I Sent a Pro Organizer Photos of My Cluttered Bedroom Closet — Here’s What She Told Me to Get Rid Of
Closet organization is a common pain point for many people — myself included. I share a dresser with my partner and store the rest of my clothes, outdoor gear, and cleaning supplies in our bedroom closet. He stores his hanging clothes and outdoor items in our entryway closet. It isn’t ideal, but it works for us. Well, mostly.
The thing is, I love clothes. I love the way a certain piece can make me feel like a different person or how a great outfit can help boost my confidence. But I have always had a hard time decluttering clothes, and without a proper organization system, all I saw when I opened my closet doors was stuff.
I needed the help of someone who could still see potential, so I consulted with Devin VonderHaar, a certified KonMari master consultant and founder of The Modern Minimalist, a home organizing and design company based in Portland, Oregon.
VonderHaar reviewed photos of my closet and told me what she would do to make better use of the space. Here’s how it went, in three detailed steps.
Step 1: Declutter
First, VonderHaar told me how to declutter my wardrobe. She said to collect every single item, pick up each one, and ask if it — to use Marie Kondo’s words — “sparks joy” and is in alignment with my ideal lifestyle.
I followed her instructions and removed all the items from my hangers, bins, hanging shelves, and dresser drawers. I considered each item one by one and got rid of anything that didn’t make me happy. This exercise alone made my wardrobe feel more manageable.
Step 2: Strategize
VonderHaar asked me if I was maximizing the middle shelf. The answer was no. She also asked me if the white plastic laundry baskets were necessary. Again, the answer was no. By asking me these questions, VonderHaar was already helping me rethink my closet system in a whole new way.
Then, VonderHaar said to focus on getting as many items off the ground as possible. She recommended storing my bins on the top shelf and getting rid of the hanging shelves on the right side because they weren’t very functional.
Finally, VonderHaar suggested combining all of the items from the bins and hanging shelves and storing them in a large drawer system, as well as hanging my hats and cleaning tools on the wall — a novel way to store these difficult items.
“The idea would be that when you open the closet, you would just see the vacuum, everything in bins up top, hanging clothes, and a drawer system on the bottom,” VonderHaar says. “Super simple.”
That sums up The Modern Minimalist philosophy: Keep it simple and make it streamlined. I spent several years playing Tetris with bins, hanging shelves, and other organizational “solutions,” but I hadn’t once thought of investing in a single closet drawer system to corral my extra items.
Step 3: Reassemble
I still need to buy the perfect set of drawers, grown-up laundry baskets, and wall hooks. But for this Sunday afternoon project, I followed the rest of VonderHaar’s advice and did the following:
- Used my extra hanging space and a brand-new set of velvet hangers to situate more of my clothes.
- Stored a stack of sweatshirts on the middle shelf to maximize it.
- Placed my often-used items in my dresser drawers and lesser-used items in my bins.
- Stored all but two of my bins on the top shelf.
If this is the magic VonderHaar can work based on a few photos and a desperate plea for help, I can only imagine how my whole home would look if we worked together in person. But for now, I’m enjoying the clarity that comes from owning less, seeing more of my clothes on hangers, and having easy access to the things that bring me joy.