How to Organize your Closet!
Day 1 of 5 days of Organizing



Welcome to day 1 of the 5 days of organizing series!  I’m getting the biggest, baddest, most intimidating one out of the way first.  Closets.

Just how intimidating is going through your closet and organizing it?  Well … let’s see … the fella ran away from home around 8 or 9 months ago and I still haven’t moved the things from my closet into his.  (his closet was the smaller one in the bedroom, while mine was the larger walk in closet in the hall)

I’ve been wanting to/meaning to/hoping to/avoiding to move my seasonal clothes into the bedroom closet, while leaving the out of season clothes in the walk in.  3 seasons have passed without me doing this.  I’m pretty much a great closet organizer avoider.

So while you read all of these posts this week, know that we’re all the same.  We all want to have an organized, perfect life and home, but we don’t.  But if you follow each of my 5 organizing posts this week we CAN be.  For a little while, until the mess builds up again, anyway.  Which in my book is better than nothing.

Organizing your closet isn’t what you’d call brain surgery with a butter knife.  It’s pretty simple and we all know what has to be done. It’s just that it’s sometimes easier to do it when there’s a list telling you exactly what to do.  And a person you’ve never met before looking at you sternly from behind her computer screen.

So here is that list.

1.  Identify what to do with each item.

  • Keep
  • Garbage
  • Donate
  • Reuse/recycle

Put everything into separate piles and deal with them immediately.  Throw the garbage clothes in the garbage, wash and fold the donate pile and put it in a box (at the very least put it in a box and in the laundry room to wash and fold later), set aside things you know you can use for crafts and or projects later.  More on things you should save and the things you can use them for later on in the post.

The clothes you keep are the ones you wear THAT a) look good on you b) are comfortable c) aren’t hideously out of date or inappropriate.  No matter how much you loved the dress you wore when you were 25 and how good it looked at the time, chances are 20 years later you look like a lunatic wearing it.  Sorry.  But, someone had to tell you.

2.  Clean and decide how to categorize your clothing.

  • Clean your closet.
  • Buy or make shoe organizers.
  • Decide whether to group your clothing by colour or season.  (I do a combination of colour and season)
  • Don’t forget to use the back of your closet door for storage.  Hanging hooks can hold purses, belts, jewellery or your housecoat.
  • I *also* have a work category.  Clothes that I can get paint, grease or goo on without worrying.  These clothes go in their own drawer.

3.  Put it all back.

  • Hang pants and shirts.
  • Fold sweaters and put on shelf or in drawers.
  • Organize shoes.  Do NOT keep them in their boxes.  Out of site, out of mind. Even if you do that super-organized thing and take a picture of the shoes and paste it on the outside of the box, you’ll wear them less than if you can just see and grab the shoes.  We’re all pretty lazy at heart.


A shot of my larger closet “before” …

Closet Before


A shot of my larger closet “after” …
Closet After

Tips from my Closet

* Try EVERYTHING on.  It’ll remind you of how much you love or hate something. Looking at it doesn’t work.  Put it on!

(to make it less overwhelming, grab an armful of hangers and go through that pile.  Try on, separate into piles, put keepers aside, repeat.)

* Put a pair of neutral heels on and try all of your dresses on at once.  It’s just easier.  To clarify, I don’t mean put one dress on top of the other until you’re wearing all of your dresses.

* If you’re iffy on something put it in your keep pile.  Then when you put everything back in your closet, go through everything again.  After trying everything on you might decide that thing you were iffy on is actually a throw away.

There are a few ways you can recycle old clothing into new crap!


Sweaters that don’t fit, have holes or you don’t like anymore?

Turn them into grocery bags …


Sweater Grocery Bag tutorial 

… or pillows! (like Centsational Girl did)



Sweater Pillow tutorial


Jeans too tight?  Jeans too ugly?

Turn them into a hanging pencil holder.


Jean Pencil Holder tutorial


Old shirts

Cruddy old shirts?

Turn them into MORE grocery bags!


Lumberjack Sack tutorial

Or cut the fabric out and use them as embroidery hoop wall hangings.


Hanging Embroidery Hoop Hanging tutorial

Approximate time for project:  Well for me it took a whole day. But you’re much better at keeping an organized closet than I am so I’m sure it’ll only take you a few hours.  If your closet is exactly as big a disaster as mine is … give yourself the weekend.

On a side note, it’ll take you a lot less time if you make a real effort to stay focused.

I made no such effort.  You might say as I went through my closet I got a bit distracted going through all the stuff I found in there. Mind you … I was just sticking to my rule of trying everything on.

Black Wig
Crazy Wig

Consider yourselves warned.

Have your own tips? Tricks? Let everyone know.


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  2. Regina says:

    Years ago while cleaning out my closet I found my tiara from being a beef queen. So I put it on my head whilst wearing mismatched pj’s and robe. It was such a hysterical combination that my bestie had to come over and see what I had on. Now everytime I clean out my closet I wear my tiara. I’m bizarre that way… :)

  3. viveka says:

    I would love to have you coming over .. and organizing my closet, even if it’s that bad …
    Love reuse of the clothing items – brilliant idea.

