Chairdrobe [chair-drohb] noun: a piece of furniture for holding piles of clothes, traditionally reserved for seating.

See also:  Floordrobe [flohr-drohb] and Ellipticloset [ih-lip-ti-kloz-it] 

They don’t sell them at IKEA, and you can’t get them at Target either.  But they’re in almost every home in America: the Chairdrobe.  Usually located in the bedroom, the Chairdrobe is an unsightly beast that sits quietly in the corner, devouring our clothes, hiding our handbags, and reminding us of our procrastination. 

Once upon a time, you probably had visions of using the Chairdrobe as something else.   You might have started your morning in it, sipping on a cup of coffee and quietly meditating.  Or maybe you would have used it to unwind from a long day with a book and a glass of wine.  But what has it done for you lately?  

It is time to reclaim your chair and defeat the Chairdrobe once and for all!

1.  Make a chair.  Clear every item from the Chairdrobe.  As you remove each item, honestly ask yourself why that item landed there.  If your answer is “it was too small/too big/don’t really like it that much”, get rid of it!  Your wardrobe should represent who you are TODAY, not who you were in the past or who you hope to be in the future.

2.  Mend & Clean.  Create a spot in your entry closet for clothing items that need to go to the cleaners or the tailor.  These items should be kept apart from your wardrobe until they are ready to be worn again.  By putting them in an entry closet, you will be reminded of that errand each time you grab your coat and head out the door.    

3.  Valet your daily wardrobe.  Stop using the chair to stage your wardrobe.  Buy an inexpensive over the door hanger for your closet or bedroom door that is to only be used for setting out your clothes the night before.  For only $5.99, ClosetMaid has a simple over-the-door organizer that collapses when not in use.  

4.  Evaluate your laundry hamper.  Do you have one in your bedroom?  Does it size meet your needs?  If it is too small, you’ll start to throw clothes back on the chair or floor.  If it’s too big, you’ll overload it and you’ll dread laundry day (more than you already do).  

5.  Create a space of joy.  Remember why you wanted a chair in your bedroom to begin with.  Add a beautiful side table, a lamp, a footrest, or whatever else might inspire peace and relaxation.  Use the table to hold deeply personal items, such as a journal, affirmations book, or a favorite photo.  Then, make a simple sign that reads:  RESERVED  and honor that sign.  When the chair is not in use, place the sign on the chair as a reminder that that space has greater purpose than holding your clothes.  

If you feel the urge to feed the Chairdrobe beast once again, remember:  It won't wash, fold, or put away your laundry.  So what is it good for?

Aimee Olson of Life Done Simply is a member of the National Association of Productivity & organizing Professionals (NAPO)