This is the final entry in a series of Top 10 Closet Storage Do’s and Don’ts.

10. DON’T rearrange just a part of your problem closet. Many is the time I’ve gotten halfway through emptying a closet and the client suggests I leave the rest because it’s “pretty well organized.”  Despite that suggestion, I recommend that we keep going so that we can start with a clean slate.  Invariably we unearth items that don’t belong in the assumed categories, items that have long been forgotten, and items that make the client say “Hey, I was looking for that!”  The reason for this is the deeper we get into the closet the more likely the items are older and hidden.   As a result, many of the items can be tossed, donated, or reassigned, freeing up significant amounts of space for more useful items.  Stashing items in a closet can provide a false sense of control.  In reality, you have given control to your clutter, which gradually turns your closet into an all-consuming black hole.

empty-closetDO empty 100% of your problem closet and start from scratch. The most important first step to getting organized is to purge the items that are no longer serving you well.  You cannot skip this step and be truly organized.  It’s much easier to rethink  the use(s) of your closet if it is 100% empty. 90% can be a dangerous place to stop, because non-dedicated zones tend to spread, sabotaging the dedicated zones.  I’m not saying you necessarily have to purge that last 10%, but at least take a closer look at it.  That last 10% can be a real missed opportunity.  For example, maybe you find boxes of old kitchenware that you never use that you can donate to your local Goodwill.  This then frees up room for all those winter clothes that have been cluttering up your bedroom since April.  Now you have dedicated a zone for seasonal clothes.  When October rolls around you can then trade out your boots and parkas for shorts and sandals.

Today’s key to unlocking clutter. Don’t negotiate with your clutter.