  4. Amanda says:

    I have a platinum blonde bob wig and an electric blue wig. No one would ever guess. And I lurve your shoes. You really are a fashionista! I’m waiting for a fashion post….

    • Karen says:

      Hah! It’s coming. Although I”m not sure how to tackle it. I’m not one of those “this is what I”m wearing today” kind of bloggers. :) ~ karen!

  5. elaine says:

    Instead of tossing any clothes that are too ragged to donate, give them to a pet shelter to use as animal bedding. or drop them at any H&M.

  6. Sera says:

    Karen, it’s as if you’re reading my mind. But of course, I’m already late. It’s Tuesday and I’m just now reading the assignment for Monday. I did a huge reorganize in April, but I needed to get a standing clothes rack for some extra stuff. (Seasonal coats, wedding dress, etc.) and I never ended up doing it. I didn’t want to spend the money. So yes, my wedding dress is draped in a lump in my back closet area. I have extra storage carved into the eaves of our roof off the closet. It’s weird and pointy storage and mostly contains boxes of books, fabric, yarn, and artwork to be rotated into the general collection. It needs reorganizing, but I’m not sure I want to bury myself in my closet all afternoon again. I feel like I need to tackle some easily seeable projects that I can continue to look on in pride. But I concede, as long as you give me until the weekend, I promise to tackle the closet again. Do you want before and after pics again?

  7. NikiDee says:

    I was bemusedly reading then…….YIKES! I thought for a second that you dyed your hair black. But on a second look I thought WOW that’s an amazing look for you. Your eyes POP! (in a good way). Glad it’s a wig but you sure can pull it off. I do keep my shoes in boxed (nothing comes between me and a change of shoes. Most of my shoes are boots (hiking, snow, knee length) and the boxes make it simple for me to choose from. I am fortunate to also have a hall closet to stack them in and stand in front of my boot booty – so to speak – and just sigh ;) Thanks for the wonderful series. Off to clean my closet or maybe just stare at my booty.

  8. This is too ambitious for me today. (dentist appointment) In fact I think I will do this next week as I have to leave for a few days to dog-sit. (this is not an excuse…honest)

  9. Katie says:

    So good! Six hours later and I have been through three closets and two dressers! Excited about the rest of the week!

  10. Carolyn says:

    I love the black wig on you, the second one. You look like Betty. Scarey…. I noticed your favorite color is blue.
    And I love all the ideas of what to do with old clothes. thank you…
    You need to go shopping…. You are so pretty. Get something sexy, or fresh. It will make you feel good.

    • Karen says:

      LOL! People HAVE to stop saying that second picture looks like Betty! It looks nothing like Betty! She’d be mortified. Betty wouldn’t be caught dead looking like that, lol! Oh! And thank you. Off to buy something new soon. ~ karen!

  11. Debbie says:

    I, too, confess to being a closet neatnik (yup, you can take that two ways).
    I wear hats and every hat is in a hat box on the top shelf , two boxes high(yeah, the closet is a nice size). I have one of those small stepstools that fold right up when you pick up the handle to reach them and it stores away with a slim footprint. There is a photo of every hat on the front of the box. Just in case I want to switch boxes, each photo is in a plastic sleeve that is velcroed to each box. I can switch photos or switch plastic sleeves.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Well I guess I’m just anal. I have taken photos of my shoes and taped them to the end of the shoe boxes. I don’t forget what I have because they’re right in front of me, on the shelves below my sweaters. Since I keep good shoes and boots for many years, the boxes prevent the leather from drying out. To add insult to injury, I also stuff the toes with tissue and use paper to separate the shoes inside the box. It cuts down on scuffs. Sorry, you had to know there’s one of us in every crowd. Love your wigs:-))

  13. Laura Bee says:

    So, now I know what I am doing on my day off tomorrow. Ack. Awesome.

    Thanks for the laugh & the inspiration & guidance through this journey I am about to embark on.

  14. Kristin says:

    I heard a good tip (may be redundant–you have too many damn readers who comment and I can’t read them all!)

    After you organize your closet to your satisfaction, hang all your clothes back up with the hangers facing to the front. Over the course of the year, every time you wear something, put it back in the closet facing back again. At the end of the year, you will see which clothes you actually wore (the ones with hangers facing the usual way, towards the back), and can then decide to get rid of the things you never wear. Of foolishly hang on to them for sentimental reasons.

  15. Maryanne says:

    Great tips Karen!!!
    My favorite tip is using pool noodles as inserts in your boots. Cut to fit.
    Dollar store finds in the summer.

  16. Melody says:

    Well, here’s what I did. We have a 3-bedroom house and only really use 1 (one is for guests, theoretically). I took the one we had been using as a ‘junk room’ and made it into a closet. I should note that we have an older house and only a couple of dinky reach in closets otherwise. I spent a week at it, but I got rid of 10 (TEN) bags of clothes and organized everything. One year later, it still is working great. Bonus – I can see everything and now put together combinations I hadn’t tried before. Having enough space for everything really changed my ability to keep it neat and tidy.

  17. Denna says:

    I saw two empty spots on your shoe racks, that means shoe shopping

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