How Not to Clean Out a Closet


Household humor for getting organized

You can get by with ignoring some household tasks for a time. Dishes? Not so much, but you can ignore the mess in the closet for years. Open door, stuff something in, anywhere you can find space. Shut door really fast so you don’t have to think…or feel guilty about the chaos that reigns behind the door.

Truly, there is a blessing to a closed closet door. (Why would anyone what to install open shelving instead of kitchen cabinets? That’s a disaster waiting to happen…for people like me).

housework quote

Some Like it Neat

Some folks are good at keeping the house neat. These blessed ones can create order by merely walking into a room. Dust and debris parts like the Red Sea with the swish of a dust rag. The sheer power of their presence tames chaos and destroys even the thought of untidiness. How do they do this?

When these god-like creatures clean, everything looks like a magazine shoot for Southern Living. They sweep the room with their eyes and things magically return to where they belong. This kind of person is most likely related to both Martha Stewart and Mary Poppins.


Then there are the kinds of people who create clutter wherever they go, leaving a trail of dishes, pens, paper, books, socks, shoes, hair ties, and other unsightly items. These are the busy, creative folks who have more interesting things to do than vacuum a room or keep the kitchen counters clean.

I lean toward the second kind of person.

I belong to the sort-of-neat, good-enough-for-now, do-it-later brand of housekeepers. I didn’t plan to be this way, and Lord knows I try to mend my messy ways, but somehow I can’t seem to help myself.

I can make a mess in 5 seconds or less. I’m not bragging, and I’m not particularly proud of this fact. I’m simply saying that I can do it. I prove it daily. Of course, I have lot’s of mess-making help from the family. (Because messiness is passed along in the genes…).

The job that never ends.

Before I finish cleaning the kitchen, there are new dishes to wash.

Laundry never ends

Before the desk is clear, a new stack of bills, coupons, and notices pile up.

What can I say, it is some strange, unwanted gift. There must be some renegade law of the universe conspiring against some of us. That’s the best explanation I can come up with.

Domestically challenged?

The problem with being domestically challenged is that there comes a day when something’s got to give. You open the closet and the box on the top shelf falls on your head. Ouch. You can’t put anything away, even if you wanted to, for there’s no place to put it. So you pile it on the dining room table instead, making another mess.

This is the kind of clean up that requires a clean out.

One of my projects this summer is to clean out all the closets in my house. With the exception of the storage closet. I’m not touching that one–there might be something alive in there. It could be radioactive like the refrigerator.

Let me tell you, I’d rather do just about anything else on a beautiful summer’s day–like go to the dentist, pull weeds, or pooper-scoop the yard. Truly, closet organizing is not on my bucket list. Just being honest here.

Currently I’ve gotten through the worst of the closets. Yay me!

The closet is cleaned out

I discovered that somehow I had sheets and towels that belonged to my mother, my mother-in-law, and…my grandmother. Frankly, I can think of much better heirlooms to pass down.

Please don’t ask me why I have filled four trash bags full of old linens that no one actually used. I have no sane, reasonable answer for this.  I have gotten rid of these items before, but strangely, more appear.

This begs the question, just how many sets of linens did my ancestors have?

With all this closet-cleaning-mania happening at my house, I want to share my best tips on how not to clean out a closet.

1. Open door, cringe, shut door, and walk away.

2.Stand and stare at the mess.

3. Just move things around and feel industrious.

4. Take everything out, organize into piles, and leave it there.


4. Take a coffee break. A really long one.

5. Refuse to get rid of anything…especially the half used travel sized bottles of shampoo or your mother’s monogramed towels from 1950.

6. Buy 10 of everything. And then a couple more for just in case.

7. Let your husband anywhere near your trash bag. “There’s still a shampoo left in this bottle…”


8. Go to the pool instead.

9. Take another coffee break.

10. Google closet-cleaning tips, then while you’re on the computer check Facebook, respond to email, read a few blogs, and pin pictures of organized closets. Three hours later, return to your closet to finish the job.

11. Let your husband help you. “Honey, why do you want to get rid of this towel. It’s still perfectly good…”

Well there you have it. With these no-fail tips for cleaning your closets, you will have your household organized in no time.

What’s your best tip for cleaning out the closet?

Linking with Inspire Me Monday #RaRa Link Up, Coffee for Your HeartTestimony Tuesday, Tell His Story, and Three Word Wednesday.




  1. Yikes, this is totally convicting me about a few closets in our house. I like the idea of organized to the eye, so sometimes I neglect those things that aren’t seen. Thanks for the humor and ideas!

    • Ginger Harrington

      Out of sight, out of mind…so true, isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed your visit today. I loved your blog and hope you can continue to be involved in Young Life camps!

  2. *giggle* This is cute, Ginger. Something about closets, they always seem to revert to their messy ways not long after we spend a hour cleaning them. 🙂
    Enjoyed finding you today through the RaRa linkup.
    Best to you! 🙂

    • Ginger Harrington

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m thrilled I could give you a giggle today. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our closets stayed neat?

  3. Wow, this is so me…except for the husband part. We actually have reversed roles: he likes things put away and neat, I don’t mind a bit of clutter.
    One thing that helps me is permission to make a horrible mess in the process. One weekend when Don was away, I emptied out all three bedroom closets and the pantry to clean out and organize. Yes, the stuff was so packed in we couldn’t find what we needed. I had stuff all over the house, literally. But oh, when I got rid of a bunch of stuff and put the rest back neatly, what a great feeling! THAT’s what makes it all worth it.
    Thanks for sharing, Ginger. Blessings!

    • Ginger Harrington

      I love that–giving yourself permission to make a mess in the process. You are so brave to pull it all out at once. I considered that, but opted to do one at a time. It does feel so good when you’re done!

  4. I’ve been stuck in the “how not to clean a closet” phase. There is nothing like a move to make me wish I had done a better job of keeping on top of the closets! Fortunately, I will have the opportunity to create clean, organized spaces at the new house. THAT will be a huge blessing!

    • Ginger Harrington

      Yep–you get to start fresh in a new house. Happy closeting to you my friend! I’d so rather bypass that part of moving, but it must be done. Unpacking blessings on you!

  5. I’m right there with you – I’d make a hopeless fugitive I leave behind me a trail of debris that even Inspector Gadget could follow! If I tried to do it all in one go I’d never get round to it – just too big a job. One shelf at a time is my way but that does mean that things I ‘sort’ from shelf 4 end up up on tidy shelf 1 and by the time I reach the bottom it probably needs another sort!

  6. I enjoyed this post. I like an organized house, but procrastination has been known to get the best of me. 🙂 Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

  7. I LOVE your post Ginger – although I really think you took those “don’t do’s” from my play book of what I actually do during my closet-cleaning sessions! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this fabulous article with us at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy – you’re one of our Featured Guests this week and I can’t wait to see what you share at this week’s party! 🙂

    • Ginger Harrington

      Wow! I’m excited to be one of your features this week. Inspire Me Monday has so many great links, I’m really honored! Thanks for hosting this fun link up community.

  8. You are so funny! Love this post =) And I just cleaned out (part of )my closet last night. Ha. Many blessings to you! Tiffany

    • Ginger Harrington

      I’m so glad I could make you laugh. Good for you for getting one of your closets cleaned out. Hope it wasn’t as “traumatic” (ha) as my clean out was. Thanks for stopping by today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.