Behind Closed Doors

Man trying to hold back the closet door, a closet overflowing


Tiffanie writes: If someone walks into my house they assume I am tidy and organized. What they don’t see is all the clutter hidden away behind closed doors. What do I need to do to recapture this precious space?


Thinking of a closet as a storage area opens up a whole load of trouble setting the stage for clutter behind closed doors. For instance, look in your hall closet and what do you find — just about anything. That is because it is right there smack in the middle of going to and coming from all corners of the house. And, with a door to block off the view, it is the perfect place to stash everything. The linen closet is the same thing. It has become a sanctuary for all sorts of whatnots.


Time to change your paradigm. Think of a closet as a small separate room and start the decluttering process. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when reviewing these hidden junk hot spots.

  • What is the primary purpose or function of the closet? The “all-purpose” closet only creates confusion and frustration when you begin looking for something. Always store items at or near the point where you will be using them. Strive for convenience as well as organization.
  • Reduce! It is best to reduce the contents before you begin to organize. In other words, start purging the unused, unloved, broken, unnecessary items. Ask yourself: Have I used this item in the past year? If not, consider recycling or dumping.
  • Be sure the closet is functional for its purpose. Do you need more shelving, double hanging rods or extra hooks? How about clear plastic boxes? Don’t forget to label all containers.
  • When organizing a closet, remember to keep frequently used objects low and accessible. Seldom used items can be place on higher shelves or in the back area of the closet.
  • Shoe bags hung on the back of closet doors are for more than shoes. Use them to store hats, mittens, scarves, small objects, toys, jewelry, utensils, office supplies, craft items, cosmetics, bathroom items, etc.
  • Create a user-friendly closet with the one-motion-storage/retrieval idea. You want to open the door and put away/retrieve without the hassle of moving or lifting something else.
  • Be creative — store sheets in the bedroom where they are used and keep underwear, pj’s, and exercise clothing in the bathroom closet. Always be mindful of convenience.
  • And finally: Don’t put it down, put it away!


Regina Leeds, author of organizing books and a keynote speaker, writes that the state of your closet is a gauge to evaluate the state of your life. Closet chaos reveals confusion in life while piles stacked to the ceiling divulges dark clouds hanging over your head. She believes that holding on to old clothing is a strong indicator that an individual is harboring past experiences and finding it difficult to let go.

Take a good look at why you are keeping unused, unloved items hidden behind closed doors and vow to do something about it. An organized closet is a first step to an organized life.