If we've learned anything from the popularity of Mario Kondo, it's that there's a sort of freedom in minimalism. Without our stacked collections of stuff, our minds no longer have to deal with the latent stress of clutter. At least, that's the idea. But plenty of us has also found solace in simply stuffing our possessions in closets and shutting the door. In theory, that also works, right?
Well, it does, but it also doesn't solve the bigger problem. Even if you're not a Kondo devotee, there's still something to be said about a minimal closet. Aside from the magical power of peace of mind, there's also the simple convenience of functionality. "Having less clutter in your space makes finding things easier," says Megan Garcia, design consultant, and sales manager at California Closets. "We've all been told to keep things simple, but it really is so true."
Call it what you want—the Kondo effect, pairing down, or whatever else will get you to clear out unused items—but this trend toward minimalism can have its daily benefits. We asked Garcia for more details on how to create and maintain a minimal closet, and her advice should take no more than a weekend to complete. From clearing out clothes you no longer wear to outfitting shelves with organizational tricks to keep them neat, these tips should give you a closet that's so clean, you'll have the freedom to leave the door open.
Clear Everything Out
Courtesy of California Closets
It may be overwhelming, but Garcia says that the best way to start organizing a closet is to clear it out first—even items stuffed in the back that you haven't seen for years. She jokes that it's common for clients to have two of the same thing because of how cluttered space can be.
"So often, clients aren't even sure of what they actually own," she says. "Once you are able to truly see everything you have, you can start to work through it."
Take time to consider what can stay and what can either be trashed, donated, or even sold in the quest to have a more streamlined closet. Anything you haven't worn in more than a year will probably never be worn in the future.
Make a System
Courtesy of California Closets
"I always say to start big and work your way to the small details," Garcia says. "So, start with everything you want to hang."
She says that items you want to hang can only go in a closet, so they have to have the most organized system. Make sure that items are categorized according to height—pants, for instance, would need less space than dresses—so that everything fits nicely, Garcia notes.
"Then I would move my way toward other smaller items, like folded clothing, undergarments, and shoes," she continues. "Use small bins or drawers for these pieces to ensure that they don't start to trickle out into other areas of the closet over time."
Lastly, if you live in a place where seasonal clothes are necessary, Garcia says to group those items separately.
"I often use the top shelf of the closet for these items in clear bins or bags so they're easy to get to when the time comes, but they don't take up valuable shelf or hanging space in the meantime," she adds.
Stick to Storage
Other than making sure that your closet mainly consists of items you use on a regular basis, Garcia says that another key to a minimal closet is proper storage.
"My easiest go-to is a drawer for smaller items like socks and undergarments," she says. "For larger items like folded sweaters, I love shelf dividers. There is nothing worse than perfectly folding your clothing stack and then watching it tumble over. The shelf divider just keeps everything nicely in one spot."
"I also love pull-out accessories," she continues. "My forever favorite is our valet rod. You can use that for anything: Dry cleaning, packing for a trip, hanging up your clothing the night before, and so on. "Our pull-out belt rack also comes in handy for belts and other items like crossbody bags. It's super versatile and keeps everything tucked away."