Behind Closed Doors – Conquering the Chaos

I have a confession about  what goes on behind closed doors at my house. No, not like the Kenny Rogers song (although, that would probably make for a more interesting story…) No, I mean the messes in my closets and cupboards. At any given time you might open a cupboard and be showered with items I hastily shoved here and there, planning to organize them “soon.”

I make grand plans…I have great intentions…I buy the pretty storage containers and artsy baskets…but before I know it, they’re a chaotic mess once again. (However, the containers and baskets are still pretty…) 

Pinterest is my “How-to” go-to, but after it’s all said and done, how does a person keep those closets and cupboards looking that good? I mean, let’s get real – life isn’t about spending hours keeping your storage spaces looking magazine-perfect! 

If you can’t see it, why does it matter what’s behind closed doors?

If a person has a general idea of what’s in that cupboard, why worry about how it’s organized?

I’ve had that attitude since we moved into our house five years ago. I was suddenly faced with an unknown dilemma – how do I use all this storage space? It was somewhat overwhelming…I had never before faced such a problem.

Five years later, I’m wondering where it all went. Those ample closets are so full there’s a risk of a concussion whenever I open a door. And I’m embarrassed to mention how much complaining I do whenever I search for something in the many disorganized cupboards…

Yes, when spaces look like this, there can be no more denial. 

With all of the home-organizational advice available, why am I in such a disorganized mess?

After what seemed like days of searching the internet for an answer to that question, I’ve come up with three reasons: I didn’t start out with a plan, a procedure, or rules for using the space.

I decided I needed help to get it started correctly, and I found some great ideas in How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People, by Zachary Domes. His article was short and sweet and exactly what I needed. (I knew I absolutely couldn’t/wouldn’t commit to any 30-days-to-a-more-organized-home courses!)

FIRST:  Declutter. Go through things and throw away broken, trashed, no-longer-useful stuff. Donate things you no longer use, wear, or like. (But, what if I might need it sometime?) Be brave. Period.

SECOND: Organize systems for storage. Remember, a place for everything…Plan out exactly what you need by how you’ll use it. (Yay! NOW I can buy the pretty containers and baskets!)

THIRD: Organize regularly – at least once a week. (Uh-oh, HERE’s the real challenge) Things don’t stay organized by themselves. Life gets busy, so a once-a-week clutter check is the answer. Keep closets in order as laundry is folded and put away. Sort mail into the correct in-basket instead of throwing it in a pile on the cupboard. OK, it’s not as intimidating as it seems…

These steps are all smart and do-able, but the real question is, “Can/will I actually do them?” 

In the end, it really just comes down to commitment…

…and that’s where I get tripped up. You see, good intentions create enthusiasm, but they’re not enough to create follow-through. That part takes a commitment to prioritize the actions needed. Ah-ha! That’s what I’m talking about! I need to get to the point where the desire to stay organized trumps the desire to take care of it later.

In fact, the threat of concussion and time spent searching for things has finally brought me to that point.

I recently read: You don’t become what you think about; you become what you do. I’ve been thinking about this long enough. I’m going to actually do something to organize what’s behind those closed doors.

What about you? What’s your secret to keeping those closets organized? Or do you have the same challenge I do? I’d love to hear your thoughts (and suggestions!) 

  • Brook Mendez

    First, I would like to point out that I am continually the butt of jokes for what I am about to describe. When we do laundry I put my clothes away very particularly. The clothes in my closet are organized by type and colour. It takes a little extra time, but the real joke is on everyone making fun of me because I can find anything I’m looking for quickly.

    Where I struggle is in the spaces without enough space, such as the non-pantry designated as pantry. I put lots of useful IKEA organizers in there and created rules, but there is just not enough space. I have no idea what ti do about that.