Maintain Your Personal Space & Your Clothes Closet (Zone Defense)

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While your home may be in utter chaos around you, we’re going to take a non-traditional approach to tackling it. We’re going on Zone Defense this year. This week our zone is your closet.

home organization zone defense

This month we’re tackling our first zone out of twelve. But, I’m kinda faking you out a bit. We’re gonna get up close and personal.

Rather than work on the hardest zone, which would probably be a great “eat that frog” kind of approach, we’re going to tackle your space, your zone.

Here’s my rationale: If you feel put together, if you can start the day with a smile on your face and a spring in your step, all the rest will fall into place. Or it just won’t bug you that much.

Your Zone

So, we’re going to be looking at several aspects of your zone this month:

  • your clothes closet
  • your body
  • your bathroom and bedroom
  • your place to hang out/relax/recharge
  • your purse, your calendar, your car

These are important aspects of your well-being as a woman. And so that is where we start. You’ll feel better this year. And that’s golden, baby.

An added bonus is that if you start with your stuff, then later on when you approach other members of the family regarding some of their possessions and storage methods, you’ve already set the tone. You will have already purged unwanted stuff and redesigned your space to fit you. You will, Lord willing, feel more rested and put together, and that will be contagious!

Or at least help you answer any protests they give you with a smile on your face!

Your Personal Space: Clean out your clothes closet.

They say, “Clothes make the man,” or woman, as the case may be. How you feel about yourself is often related to the clothes you wear. And if you feel good about your outward appearance, that will give you confidence to tackle these other projects – and the other stuff of life, too.

So, here we go!

1. Pull out everything in your closet.

Everything. Only the items that you regularly wear are going back in. Anything you don’t wear is going to be trashed, repaired, or donated. If you don’t wear it, someone else could. And there are plenty of needy people out there.

2. Try them on.

Try on the items that you’re not sure about or haven’t worn in awhile. If you like what you see, you get to keep it. If not, then send it to the maybe pile. You’re allowed a reprieve on five items. You can keep five things that might fit someday or you might change your mind on. Choose wisely, little grasshopper. Too many of us hold onto stuff that really will never come back in style or fit us again.

(Pregnant and nursing moms get a free pass on this one, but ditch the stained pieces and those that are outdated and in disrepair.)

3. Replace the keepers.

Arrange the YES items in rainbow order: white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black. This is a great means for locating the blue sweater that you know you just put away. If the clothes are arranged in color order, they will be easier to find.
I find it best to place tops in one section and bottoms in another. Do what you know works for you. If you’re not sure what works best for you, try my way first and then make adjustments. 😉

4. Plan the matches.

As you look through your clothes that you love, can wear, and will wear, think about how they work together. Do you have a mix and match wardrobe? Does every item have something to go with it? (Preferably, you’ll have more than one thing to coordinate with each garment.)

Matchbook Magazine has a checklist of classic basics that might inspire you for any upgrades you want to make to your wardrobe.

5. How would you improve your organization?

While you’re admiring your clean closet, make a note in your notebook of organizing improvements you could make. Would it help to have a sweater organizer hanging for the rack? Would hooks help you organize your scarfs and belts better? Do you have enough hangers for your clothes? Do you need a shoe rack or a behind-the-door organizer?

Think through the “organizing” items that really would help you. Don’t just go buy something. Make a list of “this-would-really-help-me-out” items and make plans to go shopping and price these items out. (You can download this Room Organizer Chart to help you.)

6. Clean up!

Vacuum or sweep your closet floor so you know you did a thorough job. Take out the trash and the discards. Deal with them appropriately.

7. Maintain

So, now that your closet is clean and organized, keep it that way! Hang clothes up, keep things off the floor, replace shoes in their holders. If you maintain this space, you won’t find yourself in trouble again. And hopefully, if your closet plays by the rules, the other zones will follow suit.

photo source: Small Notebook

Related links:

 Will this zone be easy or hard for you this week?

Get going team and be ready to report back. Can’t wait to see the polished you!


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  1. Oh….I so don’t want to do this project … I clean out the clothes once a year, and it’s usually during a weak, frustrating, nothing fits moment. IF I did what you recommend, I’d have maybe 5 things LEFT. Sniff. I so need to get this fluffy stuff under control! Thanks for the reminder that it’s time yet again to clear it out.

  2. I have a Love Hate relationship with those wardrobe checklists. 🙂 The anal retentive part of me loves them and dreams of having the “Perfect” wardrobe of beautiful pieces I’m “supposed” to have.

    Reality, on the other hand, is a completely different beast.

    It’s been so long since I wore skirts I no longer feel comfortable in them. And seriously, I teach cello lessons to middle schoolers. Wearing a pencil skirt would be out of the question not to mention the inappropriateness of a knee length fair. Ha ha. I love the skirt and boots look but at most I’d be able to wear them one day a week and I can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on a look I wouldn’t utilize all that often. Do you know what I mean?

    I also find it frustrating that as a borderline plus sized woman (size 14-16 or XL) I simply can’t find some Basic items (Like black cigarrette pants) that fit and flatter me. Plus sized clothing is often too large but the regular sizes aren’t quite cut right for me. And you can only have things altered to a certain extent.

    Anyway. I do love those lists because they make me think about what I’m wearing and what needs to be upgraded. I’m paranoid about looking dated.

    And I just wrote a novel in your comments.

  3. UGH. My husband and I did this project about a month ago. It took an entire day and we took TEN bags of clothes to Goodwill. It was such an amazing feeling and to let go of clothes that I’ll never wear again. But this is no doubt my least fav project. I need to go touch up some lazy folding/throwing on the floor in my closet now. Thanks for the reminder! (-:

  4. So, (I’m hoping I’m not the only one) but, I store a whole lotta stuff in my closet that isn’t clothes or shoes! Oh, my! What to do?

