5 Steps to Keep Your Closets Organized

Everything in my house is organized. Totally and completely organized. The bookcase in the office? Organized. The shelves in the laundry room? Organized. The kitchen cabinets? Yep, you can look there. They’re organized (for now). 

But then there are *dun dun dun* the closets. 

Closets are a blessing and a curse at the same time. On one hand, they give us a place to store our stuff. On the other hand, they give us a place to store tons of stuff that we don’t need and a place to hide it away so we never have to deal with it. 

My house is about a century old, and it only has four closets. One in each bedroom, and one in the laundry room. Out of those four, I only feel like one of them is functional. The other three? Traps for junk, like things I’m planning to donate or things that just don’t have another home. 

Is this a problem for you, too? 


This post can show you how to organize your closets and keep them organized over time! Say hello to the CHARM system! 

The CHARM System:


C– Start with a Clear Goal
H– Adjust your Habits to align with your goal
A– Take Action
R– String your habits together into Routines
M– Have a Positive Mindset

Step #1: Envision a Clear Goal for Each Closet


On a piece of paper, write a heading for each closet in your house, even if you feel like it’s already being used efficiently. Next, set a timer for a minute and write down how you envision each closet being used. If you need some help, just close your eyes and visualize your perfect life, where everything is clean and everyone is happy. You are totally efficient, look completely fabulous, and everyone in your life is happy. 

In that scenario, how do you envision yourself coming into your home? Where do you put your things? What do you see when you open each of those closets? Include any containers, shelving systems, etc. that you envision. Remember to include how often you see yourself cleaning out each closet in your perfect world 🙂 

Here are my goals for each closet:

Master Closet: Categorized by clothing type and category. Organized with a chronologically rotating system. Aligns with Stylebook App. 

Laundry Closet: Holds all cleaning supplies. Also holds unusual items- Halloween costumes, etc. in neat containers. Bin for items to be donated quarterly. 

Office Closet: Holds outdoorsy stuff, like the stroller, workout equipment. Everything is organized and in its place. Cleaned out every 6 months. 

My Son’s Closet: Out of season clothes kept on the top rack. Shoes on the top rack. Blankets and toys stored on side shelves. Large toys at the bottom. 

(Want to create a minimalist wardrobe that reflects your personal style? This post will help you!)

Step #2: Form Good Habits


Now that you have that down on paper, think about what daily habits you would need to create to keep your goal a reality. I’m not talking about “Go to Home Depot and buy a shelving system.” I’m talking about consistent things like putting your clothes away at the same time of day. Here are the habits I’ll need to get into to keep my closets looking the way I want them.

Set your timer for one minute and write down how you see yourself “interacting” with each closet (it sounds crazy, but I promise it works!). 

Here are the habits I need to form to achieve the goal:

Master Closet: 
-Document everything in Stylebook every day. 
-When I come home each day, put clothes away immediately- behind other clothes in that category. 
-Every 3 months, re-evaluate items not worn. 

Laundry Closet:
-Put items to donate in “Donate” Bin as notice them. 
-Donate to Junior League every three months. 

Office Closet:
-Keep free of office clutter. This is not a home for old notebooks. 
-Identify the things you want to keep and create a new home for them. 

Cash’s Closet: 
-Put big toys (activity table/balance bike) in here nightly. 
-Organize his smaller toys by type and in bins on shelves. 
-Switch out bins weekly. 

Step #3: Take Action


Now that you’ve identified your Clear Goal and Target Habits, it’s time to take action. This is where you get to run to Home Depot and buy that shelving system! Think about what kinds of containers you want. Don’t settle for the first containers you find either, look around and find EXACTLY what you want! The size, the color. What you want exists somewhere, and you won’t feel happy with your closet if you use ill-fitting containers. 

Once you have everything you need, it’s time to actually organize the closet! I am a big fan of this and I kind of look forward to doing it. Turn on all the lights in the room where you are working, get some water, play some music, and take every. single. thing. out of your closet. Everything.

Also Read: 5 Rules for Simplified Style: Get Your Closet Under Control!

We dread cleaning out closets because it’s work. However, once we’ve taken everything out, putting things back into the closet becomes the work. You are far less likely to expend energy putting things you don’t love back into the closet. You may even find that you only loved about 20% of the things in your closet, and you were just keeping the rest because you didn’t want to go through the work of cleaning it out! 


