This morning, my husband came to me and asked me, “Can you do my closet today?”
I probably gasped. DOOOO???? He wants me to DO his closet? As in ORGANIZE AND DECLUTTER MY HUSBAND’S CLOSET?
Of course, I know that decluttering someone else’s things without their input isn’t very effective. So I made sure he knew that I’d need his help at least for the decluttering portion.
1. Gather all of the clothes in one place.
The first rule of decluttering any area/category is to get everything together. So, I sent my husband to gather his off-season things from the garage while I emptied his dresser and closet onto our bed. Yes, EVERYTHING must be together, preferably visible. That means even if they clothes are “together” in the closet or in the dresser, you still need to take them out.
My husband has a LOT of clothes. So instead of dealing with them all at once, I’m going to have him split them between categories – work, working out, and personal. We will be rotating summer-only things to a tub in the garage (certain flight suits, swimsuit, etc) and moving formal uniforms and his suit to the playroom closet, zipped up in garment bags to protect them. This will just give him a bit more wiggle room in his closet and dresser. A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on
2. Sort by subcategory.
Once I pulled everything out, I was a tiny bit overwhelmed by it. Mainly because he has several categories of clothes and they were all mixed up together. Because of this, it was pretty hard to tell what he had for each purpose. So I asked him to separate the clothes by purpose.
These are the main categories in my husband’s closet:
- Everyday work stuff, uniforms.
- Exercise clothes.
- “Normal people” everyday type of clothes.
- Formal clothes – formal uniforms, and his civilian suit.
- Grungy clothes – the things he wears to paint or build stuff or do yard work.
- Out-of-season clothes – things that he won’t need to use for at least 6 months or so.
He’s separating work stuff (on the floor at the end of the bed), exercise stuff (under the window), and “regular people stuff” (staying on the bed) so we can go through each category separately. We have a basket designated for discards, and, as I mentioned before, a bin for off-season things he wants to save for next year. And he already moved his formal stuff to the playroom.
3. If space is tight, move less-often-used clothing.
We packed up his summer-only things – swim shorts and goggles, his water-bottle belt for runs in the desert sun, Camelbak cleaning supplies, and so on. Those went into the garage. We also packed up the super-cold-weather things he needed in Maryland. We may end up back in a cold place in a couple of years, and he doesn’t want to get rid of those things entirely, but they can live in the garage while we’re here. This included his long underwear and really really warm jackets. Formal uniforms and his suit aren’t things he needs to use very often, so we hung those in the playroom closet in garment bags. We talked to the kids about them (because they play in that closet) and I think they’ll leave them alone. His grungy clothes (1 pair of pants, 2 shirts, and a sweatshirt) are folded neatly in the bottom drawer of his bedside table now. Out of the way of his normal clothes, but easily accessible whenever he needs them. This left his dresser and minimal hanging space free for the things he actually needs on a day-to-day basis.
So far, he’s gotten rid of more things than I would have gotten rid of if I had been working alone. I’m nursing Henry, asking Topher questions (minimal, open ended ones) and he’s doing the sorting. Almost done. A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on
4. Ask helpful, thought-provoking questions.
It could be tempting to ask things like, “Are you suuuuure you want to keep that? Really? Really, that?” to try to coax your husband to go whichever way you want him to.
Instead, ask questions that will help him make decisions he’s going to be happy with a month or two down the road. Some of the things I asked my husband during this process were:
- When you open your drawer to choose a pair of shorts, is there any pair you like the least? (He got rid of one that had a small hole in it.)
- Are you excited about wearing all of these long-sleeved shirts this winter? (He liked the shirts fine, but we figured out that he was hesitant about them because he didn’t like his white undershirts under them. I suggested he try them on with his black work undershirts, and he did, which he was pleased with. So the shirts stayed.)
- Which of these polo shirts do you prefer wearing? Are there any you don’t prefer? (He got rid of a turquoise shirt which I like, but which he never prefers to wear.)
- (About items that are very similar) Do you like to wear these equally? (He got rid of one undershirt that fit a little funny.)
5. Gather accessories and “miscellaneous” all at once.
Just as we gathered all of the clothes together in one place to sort through at once, we need to do the same with the rest of the stuff. So, my husband cleared off his dresser’s top, and pulled down all of the stuff from the top shelf of the closet. Shoes, shoe-shining stuff, various doo-dads for his uniforms, patches, and more.
He’s sorting through his patches so quickly. I would have no idea what was what or what he’d think was important. Something he must do on his own, for sure! . Side note – I think seeing me do my closet, dresser, and sentimental stuff recently has spurred this. I did NOT ask him or suggest to him that we should go through his closet. It’s all him. Lead by example and they WILL come around (some guys will take longer than others). A photo posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on
Don’t put anything away that you don’t actually need and want to keep! I absolutely needed my husband to sort through this stuff on his own, because there’s no way I would’ve been able to guess what was important and what was clutter.
Still, there were a few things here that simply didn’t belong in my husband’s closet … a few office things, and some stuff that was better suited for the garage. So, he took those to their homes and left me to organize and replace his closet things.
Finished with the sorting and decluttering. A few more things are going to the garage for storage – his sword and the like. He went through his “sentimentaland” box just briefly and pulled out some things. He had office things and garage things mixed in, and those will go to their proper homes. Now I’m getting ready to put all of his things back in a nice way. Are you following me on periscope? I’m emilychapelle there. We can chat about husbands and decluttering/organizing soon!
6. Put things away in a sustainable way.
As I put away his clothes and other things, I made sure to leave room for things that were in the laundry, things he was currently wearing, and anything he might need to add in the near future. The seemingly-random things on the top of his dresser got a home in a wooden tray in his top drawer, so they don’t have to float around homeless forever (homeless items = clutter). And everything else is easy to access AND easy to put away.
Finished!!! His closet and dresser look awesome! Pajamas went in his bedside table, top drawer. Grungy clothes (for painting and yard work and such) in bedside bottom drawer. A video posted by Emily @ So Damn Domestic (@sodamndomestic) on
Now all I need to do is hang up the holder I made for his flight suit patches and maybe even put a nice picture on the wall!
I’m so glad my husband asked me to help him with his closet today, not because it bothered me (it didn’t), but because NOW it isn’t bothering HIM. He’s thanked me for my help several times, and I thanked him in return, for letting me help. What a fun project!
One thing to remember – HE came to ME.
If you want your husband’s closet to be decluttered or organized, look at your own stuff a bit harder first. That is your domain. Your own things, and household/shared things are areas where you can improve, dial things in a bit, and use those “wins” to inspire your other family members to do the same.
I think my husband asked me about his closet today because I just sorted through my own clothes a couple of days ago. It really needed to be done since I’m not pregnant anymore and the seasons are changing! I also sorted through a big chunk of my sentimental items, and I think those things inspired him.
But if your husband has already come to you asking for assistance, or if he seems interested, I hope this guide helps you to organize your husband’s closet with him!
Have fun, and let me know how it goes!