11 Tips + 2 Bonus Tips for Decluttering Your Master Bedroom Closet With Your Partner



After going through the house and dejunking all the closets and trouble spots,

Shout out to Whiting Organization Services for their fantastic work

I decided to it was time to tackle the final last closet.

The master bedroom walk-in closet.

The left side of the closet

The middle of the closet

The right side of the closet 

Wow, it takes a lot of bravery to show you the closet that a certain Englishman and I share.  Can you believe we've been living like this?

I knew there was no way I'd be able to do this without a certain Englishman so I made an appointment and sent him an invite.

How sad, I didn't even RSVP to my own event. 
It wasn't easy to block a whole day for this project, but I also didn't want to feel rushed.

Tip #1 - Schedule in advance when you are going to clean out your closet. Don't just spring it on your partner catching him or her off guard.

The morning of the Great Master Closet Clean Out of 2018 arrived, and a certain Englishman and I jumped out of bed early in the morning ready to work.

Just kidding.

We laid in bed enjoying a lazy Saturday morning and finally rolled out about 8:30 a.m.  We started about 8:45 a.m.

As project manager, I told him that we first were going to completely empty our closet and throw everything in it on our bed.  I read that will keep you motivated to keep going or else you won't have a bed to sleep on that night.  I told Alexa to play my "Morning Wake Up" playlist on Spotify.  It has fun, energetic songs that really got us moving.



Tip #2 - Play some fun workout music to keep your energy up so that you'll move more quickly.






About half an hour later we were done.  At first it was a little slow going because a certain Englishman was having fun trying on clothes he hadn't seen in years.  I gently reminded him that now is not the time to evaluate but to move.

Tip #3 - Decide who will be the project manager and let them be "the boss."  The person doesn't need to be bossy but should feel in charge.

Once everything was on our bed, it was time to clean our empty closet.




It felt so good to see nothing in our closet.

It hadn't looked like this since we had moved in. 
Tip #4 - Completely clean your closet after it is empty.


After we cleaned our closet, we had to address the mess on our bed.


What an overwhelming mess!
Does anyone else have a huge collection of bras they don't wear, or is it just me?  

I thought it would be a good idea to pick out an easy item to get in the groove.  I picked up an old dirty doorknob that had been replaced about 10 years ago.  I said, "This obviously needs to go."

"No," said a certain Englishman, "I want to keep that."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because we might need it some day."

What followed was a very tense discussion on why we would need an old doorknob (because it matches the other locks in the house) in case one of our doorknobs broke.  (Have you ever had a doorknob break on you?)  I then ran through the worst case scenario.  We get rid of the doorknob, one of our doorknobs breaks, we buy a new doorknob, it requires a different key than the other doors, we use a different key to open it on the rare day that we don't use our garage door to get in the house, and.... we die from using a different key?

A certain Englishman said that he didn't see why storing a doorknob was such a big deal.  It's small, it doesn't take up much space, and it will make things easier if we should need it.

Now I'm getting frustrated.  I have just spent the last 3 weeks clearing out almost 100 bags of trash and donations full of things we "might need some day."  For some reason this crusty old doorknob was sending me over the edge.

It was at this point a certain Englishman yelled at Alexa to stop playing the music.  I realized the music was loud and intense and adding to the emotion of the discussion.  I had Alexa switch to more calming music.

Tip #5 Play calming music when you have to decide what stays and what goes.

"Having this doorknob in my closet where my clothes are is going to affect my mental health," I proclaim.

"Then let's move it to a different part of the house," suggested a certain Englishman.

"But I just decluttered the house, I don't want to fill it back up again with everything from this closet."

Can you hear my voice rising?

"This doorknob is in better condition than the one on the door in back of the garage.  How about I use it to replace that doorknob and we throw that one away?"  A certain Englishman is always good to find the best solution.  I agreed.

We spent almost 20 minutes talking about one item!  If we have a discussion like this on every single item in our closet, it will be 2019 before it is done.

Now I start to panic.  We need to take a different approach.  I say, "Let's each start sorting our own items."  We both went through our clothes and decided what should stay and what should go.  Fortunately we regularly clear out old items from our closet so it really wasn't tons of stuff.

Tip #6 - First sort through your own things before making joint decisions.  

One thing I discovered as we decided on our items is that we sought each other's support.  Often a certain Englishman would say to me, "Look!  After 15 years I'm finally getting rid of this!"

And I would say, "Good for you!"

Or sometimes I would say, "I'm thinking about donating this dress, what do you think?"

"Go ahead if you want to," he would say.

I realized that even though we were making our own decisions we were helping each other.

Tip #7 - Give each other encouragement and permission to get rid of items.  

I'm much less of a saver than a certain Englishman so I got through my stack pretty quickly.  He still had lots of stuff to sort.  While I waited for him to finish before we could start on the shared items, I decided to count the money we found tucked away in odd places.  I found $990! A pretty financially lucrative day I would say.

I didn't count the $2 bills.

Now it was time to start going through all the non-clothing items that we owned.



This is where the real work began.

Turns out a certain Englishman has a mint collection that rivals my lip gloss collection.



These had been scattered throughout the closet.

After cleaning out my purses a couple weeks earlier. 

A certain Englishman wanted to start hanging stuff in the closet, but I didn't want to until I knew exactly what we were working with.  I started bagging up our donations to get them out of the room.  This helped us feel like we were making progress and gave us more room to work with.

Tip #8 - Bag as you go and remove items to clear space.  


Because a certain Englishman had so many tiny items to make decisions on, I decided to help him out.  At one point he left the room for a minute.  I saw a bag of extenders to his UT-Austin watch (Hook 'Em Horns) and threw it in the trash bag.  He returned and found the business card to Precision Watch that had the 5-year warranty on his Texas watch.  He said, "Oh good, now I can get my watch repaired."