So start with the things you love the most. If you were packing to leave town for a hurricane, and you knew there was a chance you might never see some of these things again, what would you choose to take with you? Think with that mentality. No excess. 

(Related: Creative Storage Solutions for Closets)

Once you’ve gotten those things hung back up in your closet, set a limit of some sort. It could be 20 hangers or everything you can fit in one bin. Be ruthless as you slowly decide which things to add back in. And once you’ve hit your limit, donate the excess that was hiding in your closet! This works for clothes, toys, books, blankets, whatever you’re storing in your closets. 

Most closet organization posts would stop there. You’ve done the hard work. You’ve got a nice, clean closet. You’re done, right? 

Well… organizing your closet and keeping your closet organized is kind of like losing weight and keeping it off. It’s great if you do it all at once and it looks great afterward. But if you don’t change your daily routines, it won’t last. This is where Step # 4 comes in…

Step #4 comes in: Develop Consistent Routines


Look back at your habits. This is the time that you need to use a little discipline and set those habit into motion. One of my habits was to hang up my clothes as soon as I get home. When I get home from work, it’s so easy to leave clothes on the floor for “just a few minutes” while I get water, or pick up my son. But when I do that, I’m not respecting the goal that I set for myself. 

If you tell yourself that you’re going to do something, do it. If you let yourself slack off a little here and there, eventually, you’ll find yourself right back where you started, being stressed about all the excess junk lurking in your closets. Focus on creating one habit for a month, then another one. Eventually, you’ll be able to string your habits together into routines. The routines will keep you from having to have a “closet cleaning” day every year. 

It may seem silly to consciously think about closets, and create habits and routines for them. BUT every little thing we do throughout the day is made up of habits and routines. When we don’t put a lot of thought into them, we fall into bad habits or unproductive routines. However, if you DO put thought and purpose into them, you are one step closer to living the dream life that you envisioned! 

Related: Closet Cleanout Checklist

Step #5: Keep a Positive Mindset


Get into the mindset that you are an organized person, your closets are organized, and you don’t bring in clutter. One of the biggest ways we sabotage ourselves is by saying “I’m the most disorganized person ever,” or “my house is always a mess.” DON’T SAY THAT! When you get down on yourself and your messy house, guess how your house will stay? Messy! Find a relevant quote or two that you really like and think it to yourself when you’re looking through your closets. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris


“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” -Marie Kondo


“Life is too complicated not to be orderly.” -Martha Stewart


Take the time to put everything back where it’s supposed to go. Do it for your future self. Think about how much easier it will be to get ready for work in the morning if you don’t have to dig through a dresser drawer for something that wasn’t hung up correctly! According to Gresham’s Law of Planning, every minute spent planning saves you about 10 minutes in the future. 


So, even though it may be difficult for me to let my son cry for a minute while I hang up my clothes correctly, that helps me have a more efficient morning (which will lead to me having about 10 minutes to play with him before work)! 

Keep things like this in mind throughout your day! It may be a tiny decision now, but it will help you have a smooth getting ready time in the morning. And isn’t that totally worth it?! 

What systems have you tried to keep your closets clean and organized? How did they work? Share your experiences below! 


PS- This post was requested by a reader! You can request your own post here! 🙂 
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How to Create Your Perfect Vision Board

One of my favorite pieces in our whole house is a bulletin board/chalkboard from Pottery Barn (PB Outlet, to be exact). We saw it on clearance and thought, “hey, we’ll use it for something.”
Flash forward five years, and I have used it for everything. It has been such a great investment for our home and life. It has helped us with school assignments, scheduling, decorating, and just looking cool.
And if you don’t want the one from Pottery Barn, you can always find similar pieces on Amazon, IKEA, and Target’s websites!

Here’s how I’m currently using it:

The first week of Summer Break, I took the time to really sit down and evaluate my goals. We’ve met some big ones in the past couple of years (buying a new house, getting a new job, having a baby), which is super exciting! 

But reaching big goals can also make you feel like, OK. Now what?!
So, I made a really elaborate mind map that started in my Passion Planner and eventually took up NINE blank pieces of paper (I mean, it’s Summer Break).

Then I collected happy little pictures from my life:

– I printed pictures from my life that make me happy (friends, travelling, celebration).
– Lilly 5×5’s from Instagram to add some cheerful colors (with all the money I’ve spent on Lilly, I didn’t think they’d mind).
– Quotes I made on the Little Moments App by FatMumSlim (probably my favorite photo editing app ever).