    1. That is a good point. I was simply addressing the clothes and accessories. I think if there is other stuff in there, you will want to consider if it has to be in there. And if it does, how can you store it in such a way that it “works.” I do keep gift wrapping stuff and a few long-term storage boxes in mine as well. I just put them in baskets big enough or bins with lids.

  5. What are you talking about? The list you made are my frogs!

    My husband and I share a closet and right now it’s pretty tight. We are looking into one of the closet organizers from Ikea. Hopefully we can get it in a few weeks. This will be a big help.

    1. Hehe. I wondered if that would happen for somebody.

      Before you go buy the Ikea thing, I recommend doing the dejunking thing first. Then you’ll know what you really need and want. Too often we buy “organizers” that don’t really do the job. (At least I do….)

      1. Thanks! I have been doing that. If you can believe it, I’m not the one with a lot of the clothes. It’s my hubby.
        I started doing the put the hanger the opposite way so if I haven’t worn it yet it’s going out for donation. That seems to be helping to pair down my clothes.

    2. Yeah! My closet is my frog, also. LOL I totally get why she’s tackling these personal spaces first and I so desperately need to address them because I always put them off with the reasoning that “nobody” sees them.

  6. This list is too my frogs! Although my closet isn’t that bad I still have more clothes than I wear regularly.

  7. Oy…generally, I’m fairly organized, and I just did a thorough closet purge this past summer because we were prepping for a cross-country move…but my closet right now is one of my 3 frogs!

    The other 2 are re-vamping our filing system and straightening up our garage. We have some stuff to attempt to sell in a garage sale…things that just don’t work in our new space. And we have a long list of home-improvement projects with many of the corresponding supplies also sitting out there…

    I’ll try my best to sort through my closet! The clothes won’t be the problem as much as the pictures to organize in boxes…:) And I’m going to be purging my baby girl’s closet of all her 12 month clothes, because she is wearing size 18 months 100% of the time now.

  8. @Rana – I’d listen to what Jessica said. Purge first then examine what needs additional organizational help.

    But should you find yourself at Ikea, I highly recommend tossing out wire & plastic mish-mash hangers and opting for streamlining the same hanger for all closets. We did this a couple of years ago, buying 300 of their wood hangers and I will never go back (although I’ll never have a Mommy Dearest moment either).

    Wood hangers give more support to clothes (thus ending stretched out or sagging garments), they evenly space clothes apart somewhat (so it is easier to find what one is looking for), and they also make the closet more uniform and aesthetically appealing!

    1. Cory thanks for the idea. Every time I go to Ikea I buy a few more hangers. I do love the way it looks.
      Thanks a lot now I’m going to be running around the house yelling ” NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!” LOL!!!

  9. I highly recommend this zone defense. My husband and I keep our closets clean and neat with a minimal amount of clothing and it makes getting ready so much easier. This past week we had major work done on our home so I couldn’t do laundry for 10 days, We neither one had a problem (it came close on the underwear) because all of our clothes “mix and match”. I started this right after my pregnancy when I discovered how freeing it is to only own what you wear and wear what you own. I LOVE all of my clothes!! Just wish I could convince my mother who is always trying to add to my wardrobe…

  10. Hahahaha! If my closet were only full of my clothes, this would be easy! However, my closet houses my clothes, my hubby’s clothes, my homeschool supplies, my filing, and everything else that has no other place to be stored!!! Although I would REALLY like to see my closet cleaned, I have no idea how I could find time to do it!!

  11. I did this last night and was shocked at how much I had that I was able to part with easily – and at how much I had on the floor of my closet! I honestly had no idea it had gotten that bad. Things on my shopping wish list: matching hangers and a pair of pants that aren’t jeans

  12. You know how you gave a pass to us pregnant women…well, I’m glad cause I need it. This is my fourth and final pregnancy and I’m counting on being able to do this with my closet and really get rid of a lot in the next year or two. First I need to get through nursing and losing all the baby weight!

    1. I should add my closet holds two different sizes plus maternity and nursing tops…it’s just slightly overstuffed!

  13. I did this recently and sold 2 garbage bags full of clothes I don’t need or wear. Now I try to keep only stuff I like and wear. If I don’t totally love how something looks on me I sell it so I can get something I truly like instead. It helps to add new pieces slowly so you don’t go broke. 🙂 Can’t wait till the next step!

  14. Thanks for for the nursing mama pass 😉 I’ve got a 5-week old, and the maternity clothes are definitely not the right shape anymore. I thought to myself yesterday, “This week I *need* to switch these clothes back around so I don’t have two wardrobes stuffed into my small dresser and closet.” Even though I won’t be getting rid of everything that doesn’t fit currently, I definitely need to store away the stuff that doesn’t fit so I can find the stuff that does! Thanks for the extra motivation 🙂

  15. I’m glad you chose this space first. That is my worst area! I did purge last year when I was pregnant, but I need to really do it again because I’m trying to lose more weight and I want a NEW wardrobe! My husband is going to give me $300 to buy clothes when I reach my goal!

  16. I just did this to all of my clothes a month or so ago. I had a lady give me 3 trash bags full of clothes for me. So I took the oportunity to go through my entire closet and my husbands. I need to go through again and see what I am not wearing again.

  17. This article is perfect for me! I’ve been in a forever losing batttle with my clothes. For Christmas, my husband got me closet organizer system (2 drawers, cubby shelves, shoe rack) that separate things in to categories. It finally went up this week. I realized I have so many categories of clothes, which is why it is always getting blurred together. Anyway, now, I have very easily identified categories. No before pics…too bad… but love the NEW closet. Never ever had one looking this good in my life.