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Why Decluttering Your Closet Is So Hard

Woman sitting on floor folding clothes

Decluttering your closet can feel like an insurmountable task. Despite our best intentions, clothes pile up, shoes scatter, and accessories seem to disappear into the abyss. A cluttered closet isn't just an eyesore—it can also lead to stress and wasted time every morning. If you’ve ever wondered why decluttering your closet is so hard, you’re not alone. Let’s dig into some reasons why you may struggle with organizing your closet and discover some ways to overcome it.


Psychological Barriers

One of the primary reasons decluttering your closet is difficult is the emotional attachment we often have to our clothes. Each piece of clothing can carry memories or represent a significant time in our lives, making it hard to let go. Additionally, there's the fear of needing an item in the future. "What if I need this for a special occasion?" is a common thought that keeps many items hanging in the closet.


Another barrier is decision fatigue. The process of deciding which items to keep, donate, or discard can be overwhelming, especially if you have a large wardrobe. This mental exhaustion can lead to procrastination and avoidance, making the task seem even more daunting.


Common Mistakes

Happy woman in the city with shopping bags.

One issue that I often encounter that results in overloaded closets is impulse shopping. So many of us purchase items because “the sale was too good to pass up” or simply not knowing what you already have can lead to a closet full of items that don't fit your style or needs. Another mistake is holding onto items "just in case." These items rarely get used and only add to the clutter.


Ineffective organizing systems also contribute to the problem. Without a clear system in place, clothes can quickly become disorganized again, making it feel like a never-ending battle.


Practical Challenges

On a practical level, many people struggle with limited time and energy to dedicate to decluttering. Busy schedules and other responsibilities can make it hard to find a convenient time to tackle the closet. Additionally, lack of space can be a significant issue. Small closets or shared spaces require creative solutions to keep everything organized.


Not knowing where to start is another common challenge. The sheer volume of items can make it difficult to decide how to begin the process, leading to feelings of being overwhelmed.


So How Can You Overcome These Challenges?

Despite these barriers, there are effective strategies to make decluttering your closet easier. Start by setting realistic goals. Break the task into manageable steps, such as focusing on one section of the closet at a time. This approach prevents burnout and makes the process more achievable. As much as I love Marie Kondo, her method of pulling everything out is not for everyone. Seeing a mountain of clothes piled on your bed can be quite overwhelming!


Implement the one-year rule: if you haven’t worn an item in the past year, it’s probably safe to let it go. This rule helps eliminate the fear of needing something in the future and encourages more thoughtful decisions about what to keep.Try putting the hanger on the rod backwards and returning them back to normal once you’ve worn them. This “reverse hanger trick” is a great way to visually see what you actually wear and what can potentially be removed.


The Benefits of a Decluttered Closet

A decluttered closet offers numerous benefits beyond just aesthetics. It reduces stress and anxiety by creating a more orderly environment. With fewer items to sort through, finding and choosing outfits becomes quicker and easier, saving you time and energy each day. Additionally, the sense of accomplishment from successfully decluttering your closet can boost your confidence and motivation to tackle other areas of your home.


One of my clients enlisted my help because it was taking her way too much time to get ready for work in the mornings. After decluttering and creating a more functional system, she is now able to quickly identify what she has which helps her mornings run more smoothly.



Decluttering your closet is undoubtedly a challenging task, but understanding the reasons behind the struggle can make it more manageable. By addressing psychological barriers, avoiding common mistakes, and implementing practical strategies, you can overcome these challenges and enjoy the benefits of a tidy, organized closet. Start small, stay consistent, and remember that the effort you put in today will pay off in the long run. For further assistance, D’Clutter by D’Nai provides both in-home and virtual organizing sessions to help you create a streamlined clothing system that will help you save time and relieve some stress!


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