– I also added notes and cards from people I care about. These are uplifting to read and a great way to start or end the day!
– I finished it off with clipping happy little phrases out of catalogs/magazines.

Each picture represents a specific goal: 

On the back of each one, I took a Sharpie and wrote the small goal that it represented. That way, when everyone else looks at my board, all they see are pretty images… but I secretly know that each one stands for a certain goal that I’m working towards!
As the year has gone on, I’ve added images and notes to the board. I don’t take anything off, I just tack, staple, or tape the new images right on top (I usually just try to cover up the darkest colors). Once I reach a goal, I add a photo of it, such as a photo of a travel destination, or my baby boy!
While the bulletin board is the “inspirational” part, the chalkboard part actual “productive” part! Over the years, I’ve used it for inspirational quotes, to do lists, Post-It calendars, weekly planning, etc. Here’s what it currently looks like (sorry, it’s a little smudged)!

The best office supplies to make it fit your needs!

-I love, love LOVE the Expo Neon chalk markers. They’re usually like $17, but I found a really great deal on them at Office Max last year. So I bought 4 packs, and I still haven’t used them all!
-I’ve also used them to write right on the front of our stainless steel fridge and to make a faux stained glass window in our guest bathroom.
-Sticky Notes are great for making your chalkboard into a calendar, too! I like the $1.99 pack from Target for this!
-I’ve also used Washi Tape to make a Priority Quadrant… which was really helpful in grad school!

No matter what stage of life I’ve been in, having a vision/inspiration board has made it feel less chaotic… hopefully, it will work for motherhood, too! J

Do you use a board like this to keep you on track? How do you use it? What are your favorite supplies?! Share them below! 

How to Style Kitchen Shelves

In our kitchen, we have these really fantastic shelves from Restoration Hardware. I love them because they add a rustic, farmhouse-y feel (without the cost of a renovation- yay!).


However, the problem with any kind of surface in a house is that it can eventually attract the most dreaded of all things… clutter.

Our shelves slowly got stocked with baguettes that were too long for the pantry, produce, and every glass container we owned. I found myself getting annoyed at the sight of them and their contents. So the other morning, before my 10:00 doctor appointment, I decided to do something about them!

(Related: Clear to Neutral)

If you have some shelves that are out of control, too… here’s how you can make them pretty and organized again 🙂 




Step 1 | Remove EVERYTHING from the Shelves

I took down every little baguette, book, and bowl. I just LOVE the way that surfaces look when they’re empty and free of clutter! This allowed me to see the exact amount of space available and to try my best to recapture the feeling of openness!

(Related: Dorm Room Organization)

Step 2 | Dust

While you’ve got all that stuff cleared off the surface, you might as well dust it, right? Two birds with one stone, as they say.

(Related: Office Organization Tips)



Step 3 | Categorize Decorative Pieces

This is one of the most helpful ways to restyle a space. Choose whatever categories work best for you and the items! Sometimes, I categorize by height or overall size, sometimes by color.
When I took the items off of this particular shelf, I noticed that they were mostly glass (makes sense because it is a kitchen!). So, I organized them by material: earth (fruits, plants) glass (mason jars, pitchers), metal (champagne bucket, watering can), wood (serving dishes, trays).
Organizing by material allowed me to create some balance on the heavy metal and wood shelves.

(Related: How to Feng Shui Your Study Space)

Step 4 | Place Items

The fun part! Start arranging your items in groups of threes. Also, try to notice potential ways to put them together that you may not have thought of before! When I took down all of my items, I noticed I had a stack of rectangular, white serving dishes. So, I used these to hold items on the different shelves.

(Related: How to Make Your Workspace Work for YOU)



Step 5 | Find Another Home for the Rest of Your Items

Just because you have an item does not mean that you have to return it to your shelves! Look for other places in your home that could benefit from a new piece! My glass pitchers looked great stacked with cookbooks on top of my fridge! A metal sculpture from these shelves gets more attention on our dining room buffet!
And of course, donate any items that just aren’t your style anymore. You don’t have to keep it all!

(Related: 8 Simple Things to Organize This Month!)


Now, I feel like our shelves are light, airy, and organized. 3 words I’d use to describe my dream kitchen 🙂 

(Related: 5 Fresh Starts for the First of Each Month)



Do you have any tips or advice for styling or restyling shelves? Share them below!! 🙂 

Follow Organized Charm on Pinterest for home organization ideas!