10 Things that Should NOT Be in Your Closet

posted by Andrea | 02/7/2011

I see a lot of crazy closets on and daily and weekly basis — it’s what I do!

Out of all my organizing services, my #1 request is to help people organize their closets, which actually isn’t that surprising. However, I’m always amazed that the stuff I find in people’s closets.

And every time I think I’ve seen the craziest closet ever, I see one that’s crazier!

Think about what’s in your close right now. Better yet — walk on over, open the doors, and actually look at everything in your closet. Then remove everything on this list!

1. Anything you don’t LOVE:

This is #1 for a reason — if you don’t love it, you won’t wear it. Period.

Remove everything you don’t absolutely love and make space for a few new items you do.

2. Anything you don’t need:

And this is #2 for a reason. If you don’t need something, there is no reason it should take up prime real-estate in your closet.

3. Anything that’s too small:

Seriously, you’re not helping yourself by keeping those clothes from before you gained weight. Get rid of them now, and stop reminding yourself about what you “used to look like”.

Then, when you do lose the extra weight, you’ll have plenty of extra closet space for new clothes!

4. Anything that’s too big:

Yup, these items need to go too.

I’m definitely not a fashion guru, but I know that wearing baggy, “too-big” clothing doesn’t do anything for me and doesn’t deserve a space in my closet!

5. Anything you have multiples of:

I’m obsessed with gray and black, so I often end up with WAY too many gray and black sweaters {at one point I counted 18 gray sweaters!!} Don’t worry, I got rid of at least 5 of them :)

So unless your job requires you to wear the same thing every day {and I know some do} you can probably purge anything you have 4, 5, or 18 of!

6. Anything that doesn’t fit your lifestyle:

When I got married, I had lots of dress clothes because I worked in an office every day. Now, I work in other people’s dirty, cluttery closets and don’t have the need {or desire} to get all dressed up.

Needless to say, the contents of my closet have also changed. I’ve replaced most of my dress clothes with more casual khakis,  jeans, and comfortable tops that I can do lots of moving in.

Think about this with the items in your own closet — do they fit your lifestyle? If not, get rid of them.

7. Anything that doesn’t “go” with your other items:

My favorite stores to shop at are Gap and J Crew {clearance racks for both!} because I feel like most items in those stores can be mixed and matched to make a variety of combinations — which means I can get by with fewer items. So whenever I purchase an item, I first ask myself if it will go with other times I already own. If not, I won’t buy it.

Like I mentioned earlier, I have lots of black a gray — which are both colors I can mix and match with TONS of other items to create new looks. I can add a colored scarf, put a patterned or colored shirt under the sweater, or pair it with some fun jewelry — I love multi-tasking clothes!

8. Any empty hangers:

You’d be surprised how much space empty hangers can take up — so get them out of your closet!

Plus, don’t you just hate it when you’re trying to pull something out and the hanger gets caught on all the other empty hangers? So annoying!

9. Anything that’s not yours:

Unless you share a closet with your significant other, you really shouldn’t have ANYTHING in your closet that isn’t yours. Enough said.

10. Anything that you can’t wear:

Yup, this means camping  gear, exercise equipment, office supplies, pantry items, holiday decorations, etc.

Believe me, I’ve seen it all, and NONE of it belongs in your closet!

.

Remove anything in these 10 categories and enjoy a lot less clutter and a lot more closet space!

What should you remove from your closet?

 

{top photo credit}

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39 comments

  1. Lisa Harrison

    02/07/2011

    This is the best advice on closet organization I have ever seen. Good work, Andrea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow, thanks Lisa!

    So, will you be cleaning our your closet tonight??

    [Reply]

  2. Karen

    02/07/2011

    These are the things in my closet right now that are driving me nuts: 4 huge stacks of books that need to find a bookshelf somewhere (they were displaced when we took a spare space and turned it into a play room), my daughter’ s cheer uniform from 2001 and her prom dresses, and a couple of wedding outfits from her wedding. She has her own home now, so I think I will call her and tell her to pick them up. I am really trying to simplify this year and I really don’t want this stuff hanging around. I really love Peter Walsh, and his show on Oprah’s network. Do I get points for rotating my shoes seasonally? Your post on what you don’t spend money on has really made me think about all the ways I waste money ~ ouch! My word for this year is “simplify” and my phrase is “do better”. Thanks for the inspiration.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Karen, I’m glad you are simplifying in 2011, and yes, you get points for rotating your shoes seasonally!

