A Simpler Life Series 3: Just 20 Minutes in the Closet

Closets and dressers. We’ve all had to squeeze our things into an assortment of spaces. From the closets we shared with our sisters to the handful of lopsided dressers in college, I’m willing to bet you’ve seen a lot.  Now my question is about the things you see when you open those spaces.  Are they stuffed with too many things?  Are there things in there that really don’t belong, things that are cluttering your home and your life?  Even enormous closets the size of our house can suffer.  Clutter complicates life.  Unfortunately, closets seem to be the place were clutter quickly collects.

So let’s keep things a little simpler this week, shall we?  Instead of running around the house opening windows (week 1) or rounding up those free flying papers (week 2), let’s stick to one place in our homes.

Free yourself and some of that morning chaos or dread by freeing up your closet. A dresser with less clutter creates a sense of pleasure when you open it.  You can see exactly what you’re looking for without all the distractions.  Less clutter in the morning is the perfect way to open your life to the possibility of more pleasure.

It’s a habit I started forming in high school (the first – and only – time I had my own closet).  My sister started appearing with clothes that I knew were mine… I just didn’t remember seeing them in the closet.  I started recognizing that I had a problem with too much.  Here’s a solution.  I try to follow it several times a year.

You ready?  I promise it won’t take more than twenty minutes (unless your clothes storage IS the size of our apartment):


1. Pull out everything that isn’t clothing related.  Sock drawers always become holding places for small items.  Closet shelves start holding random things and hiding sweaters.  If you’re keeping random household things in your clothing space, take them out now.  Put them somewhere else, give them away, or toss them right now.

2. Donate 5 things.  Stand in front of your dresser and promise yourself that you will take out five things that you no longer need.  Open it up and start pulling.  Then repeat at the closet.  You’d be amazed by how many t-shirts from various fundraisers and organizations can build up at the bottom of your drawers.

3. Get rid of extra hangers. Pull out all the extra hangers if they’re building up.  Metal hangers can be donated to dry cleaners.  Donation centers and charities are often short on hangers, so pass on your excess.  Don’t throw it away.

That’s it.  No more.  You’re done.

As for our house?  Here are the closet discoveries heading to our local donation center:

  • three pairs of pants
  • one shirt
  • two undershirts
  • stack of small towels
  • eight hangers
  • (image by Katie for Making This Home)