In a series on habits to help make your life a bit more orderly, we will look at 5-10 ideas each month for different areas of your home and your life. Pick just one or two ideas to transform a particular area that might be frustrating you.


1. The best way to get a good idea is to get a lot of ideas, and;

2. It only takes one new habit to transform a target area!

Overwhelmed? Feeling like it can’t really matter in the grand scheme of things? It is important to recognize a central truth about organization. Organization is freeing.

Whether it’s finding your keys, getting the dinner on the table with ease, choosing what you will wear, or greeting guests at the door and actually inviting them past the doorway, a few organizational habits will free you—to do the next thing, to live a less stressful life, to enjoy quality time with people, to engage in ministry, and so much more!

This month, we will look at ideas to organize your closet. Choose one or two and find yourself easily picking out and putting away clothes in a space you actually like. Give your closet a small block of time and see what you can accomplish!

A major clean-out session. Gather black and white garbage bags, a storage box or two, and a laundry basket. Clear off your bed to use for sorting. Use white garbage bags for trash, black ones for give away, boxes to pack things up for later (things you know you will use again), and the laundry basket for items to deliver to other rooms in the house.

Sort by item. By hanging like items together in the closet—all the shorts, pants, shirts, coats, etc.—you not only ease the in and out process for your clothing, you also create space under your clothing rods. Take it a step further and sort by color.

Shop in your own home first. Don’t begin an organizing project in the container aisle of a store! Instead, dive into your project and see what you need. Using boxes, baskets, and items you already have saves time and money. For example, to sort scarves and socks and more in a dresser drawer, cut the ends off of shoe boxes and arrange in sections; cut PVC pipe in short lengths for a cool look to your sorting, or use zip lock bags to store items used less often. Egg cartons or ice cube trays sort buttons or jewelry, and large baskets hold bulky items.

Backwards coat hangers. If you are short on time or motivation, take 10 minutes to turn all of your coat hangers around backwards. In a few months, you will have a great visual of what you actually wore. We all have those things we like to wear, then there’s the rest of the closet! This takes the time and emotion out of cleaning out.

A shopping bag or laundry basket in the bottom of the closet. Every time you take something off in favor of another selection, place the discarded item in the bag. When it’s full, drop it off at a donation site.

Something in, something out. When you buy something new, pull out something old.

Find hidden storage. Use wall space for coat hooks or pegboard to sort purses, jewelry, belts, or caps. If you have lots of space between the top shelf and the ceiling, add another shelf. Use a hanging clear vinyl shoe bag for more than just shoes—sort scarves, slips, belts, and more in an easy-to-see space that takes up very little room. A valet hook or coat hook here and there is a great place for tomorrow’s outfit, your robe, or your everyday jacket. Use the back of the door for ties or a mirror.

Like your system. Whether you use matching coat hangers, colorful baskets, or add a sentimental dresser to closet, a space that is visually appealing to you helps you keep it organized.

When we got new carpet recently, I hung my coat hangers backwards. I’m beginning to see a pattern, and will have to break out the black garbage bags soon! What will you try in your closet this month?

Cathy Haynie is the Headmaster at Christ Covenant School in Ridgeland. She and her husband, Jack, have three teenagers and make their home in Madison.