Organizing Your Closet: Winning the Battle in Your War Zone Wardrobe


The battle of organizing my closet all started with an innocent promise of brunch. Within seconds, I was scrolling through provocative displays of Hollandaise sauce, eyes wide and mouth gaping open like an anime character. All I needed now was my partner in crime, my little black dress (LBD): a spandex-laden saint that could stealthily disguise up to four breakfast entrees thanks to its thoughtful ruching.

Unfortunately, the LBD and I had not been in contact for years and was sadly nowhere to be found. I realized it had been over a year since I last organized my closet. As I scoured my closet floor, my heart began to palpitate; without the powers of my LBD, the dream of Hollandaise rapture without consequence was slipping from my grasp.

Kat Depner helps you win the battle against a warzone closet

Sensing a pending tantrum, my husband slowly approached with his fists balled.

Luke: “Kat, before I tell you this, I want you to know I love you…and my intentions were good.”

(suspicious pause)

Me: “What do you have in your hands, Luke?”

Luke: “I was trying to wash my black dress pants and sometimes our stuff gets mixed together. I never meant for you to find out this way…”

(cue dramatic music)

As Luke unclenched his fists, there was my glorious LBD, now resembling a shrunken, disheveled dish towel.

Kat: (eyes wide, mouth gaping open in horror)

Luke: “At least now we know it’s…clean?”

It’s been months since that unfortunate shrinking event, and time has brought much-needed perspective. I can now finally acknowledge the demise of my LBD came from my unruly and disorganized ways. Luke was merely collateral damage in the war zone of my closet. As I prepared to organize my closet, I realized I needed a no-fail plan; what clothes to release and what to keep.

If your closet is a war zone of sorts, these three tips will help you navigate your way to an armistice.

Closet Organization Tip #1: Could You Gift it to a Friend?Kat Depner's frayed jacket that isn't worth keeping

No, I am not suggesting that you organize your closet by divvying away your beloved wardrobe to a band of mothers. However, after enduring a few years of being used as a human snot receptacle, your standard of “gross” may be understandably redefined. For the self-sacrificing mom, armpit stains and small crotch holes in your day-to-day wardrobe are often thought of as acceptable provided they are clean, but you would never think to gift these same items to a dear friend.

When cleansing your closet, the rule is simple: if it’s not good enough to re-gift to your friend, it is not good enough to keep for yourself. Fraying (as seen in the adjacent jacket), strange discolorations, and aggressive pilling would never make the cut for a gift, and they should not make the cut as a permanent resident in your closet.

Kat Depner wearing jumpsuit that does not play well with anything else in her closet

Closet Organization Tip #2: Who is Your Partner in Crime?

Barring formal wear, if there is an item in your wardrobe that cannot play nice with at least two other pieces in your closet to form a cohesive outfit, it’s time to reconsider when organizing your closet. Often these rogue items that don’t have a partner in crime function as closet display pieces that are to be admired but serve no practical wearability. Think of that pair of brightly colored yellow pants you bought that seemed oh-so-cute at the time but you’ve likely never worn more than once. Or consider this colorful and crazy jumpsuit pictured on the left.

Your closet will forgive you once you’ve banished the outsiders and replaced them with more wearable neutral pants that can pair well with virtually anything in your wardrobe.

Closet Organization Tip #3: Do You Feel Beautiful in it?

Wear clothes that make you feel beautiful today

Does the clothing item in question make you feel like the best version of yourself? Let’s face it, life is short and there is no room for “some day” logic. Perhaps you have uttered some version of this to yourself before: “Some day when I lose ten pounds…” or “Someday when I feel more comfortable with my arms…” The reality is that “some day” is a hopeful excuse that robs you of experiencing an intentional and organized closet in the present. If the clothing doesn’t make you feel like the best version of yourself now and you find yourself leaning on “some day” logic to keep it, it’s time to move on.

Win The Battle And The War

These three strategies will give you the upper hand in your war zone closet. If you want to have a peaceful and harmonious relationship with your style, clean out everything that is wreaking havoc on your closet before even setting foot in a clothing store. It will set you up to experience a whole new world of possibilities with your style!


  1. Currently decluttering my closet. Finally having to say goodbye to all those ‘maybe I’ll lose the weight’ clothes.
    Good read!

    • Hey Arianne, So glad this was helpful. Yes, yes, it’s hard to let go of our “Maybe Someday” clothes, but it will make room for more intentional pieces. 🙂

  2. Love this! It’s been a few months since I last went through my closet. I do know there are a couple of items in there that have no partner in crime that I need to get rid of. They have been lingering in there for WAY too long!

    • Hey Sherry! Sounds like its time to rid yourself of those rogue pieces once and for all :).
      I have banished them for all eternity from my wardrobe too, nice to look at, but serve no real purpose. Glad this was helpful!!

  3. Okay, now these are some organization tips I can get behind!! I’ve never thought of the “would I give it to a friend” approach, but THAT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE!! Love your wit and real-world ideas. I think you’ve inspired me to finally tackle that closet of mine. Thank you!

    • Why hello Happy heart Happy Home :), ” Would I give it to a friend” was the tough question I had to ask myself that led to a huge closet purge. It will help give you that final push to give away some of the aggressively pilling garments! So glad these tips were helpful.

  4. I love all these tips, and your sense of humor is great!!! I really need to reorganize my closet as well and will keep these in mind while doing so.

    • haha! Oh Felicia, nothing wrong with those size 2 jeans… if they still fit ;). Just think you can give them away and trade them in for a pair that says ” Mama’s got it goin’ on”.

    • Hey Shannon, Hurray! Time to get started! The first step is just to find that raggedy blouse, fold it up and say “Go away.. cursed be your pilling ways!” Ok, that was dramatic, but you get it. So glad these tips were helpful!

  5. Hahaha this was hilarious! I have been purging my closet for the last two weeks and I can finally see the floor. Praise the lord! Definitely stealing these tips to conquer the rest.

    • Hey there Des. A Scott, hopefully you did not also have a shrunken dress scenario in your closet purge :0. Let me know how it goes as you finally banish the non-functional out of your closet :).

  6. Ultimate question: Do you feel beautiful in it?

    I also gifted a lot of stuff to my friends, and if they didn’t want it then I donated it or sold it at a consignment shop. Would be interesting to see what staples you see again and again in the closets you visit. 🙂

    • Hey Maria, Yes, I concur ” Do you feel beautiful in it” is the ultimate decider for me on whether to keep an item or banish it for good. Hmmm.. in terms of closet staples I see again and again.. for now, because women are so different in their style, I am going to have to say.. hangers:)…
      Thanks for reading!!

  7. Thank you for this reminder that I need to clean out my (and my husband’s) closet!! His is alot worse than mine! ??

    • Hey Ann, I recently committed to the saintly task of cleaning out my hubbster’s closet, I only came up to take big gulps of air for a break. It was apocalyptic in there. Do it, and he will owe you for a lifetime. 🙂

  8. The closet is a hard one for me to organize! I always think to myself, “No, I’ll definitely wear that one day”. And I never do! Thank you for your post!

    • Hey Sylvia, No time like the present. I you will feel like you have achieved something grand ( if only for a few moments) when you have purged that closet :).

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