Originally from Matt Baier’s Organizing Works Newsletter, May 2009


Without a plan, a closet can be like a black hole, where stuff goes in but never comes out.  But unlike a black hole, a closet has its limits.  When you run out of space in your storage closet, your stuff has to go somewhere else.  The result: annoying piles on floors and surfaces.  Here’s a five point checklist to test if your closet plan is V.A.L.I.D.:

V is for Visible.  The easier it is to see what you have, the easier it is to use it. Clearly labeled clear containers will optimize visibility.  The most important items to find should be placed at eye level.

A is for Accessible.  Frequently used items should be located front and center, preferably in clearly labeled drawers for everything below eye level.

L is for Local.  As much as possible, closet contents should be located closest to where they are used.  For example, sheets should be close to the bedroom, food should be close to the kitchen, etc.

I is for Infrequent Inside.  It’s easy to be aware of your most important items, but to keep them most accessible it’s necessary to free up the prime real estate in the front of the closet by first stowing the infrequently used items in the BACK of the closet.  For example, seasonal items and archive files can be stored in the back (and upper shelf) of the closet. 

D is for Dedicated.  Without a dedicated purpose (or two) an all-purpose closet quickly becomes a no-purpose closet.  An unlimited number of uses gives way to an unlimited amount of clutter.  Dedicate and celebrate.

When your storage closet is V.A.L.I.D., the “black hole” becomes a useful tool that allows you to find WHAT you want, WHEN you want it.  You can’t know what you have unless you can SEE  what you have.  When you know what you have you save valuable time and save money, by not making excess purchases of items you already have.