    My two cents {take them for what they are worth} — you should definitely get those books and your daughter’s things out of YOUR closet. Just think about how much extra space you’ll have!

    [Reply]

  3. Kelly

    02/07/2011

    I don’t love anything in my closet… Does that mean I should take the day off and go clothes shopping tomorrow?!?! Yay me!
    Thanks for the post!
    Kelly

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Haha…I know the feeling!
    I suppose you should probably go through ALL your clothes and start purging. Then take a look at what’s left…and head to the mall. There are TONS of sales this time of year!!

    [Reply]

  4. Betsy (Eco-novice)

    02/08/2011

    I too believe in donating what you are not using, but sometimes there is a balance. I hate to buy something to replace something else I recently donated. When you are in your childbearing years, it can be a good idea to hang onto some of those slightly baggy clothes, so you don’t have to wear maternity clothes for 3 months after you have a baby. Or to dream you’ll get back into your favorite skirt in the hopes that you’ll someday have time to exercise. I’m not talking 20 items, just 1 or 2. I’m hanging onto some shirts that I’ll be able to wear again when I’m not a DDD. Often clothes become so unfashionable over a few years that you can get rid of them anyway, regardless of sizing issues. My sister (single and still fashionable) does closet purges with me and is brutally honest about how dated some clothing is. Now, 2 children and 4 years later, I have also come to accept that my waist will never be what it once was, and, now, FINALLY, I can give away those clothes that are too small. I think I’m also ready to get rid of some heels I don’t think I’ll be wearing ever again. I don’t have that many clothes (I currently share my closet with my husband), and so sometimes I give myself permission to hang onto things I’m not quite ready to let go of. But a few months before I move, that’s when the serious purging begins. That’s when there is no mercy.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good point Betsy, balance is key in all organizing projects! And I love that your sister is brutally honest, we ALL need someone like that to tell us what works and what doesn’t!

    Thanks for the great tips!

    [Reply]

  5. Betsy (Eco-novice)

    02/08/2011

    But those baggy clothes and slightly too small clothes don’t need to be in your closet, I guess. They could be in a bin in the garage. My closet real estate is not that precious. (I’ve got plenty of extra space). Now my FRIDGE, that is precious real estate.

    [Reply]

  6. MainlineMom

    02/08/2011

    I follow all these rules and my closet it huge anyway. My issue right now is trying to help my 91 year old grandparents let go of things and clean out their closets. So amazingly frustrating. What do you do when you are trying to help organize someone and they refuse to listen to reason about getting rid of things they haven’t used in ten years?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to “force” anyone to get rid of something. My clients contact me because they DO want to get rid of stuff, they just don’t know where to start or how to do it. So normally, I don’t have to do too much coaxing to get them to agree!

    And elderly people are even more challenging because they lived through the depression and often want to keep everything –which IS really frustrating. My best advice is to ask them to put anything they don’t use/need in boxes in the garage or basement {or even in a storage unit}. This way, they can still hang on to ALL their stuff, but it’s not cluttering up their home. Then, when they move to a nursing home or pass away, you’ll know what things they weren’t using and can donate all the boxes at that time.

    [Reply]

  7. Jennifer

    02/08/2011

    Our closet looks better and organized after we did a major purge following most of your above tips. However, we do have items in our closet that are not clothes–and our closet is quite large. Where should these items go? Our garage is a disaster (my husband’s project for years now), and we don’t have a basement.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yay for closet purging! I’m sure it felt great to get your closet cleaned up and organized.

    It sounds like you have a walk-in closet, in which case I think it’s OK to store other items — as long as it’s not overflowing with stuff. If you have room for your clothes AND extra space for other items, then go ahead and leave those items in your closet. If you feel like things are still too crowded and you can’t find what you need in your closet, then I would definitely encourage you to purge even more.

    It’s tough when you don’t have a basement or garage for extra storage, but is there other place you could store these things besides your closet? Do you have a hall closet, and extra bedroom, anything else that would work? If not, you could always get rid of more clothing to make room for other items in your closet.

    As always, my tips are just guidelines to get you thinking. Do what works best for you and your situation! Hope this helps.

