My Husband’s Closet Clean Out: Messy to Organized in 2 hours or less

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My husband is not the most organized person and he has some packrat tendencies, especially with clothes.  This equals a pretty cluttered closet in desperate need of a closet clean out.

At the start of our marriage, we shared a standard closet and then a small walk-in closet. When we moved two years ago, we bought a house that has two master walk-in closets – one really large and the other is smallish.  Can you guess who got the bigger closet?

Whenever you watch HGTV’s House Hunters or other similar shows, the wife always jokes that all the closet space is hers or that she will get the most closet space.  Well, in our house, the opposite is true. My husband has always had more clothes than me, even when I was working outside the home.

messy closet

Decluttering Clothes

Over the years I’ve helped my husband declutter and organize his clothes. To say he has an unwillingness to get rid of clothes is an understatement. Can anyone else relate to keeping high school or college clothes for 15-20 years?  And argue for the need to keep those clothes even though he hasn’t worn them in all those years?

Some of my decluttering and organization habits have rubbed off on him, though.  He has made a lot of progress and recently finally got on board with the one in, one out rule.  But, it was past due for a major closet clean out.

The first step is decluttering clothes.  I went through and pulled out all the clothes that:

  • I haven’t seen him wear in a long time
  • Outdated or just not his current style
  • Showed too much wear or were stained
  • Needed repair  

I did not just put all those clothes in a donation bag and drop them off.  I set them on his side of the bed for him to review when he got home from work.  This is so important. I don’t support getting rid of someone else’s stuff without their input.  

pile of clothes to donate to charity

With my husband’s reluctance to getting rid of stuff, he would be beyond mad when he realized I got rid of his clothes.  Then he wouldn’t trust me in the future and would be even MORE reluctant to get rid of stuff.

Related: How to Declutter Your Home: No-Fail Strategies to Clear the Clutter and Decluttering Paralysis: Strategies When You’re Struggling to Declutter

Tie Organization

My husband wears a tie to work almost every day.  He also has a little addiction to buying ties, and quite frankly, so do I.  Let’s face it, most of guys’ standard business clothes are a little boring but ties are the bright spot in my opinion.

So my husband has a lot of ties to organize AND he needs an easy way to keep them that way.  We have had the same tie hanger for years and bought new similar hangers when his tie collection grew.  The problem: he wasn’t hanging his ties up in the designated spot. But, the problem wasn’t with the tie hanger, it was the placement of the hanger.  

I initially put the tie hangers at the end of the long rack where his business shirts hang, which wasn’t convenient to where he takes them off.  Instead of putting the ties away, he was hanging them over the command hooks at the entrance of his closet. He would pile the ties so high that they eventually would topple to the floor.

The solution was put the tie hangers on the command hooks since that was his preferred spot for putting his ties.  


tie hangers on closet rod and on command hooks

Tie Hanger Pros:

  • Compact – Although space is no longer an issue for us, the tie hanger served us well when we had a small closet.
  • Inexpensive
  • Versatile hanging options to suit pretty much any space – on the closet rod, over the door with an over the door hook and wall mounted via command hooks
  • Can also be a belt hanger

Tie Hanger Con:

My husband doesn’t always take the time to put the ties on the individual bars.  He drapes then over the top. Although this is much less an issue when it’s hanging against a door or wall.  

How to Organize Hats

I looked at quite a few hat organizer ideas before ultimately going with a wall-mounted hat rack.  There are several wall-mounted hat rack options depending if you have vertical or horizontal space available.  I thought about making a DIY hat rack so I’d have the exact dimensions and spacing I needed. But in the end, a basic wall rack with hooks served the purpose and was easy to find and install.  


hats in a messy pile on closet shelf and organized on wall mounted hooks

Now, my husband’s hats aren’t a piled up mess.  It’s easy for him to quickly find the hat he wants.  The wall above the small dresser in his closet was blank so the wall-mounted hat rack dressed it up the space a little.  

Watch Display Case

A watch display case is an easy way to neatly organize watches.  There are a ton of options to choose from to suit your needs. Here are several different types of watch display cases:

wrist watch display case


Valet Tray

Valet tray helps catch and contain all the odds and ends that would otherwise make the top of the dresser or nightstand a cluttered mess.  My husband mainly uses it to deposit the various things he collects in his pants pockets throughout the day – pens, chapstick, business cards, etc.  

Valet tray with pens, earbuds, chapstick, pocket knife

Closet Clean Out Game Changer

In the past, I’ve always gone through my husband’s stuff with him present.  Since he likes to hold on to stuff I thought he’d be more comfortable going through everything together.  

This time I did the closet clean out while he was at work.  I just couldn’t walk past his closet one more time and look at the disaster zone!  His closet was the worst it’s ever been so the decluttering before and after was pretty dramatic.  

When he came home he was so surprised and impressed with the transformation that he not only got rid of all the clothes I suggested, he also said, “Let’s take another look and see if there is more stuff I can get rid of.”  This has NEVER happened before. I was completely ready for a negotiation session about the clothes I set aside.

So for us (at least this time), the game changer was seeing the result before he even had to make any decisions about what to get rid of.  He didn’t need to visualize how much better it would be with less stuff, he already saw it to be true.

I will say that we have years and years of history decluttering his closets.  He knows and trusts that I won’t get rid of any of his stuff without his permission.

What to Do With All the Stuff?

My husband had a lot of clothes and other stuff he no longer wants, so now what?  The most important next step is to get all the unwanted stuff out of your house as quickly as possible.  Don’t let it pile up and become your new form of clutter!

boxes and bags of stuff to be donated to charity

We typically donate most of the stuff we get rid of, but selling it is another option.  Sometimes selling your old stuff is the motivation you need to be willing to get rid of it.  

For multiple ways to get rid of your stuff, check out How to Get Rid of Stuff After Decluttering.

Closet Clean Out: Before and After Pictures

So how did his closet clean out turn out?  Take a look at some of the before and after pictures to see the transformation.  In all, it took me less than two hours to declutter and organize.

messy men's closet transformed into organized closet

Decluttering and organizing my husbands closet. Messy men's closet, organized men's closet


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One Comment

  1. Marina Diaz says:

    finally someone who’s married to the same kind of man! My husband is completely like yours and is definitely hoarding clothes that no longer fit him and definitely from his high school days. Except for I have one more category that I add when I decide to declutter through his clothes. Ones I don’t find him so attractive in. 😆
    Although I got to admit I cringe whenever I let him go through what I decluttered because he’ll create reasons to keep it. Almost feel like sabotaging…let the cat in and say please pee on these. 😂
    Thank you so much this is very helpful.

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