit to living in the present. Oftentimes, your old clothing does not represent who you are right now. And when you wear pieces that don’t honor you today, your confidence and self-worth may suffer. A closet audit can help you determine which items are still relevant to you today, and which items you are ready to discard. Examine each garment in your closet, and ask yourself: Is this a flattering cut for me now? Do I wear it? Does it look great on me or just so-so? Is the color flattering to me and my skin tone? Would I buy this again today?

Set up a trial separation. Clothes are often the diary of our lives, and that’s why they can be so hard to part with. For example, maybe you spent a lot of money on a fancy dress to wear to an evening wedding but haven’t taken it off the hanger since. Or perhaps a dear friend gave you a sweater that isn’t your style, but that you have a sentimental attachment to. For these rarely or never-worn garments, box them up and store them somewhere out of sight for one year. Then, revisit them. If absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, you’ll know it’s time to let those pieces move on.

Sort smart. As you sort through the contents of your closet, divide all items into four categories: items to throw away that are stained, ripped, or frayed; items you are keeping; items worth keeping that need alteration, repair, or dry cleaning; and items to be donated. This keeps the organization process more manageable.

Don’t forget accessories. After you sort all of your clothing, it’s time to organize your shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarves, and hats. You may discover drawers of scarves you’ve never worn, or nearly forgotten shoes piled up underneath racks of clothing. Use the same sorting criteria for these items that you used for your clothing.

Store off-season items. Few closets are large enough to comfortably accommodate both winter and summer clothes at the same time. That’s why it’s so important to rotate your seasonal clothing regularly instead of overfilling your closet space. With spring right around the corner, this may be a good time to pack away your snow boots, winter parka, and heaviest sweaters until next year. Now you can use this additional space to store more of your in-season garments.

Harness the power of organization. Once you’re ready to hang your clothing back up, commit to maintaining a high level of organization in your closet moving forward. First, try grouping your pieces by category—pants, skirts, tops, etc.—and then organizing each category in order of color or print. Paying attention to this level of detail will make it far easier to find the items you are looking for each morning.

Invest in some space-savers. While your closet is mostly empty, try adding a few space-saving items to make the most of the room you have available. For instance, add some shoe racks to keep your footwear neat and on display. If you have closet shelves, line them with clear bins to help you see everything easily. Also be sure to mount plenty of hooks for holding belts, ties, handbags, or necklaces. Finally, if you’re tight on space, consider hanging like garments together on multiple-bar hangers.

Maintain it. Once you’ve done your initial closet cleanup, you need to maintain the higher level of organization you have achieved. This consists of adopting everyday habits that will keep your closet from returning to a messy, tangled, and frustrating state. To keep this area orderly and functional, put away all clean laundry immediately, put everything back in it’s place at the end of each day, and constantly audit the pieces you own. Last of all, create an Attention Needed section in your closet, where you keep items that either need to be dry cleaned, altered, repaired, or donated.

Remember, a messy closet is a metaphor for a messy life. When it’s in a state of chronic disorganization, getting dressed becomes a frustrating experience. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Think of this space as a sacred area and give it the attention it deserves. You will immediately notice the difference—not only when you’re getting dressed in the morning, but throughout your whole day!


  • Marla Tomazin, Certified Image Consultant, established her image consulting business in 1990 with the goal of helping clients identify an authentic image and develop its effective expression. Marla utilizes her abilities in evaluating body shape, movement, and coloring as well as synthesizing optimal cuts, lines, colors, and textures. This results in balance and proportion that accentuate attributes and conceal flaws. Marla has appeared on numerous TV and radio stations and programs. Visit

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