    [Reply]

  8. Stacey

    02/08/2011

    We are getting ready to put our house on the market and i just purged my closet this past weekend! It looks great but since its a huge walk-in (really old house, we turned what would be a nursery way back when into a closet) and we have no closets on the main floor, we have to store a little bit more than just my clothes in it. There are a few things i dont know about though, I have a nice coat that is in good condition. I would donate it with no problems but it could use a good cleaning. I really dont want to pay to have something im donating dry-cleaned. AND my wedding dress is hanging there still in the garment bag. I never had it cleaned (i know i should have right away) and i dont know what to do with it. I dont think its really in good enough condition to sell or donate (not sure id even want to) but i dont really know of a good way to store it. Any suggestions for what to do about either?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh, you have to love old houses! We’re dealing with closet issues in our farmhouse as well!

    To answer your questions: I would donate the coat — if it’s a nice coat, the new owners can have it cleaned. Also, about the wedding dress, I’m planning to talk about this in another month {and I’ll show what I did with my dress} but if you don’t want it, I would highly encourage you to get rid of it!!

    If you’re still not ready to part with it, then put it in a space-saver bag and suck out all the air. It will take up much less space than in a bulky box.

    [Reply]

  9. Kari

    02/08/2011

    I live in a 120 year-old farmhouse with a bedroom closet about the size of a gun case. Strange comparison? Not when that is what it in it. :) It actually makes a great spot to put the safe and ammo and is away from “public” areas and our daughter. So what do we use as our closet? A spare bedroom. We bought a nice rack for hanging clothes, have a dresser, and a bookshelf in there. I’m loving the 5 shelf book case for clothes storage due to the convenience of not opening and closing dresser drawers, it has the feel of a custom walk-in closet (just that part, everthing else is way too hodge-podge to fell that nice). This room also houses my iron and ironing board. My problem: this also needs to be our storage room (no garage). So our closet has tons of things in it that aren’t clothes. I’m trying to find something inexpensive to partition the room in hopes that it won’t be so depressing to walk into. My stored items are exactly tidy at this point and I don’t like looking at them.

    You’d have a hay-day at my house. But, I’m doing better. I’m really trying to simplify and purge. My husband thinks it is because I’m finally listening to him, but I know that you have more to do with it. :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh, I’d love to see your farmhouse!

    I like the idea of partitioning off part of your closet so you don’t need to look at all that extra stuff. Maybe you could run a row of bookcases through the middle of the room with your clothing on one side and the “other stuff” on one the other side. Just an idea!

    [Reply]

    Kari Reply:

    Unfortunately, most of the nice old charm of our farmhouse is gone. We are left with the downfalls of an old farmhouse…small bedrooms, microscopic closets, drafty walls, and one bathroom. We have made it our own and it is home to us…for now…until we get our dreamhouse. I’m so excited that you are at that point and have enjoyed peeking in on your house on Farmhouse Love.

    [Reply]

  10. Karen Hartzell, Graco

    02/08/2011

    I want all my husband’s stuff out. We shouldn’t have to share our master br closet. There’s a coat closet downstairs he can use. hahaha

    Great tips! I will be checking out my closet tonight.

    [Reply]

    Julie Reply:

    Ha ha ha ha Karen! I love that!

    [Reply]

  11. Julie

    02/10/2011

    We have cleaned and purged our bedroom closet! The problem is that we have lots of other stuff in there too. No too much and we don’t use the space for clothes so…. The problem is that we have photo albums from my childhood and longer all of which I want to keep as well as other things. We have a large house but no linen closet other than in the master bathroom. And by masterbathroom I mean the main one for the house. I don’t even like to store linens in there where there is moisture(you know from showers, even with the fan on). So where do I store these things. I prefer they not be in the basement in case of flooding (which we haven’t ever had) or back up of the sewer. I know that if they were up on a shelf they would be ok, but still I prefer they not be there. Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Julie, in our new house we don’t have a linen closet, hall closet, back-door closet, or front-door closet — so I feel your pain!

    I’ve actually been using an extra dresser for our linen closet. I use one drawer for pillow cases and misc, one drawer for twin/full, one for queen, and one for blankets. I try not to keep too many extra linens around…I just wash them and put them right back on our beds. This saves lots of space. Another idea would be to store the extra linens for each bed in between the mattresses (you could lay them out flat so they don’t take up as much room). Or you could use those space saver bags (that prevent water damage) and keep them in a tub in your basement.

    And for towels, we keep all of those in the bathroom b/c we go through them every week and wash them so the dampness doesn’t bother me.

    Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  12. Anna

    01/12/2012

    I know this article isn’t new anymore, but I’ve sort of been sucked into your site and am reading various awesome articles. So my question is this: where to put the hangers that aren’t allowed in the closet?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha.. thanks Anna!
    I always keep a few extra hangers in each closet just in case we get something new or need an extra one for something. But other than that, I don’t have many “extra” hangers. We have some in our coat closet, but that’s it. We just have hangers for the clothes we currently have right now… and if we get new items, we get rid of old items so we don’t ever need many more hangers.

    [Reply]

  13. Jen

    02/21/2012

    I just found your blog yesterday, and I spent over two hours combing the archives. I love it! This article is excellent. I like to gather all the empty hangers a few times per week and take them down to the laundry room, where I do my folding. I have a rack in there, so I hang things as I get to them. It makes putting clothes away much easier.

    I think my little man and I are going to go work on my closet right now…

    [Reply]

  14. Emily

    02/23/2012

    Wow! Now that I have the rules of the game, I’m gonna get my closet cleaned! Woo hoo!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yay! Have fun organizing!

    [Reply]

  15. Evelyn

    03/02/2012

    You have been my God send thanks to Pinterest (where I first found you).
    Thank you for your amazing ideas. With a new baby in the house I feel the need to keeps things
    Simple and clear. You Rock!!!!

    [Reply]

  16. VeritySa

    03/02/2012

    Andrea, this is a great article!

    I’d love it if you wrote an article about ‘transition clothes’ (and what to do with them!)

    I’m expecting baby #3 and seem to have four different wardrobes. (The early pregnancy, late pregnancy, breastfeeding and then my normal skinny clothes!)

    Any tips you’ve discovered on keeping the pregnancy clothes under control would make a great post!

    [Reply]

  17. Patty Gardner

    03/02/2012

    Well, my closet is pretty sparse right now but it wasn’t last week. My husband and I recently ended up with an empty nest. The upstairs bedroom was empty so we moved up there – it’s bigger and nicer. Stayed up there a month or so and decided we missed our tiny main floor bedroom and moved back. In the process, I only moved the clothes I actually wear. Wow! I need to buy some more clothes. My tiny closet is bare! I didn’t realize how much stuff I had that I never wore.

    [Reply]

  18. Monika Kristofferson

    03/08/2012

    All right on, good post! :)

    [Reply]

  19. Amelia

    03/12/2012

    Thanks for the MUCH NEEDED closet lecture! I know I have a lot of clothes that are too small in my closet in hopes of loosing 10 lbs and being able to fit into them again. However, it hasn’t happened thus far, so I’m getting rid of them this week (even if it’s just putting them in a Rubber Maid in the garage). If I can’t wear them by next season, I’ll give them away I promise! Ha!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yay!!! happy purging!!

    [Reply]

  20. Christine

    08/31/2012

    Not sure where I’m supposed to put all the boxes of pictures, frames, kids rewards, and other misc items in my closet. The clutter drives me nuts but I’m not so great at organizing or picturing in my mind how to declutter.

    [Reply]

  21. sophia

    11/14/2012

    Found u on pintrest….not gonna lie but I’m gonna stalk u…jk! !! Great tips..I’m a clothes hoarder but am trying!!! Big purge to happen this weekend! Did one a year ago of clothes that didn’t fit..now I think if I saved them they would fit since I lost that peaky 20#! I’m affraid to purge in fear ill gain the weight back. :(

    [Reply]

  22. Love and Lollipops

    09/21/2013

    Hi Andrea,

    I very recently discovered your blog and am loving it. This month I challenged my Facebook friends to 30 days (of September) of clearing the clutter. It’s been so much fun and the group of ladies are enjoying it (I think) and we are inspiring and keeping each other accountable. I’ve been sharing some inspiration with them and have linked to a few of your posts in the process. Thank you!

    Take care,
    Georgia
    (South Africa)

    [Reply]

  23. frith du plessis

    09/21/2013

    Followiing you through Georgia. Love all your suggestions. My nightly dose of inspiration.

    Thanks
    Frith
    South Africa

    [Reply]

  24. Nancy

    10/20/2013

    We are getting ready to sell our home. I have my clothes in the walk-in master bedroom closet but my husband has his in a guest room closet. Should we put both of our clothes in the walk-in ( after we purge tons of clothes) so it appears that the walk-in is large enough for 2?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    honestly, I don’t think it matters. The most important thing is that the spaces are clutter-free and relatively organized. That will make your home look more appealing than if both your clothes are in one closet or not.

    [Reply]

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