Organize Your Closet to Organize Your Life

Logic dictates when we decide to go somewhere, we choose a direction. That direction is most often forward. We start at the beginning, hit milestones along the way, and hopefully end at our destination.  When we choose to go in non-physical directions, we describe the experience in a similar way using words such as ‘journey’, ‘path’, or ‘road’ and when we’ve accomplished our goal, we’ve reached our destination.  The ‘road to success’, the ‘journey towards weight loss’, or the ‘path’ to recovery.  These are expressions that come to my mind.

Before becoming a professional organizer, I worked as a piano teacher and choir director.  We musicians have this technique as called ‘backwards practicing’. 

It is common for students when picking up a new song or piece of music, to start from the beginning. They play the piece until they ‘mess up’. Then they stop, sigh, and go back to the beginning and play it, again. And again. And, again……  They learn the beginning of the song well however, the middle section or ‘hard part’ does not. And since thy never make it to the end the student doesn’t end up reaching their destination. To ‘backwards practice’ means you choose a few bars at the end of the piece and practice until learned. Then tack on a few more bars continuing working backwards until you can play the entire piece comfortably from beginning to end. The student eventually also learns to get through the ‘hard part’ because there also incentive and it’s fun to play something you can do well.

Start by clearing and organize your closets and give your items a home.

This allows you to determine the destination of your organizing journey and helps you keep your eye on the prize. Consider how you would like your closet to function and work backward from there. Ask yourself these questions.

#1 – Are your closets storage spaces, or are they a home for items you use regularly?

The closet is often a place where things go to die, but that is not what they are designed for. In a well-functioning home, closets should be only used to store items that get used regularly and should be organized in a way that allows for easy retrieval. Use the harder-to-reach areas for out-of-season items and swap the items around when the season changes.

#2 – Are you opening the doors of your closet often enough to remember exactly what is in them?

Out of sight really does mean out of mind. If you don’t regularly open the doors of your closets to retrieve items or put them away, you don’t get that visual reminder of what is inside. It’s easy to forget what you have and where things are when buried in the abyss of closet space.

#3 – Do you have skeletons in your closet?

Maybe you have secrets. Maybe you have creepy crawlies. Silverfish, roaches, spiders, and sometimes mice are attracted to old boxes and so are dust and mites. Closets that are regularly in rotation of items, are also ones that get cleaned and vacuumed, keeping these unwanted visitors at bay.

#4 – Is your home functioning as it should?

Meaning, can you always find things when you need them? Do all your belongings have a ‘home’ and are easy to put away? Are you tripping over things? Are items you use together, stored together?

Think of your closets as moving parts of your living space rather than stationary storage units. You’ll get more value from the items you own and more value out of the space you have if you shift your thinking. If an item goes into a closet and you have no intention of ever bringing it out, you should ask yourself, why are you holding on to it or if it is an item you really need to keep?

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