"Why?" I asked, "What's wrong with it?"

"I have a pin that keeps popping out and I saved the extra pieces so they can replace the pin."

"Were they in a little ziploc bag?" I asked, fearing the worst.

"Yes, I just saw it.  Where did it go?"

"I tossed it." I looked down into the trash bag that was now about half full of lots of tiny items.

"Why did you do that?" asked a certain Englishman.

"Because it's been in the closet for years and I didn't think you needed it anymore."

Tip #9 - Don't sort for your partner.  It's their decision to make, not yours.  


Fortunately, I found it in the trash and I was forgiven.

It's now been about 5 1/2 hours




We finally had our stuff in essentially four categories:

Donations

trash

misplaced items - need to go somewhere else in the house

(See the famous doorknob and watch?) 
and items to go back into the closet.


We decided to walk into our empty closet and map out where we wanted things to go.  We considered our different heights and what made sense.  We decided all of my stuff would go on the left-hand side, his on the right.  We had three sets of shelves and he'd get two of them.  I don't have as much stuff as he does and upper shelves don't really work for me anyway.

Tip #10 - Create a game plan of how you want your closet organized.  

We were able to get our stuff put away fairly quickly.  Seeing the closet clean and organized was a good feeling.

My side, my next goal is to try the Project 333 challenge.

A certain Englishman's side, he has more on the top shelf because he can reach it. 

Our dirty laundry baskets will go in the middle. 

We tried to pay attention to our "pain points" the reasons why our closet got cluttered.  For a certain Englishman it was emptying out his pockets every day in different places.  So we set up a pocket loading station on one of the shelves.  Now he can fill his pockets with what he needs, mints, pens, handkerchiefs, etc.  He can grab his cufflinks if he wants to wear them that day.  And he has a place to empty out his pockets at night.  Note:  It's actually a soap dish from Target.  They come in all sorts of shapes and styles and are pretty inexpensive.  Thanks to @mrsbrijenkins for that tip.


Each type of item has its own basket.  The empty soap dishes are on the left.  
I discovered that my pain point is putting things away in different places until they all get mixed up.  I have a nice label maker, but I was concerned it wouldn't stick to fabric.  So I old-schooled it and brought out the masking tape.  I labeled everything.

You'd think I do a lot of yoga if I have a shelf just for pants and a shelf just for shirts.  Sadly, I do not. But I wear them almost every day thinking the outfit will inspire me.
The new shoes are extra shoes I bought of shoes I really like.  When they wear out, I just grab the next pair from the shelf.  I've been doing this for years.  If you really love a pair of shoes, buy another pair.  

This is my lingerie "drawer" I keep it all separate so I can see it and grab it.  

I had enough slots to keep even my slips separated by length.  

I also won't wear accessories if I can't see them or access them.  I had some extra curtain hooks in my tool chest (yes, I have my own tool chest) that I slipped onto a couple of "S" hooks.  I then clipped my belts to one, and my scarves to another.  Now I can access each one individually without having to move the others.

If you have a better system, I'd love to hear about it. I'm still new at this.  

Tip #11 - Figure out solutions to your pain points, reasons why the clutter got there in the first place.  


After we got our closet the way we liked it, we took a minute to enjoy the fruits of our labor and then we kept going.  We cleaned up our bedroom and made sure nothing had been left behind.  Then we set a timer and raced to see how quickly we could put away all the misplaced items.  Any guesses as to how long it took to put away all that stuff at the top of the stairs?




We got it done in less than 8 minutes!




It really helped to have a decluttered house where everything has a place.

We were completely done by 3:00 p.m. and proud of our day.



Bonus Tip #1:  Have water bottles and snacks close by before you get started. 

We started to get hungry by 10:00 and I had to stop what I was doing to get us some ice water.  A certain Englishman pulled out some dehydrated fruit and Hello Panda cookies so that we could snack while we worked.  I wish I had thought about it in advance and had something all prepared and ready to go.

Bonus Tip #2: Pick a charity in advance who will benefit from your donations.  

That night we went up to a certain Englishman's brother and his husband's place for dinner.  I was telling them about our day.  I asked them if it's harder to clean out a closet with a same-sex partner when you can share clothes.  They said that for them it was.  One might want to get rid of a t-shirt and the other will say, "Then I'll wear it."

My brother-in-law then gave this excellent advice.  They had decided that they were going to go through their clothes and donate them to a nonprofit in Las Vegas that gives items to homeless teenagers still attending high school.  He said they gave away some of their really nice pieces so that these homeless students wouldn't be embarrassed at school.  It made it much easier to let go of the items.  I really liked this idea and will try it next time.


Here are all my tips:

Tip #1 - Schedule in advance when you are going to clean out your closet. Don't just spring it on your partner catching him or her off guard.
Tip #2 - Play some fun workout music to keep your energy up so that you'll move more quickly.
Tip #3 - Decide who will be the project manager and let them be "the boss."  The person doesn't need to be bossy but should feel in charge.
Tip #4 - Completely clean your closet after it is empty.
Tip #5 Play calming music when you have to decide what stays and what goes.
Tip #6 - First sort through your own things before making joint decisions.
Tip #7 - Give each other encouragement and permission to get rid of items.
Tip #8 - Bag as you go and remove items to clear space.
Tip #9 - Don't sort for your partner.  It's their decision to make, not yours.
Tip #10 - Create a game plan of how you want your closet organized.
Tip #11 - Figure out solutions to your pain points, reasons why the clutter got there in the first place.
Bonus Tip #1:  Have water bottles and snacks close by before you get started.
Bonus Tip #2: Pick a charity in advance who will benefit from your donations.  



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