Before & After: Closet with Deep Shelves

In many of the older homes I’ve visited, most of them have deep closets with shelves that are difficult to keep organized. Anything placed in the back of the shelf is often forgotten because it’s hard to see or reach, and taking anything out usually ends up in a mess.

This was the problem for my client in this week’s Before & After. And why newer constructions and remodeling projects have either switched to adding pull-out drawers, or shelves that are 12-14 inches deep. (Although, there are benefits to having the deep shelves. When organized properly, you can keep out of season clothing in the back and rotate them as needed.)

BEFORE:
my client did use a few pull-out containers. She also had some of the shirts rolled up and “filed” away. The upper shelves were hard to maintain without a physical boundary, and the division of the type of clothing within each space was unclear.

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This is where the KonMari Method is the most effective. For anyone who has felt discouraged after organizing their closet, only for it to be messy again after a short time, it is possible to keep your closet tidy.

We started out by emptying out every shelf and container and created a mountain of clothes on the bed. This is the most overwhelming part of the process, to see the volume of what you have accumulated. To ease into the process, I asked my client to pick out 3 of her favorite items that definitely sparks joy for her. It’s important to pay attention to your gut reaction. You will notice that the clothes you love make you feel happy and light.

Repeat the joy-checking process for what you’ll keep. I like to put them in subcategories for long, short sleeve, or by material (cotton, wool). This will make it easier when it comes time to put everything back. When we pick up an item we don’t wish to keep, make sure you understand why you no longer need it in your life. Thanking it before discarding is to help you recognize the purpose fulfilled by the item, even if it’s just to let you know “don’t buy this again.”

As you hone your joy-checking skills, you will start to notice a pattern in the style or color of what you keep. These are important insights into your personal style and will help you in your future purchasing decisions.

During our session, we took a little break to reflect on our progress. Sometimes our clothes paint pictures of our journey of the person we once were, the person we are now or want to become. What was the purpose of each item? Does it still serve that purpose? Does a special dress bring back positive or negative emotions? Or it’s simply about fashion and what you’d like to see yourself wearing more of? Focus on creating a closet full of clothes that make you feel confident, comfortable, and beautiful. One that feels like YOU!

Once my client has decided on what to keep, it was time to fold them following the KonMari method as shown in this video. Folding and filing your clothes so they can stand up on their own means you can pull out the one you need without messing up the rest of the drawer. We used only the existing baskets my client owned and lined them up by height. We placed the most frequently worn clothing at eye level, and made one of the containers for working out clothes for easy access. Everything is visible and easily accessible.

 

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SIMPLE JOY TIP:
Don’t buy any container until you have completed tidying each category. You may discover you can use what you already own to hold everything you’re keeping. Or you will learn your personal style from tidying, then decide to purchase containers that sparks joy.

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AFTER:
This closet now has room to breathe.

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One for sweaters, one for cotton long sleeves.
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One basket for pants and skirts, another for short sleeve tops.

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I never get tired of seeing the organized clothes all lined up, and the joy on my clients’ faces. Getting ready in the morning has just become a little more fun.

 

 

14 thoughts on “Before & After: Closet with Deep Shelves

  1. Emily G Brozowski says:

    Do you have any recommendations for how to organize clothing when using a 3×3 cubbie system? I have some of the pull out bins, but even then, you lose the height if putting items in only one layer. I would love to adopt KonMarie folding techniques but can’t figure out how to use my space most effectively!

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    • simplejoywithann says:

      Hi Emily, if it’s clothes you are keeping in the bins, try to file the clothes vertically so the stand taller which will give you more room to fit more. You may need to add an inner box or experiment with the height of the fold for the best fit. This is a great question and I will add it to my list of videos tips on my Instagram/Facebook. So follow and be on the lookout. Let me know if this suggestion helps.

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  2. Justine M Roth MS, RD, CDN says:

    I was wondering what you would recommend for a similar closet but if I didnt want to put all of my clothes in to baskets? Is there another way to organize it and still be able to reach the clothing? thank you!

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    • simplejoywithann says:

      Great question! If you don’t like baskets, you can use a box (shoe boxes without the lid works well) or there are many paper or fabric options. A with a little bit of height around the edge can help keep the clothes together without covering up as much. Or, if decide to not use anything at all, I’d suggest placing less frequently used bulky sweaters in the back, then what you wear more often in the front. Line them up as if they are books either “spine” side facing up (normal KonMari folding) or spine face forward like they are books. Just be sure you fold your clothes into rectangles that are about the size of a long wallet (ones that can hold check books). That size will allow the clothes to stand and not flop down. Hope one of these suggestions will help. Keep me posted! Thank you.

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  3. Justine M Roth MS, RD, CDN says:

    Thank you so much for replying! The second part with out the boxes at all is exactly what I wanted to know about. When dealing with more bulky sweaters and sweatshirts though what do you recommend? They cant be folded to large wallet size and they are the things that get the most messy! Thanks again : )

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  4. simplejoywithann says:

    Even with bulky clothes, you can still KonMari fold them, allowing them item to “let you know” how many folds, how tight, how wide to fold them. I’d use the width of the space to support the sweaters like they are bookends. You may need to experiment with the size, but I am picturing more like rolls that you can stack like wine bottles so you can see and pull out what you need. To keep them organized, maybe try using cardboard as dividers. Put it in another way, think of the shelf as a drawer turned on it’s side. The more you can support the clothes and create boundaries, the easier to keep it organized. Let me know how it goes!

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