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Closet Cleanup: A Father’s Day Surprise

Dilemma: Messy Closet

Occasion: Father’s Day

Opportunity: My husband’s business trip

Solution: Closet Cleanup for a Father’s Day surprise

Neither my husband nor I are what you would call fashionable (unless it’s fashionably late, then yes! That is my husband!). Our clothing choices are based on functionality. His mostly business casual for work, and mine: ready to for an outdoor adventure with the kiddos. But when it came to our closets, although his side has more suit jackets, my side was definitely more organized. 

When we first moved to Charleston, I splurged on closet organization accessories for myself. I bought a set amount of blond wooden hangers and storage cubes, and I freed a lot of my wardrobe to new homes, as I wanted to minimize my morning choices as more and more I’m realizing mental load and fatigue for moms is real!

My plan was to include my husband in this process, but he politely declined and said he liked his wardrobe and the way his closet side was set up.

Fast forward a year.

“Hey, have you seen…” he yells from the closet.

So when he was away for a recent business trip (and Father’s Day looming), I took it upon myself to orchestrate a little closet magic.

Now, I’m no organization master (check out De-cluttered for a local pro!). I’ll admit that I didn’t finish reading the beloved organization go-to book: Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But, I did read enough to understand the concept of thinking about the purpose of your possessions: “Does it bring you joy? Is it useful?” This thought process hasn’t been as helpful for me when going through my possessions; however, thinking about, “Is this worth keeping and packing/unpacking if we have to move again?” really did the trick! 

All that to say, even as a non-professional. . .

even not having mastered the KonMari method. . .

even though I was going through my husband’s clothes instead of my own, the project wasn’t too painful!

It made for a quick afternoon transformation (finished in the course of my kids’ naps) with minimal prep work. Honestly, the biggest challenge was getting all the laundry done so I knew how much clothes he had! If I can do it, you can do it! And don’t all our hubbies deserve organized closet? 

The Shopping

In between tossing loads of laundry into the washer and dryer, the kiddos and I took a quick trip to a local retailer. At first, my cart contained the same color wooden hangers that I have on my side of the closet, but then I thought better. If my husband and I had different colored hangers, then we couldn’t add or detract from our wardrobes, as the name of the game for me was to have a set amount of clothing choices. I knew I would be the one to steal hangers and add to my collection if tempted! 

I opted for twenty-four mahogany suit hangers and ten pants hangers. Turns out, after I went through and set aside the items I wanted him to donate, there were exactly enough hangers for all his clothes! I knew he had clothes that he had taken with him on his business trip (super embarrassing for him if he didn’t!), but I was hoping that when he came home, he would feel inspired to set free a few more items, as he could better employ the “joy or useful” method since they were his clothes.

I could have picked up some storage cubes from the store we were in, but instead I went online to order the same storage cubes that graced my side of the closet. I like the cubes because they fit on the top of our closet well, but are still big enough to get several items in. They can be flipped to see the contents, or placed upright for a clean look.

Altogether, my investment for this project was around $45.

Go Time

I knew that I had to do all of the work AWAY from my kiddos. So nap time came, and I got to work.

I dumped gently laid all of his t-shirts and sweatpants onto our bed and started sorting. While a lot of his t-shirts are threadbare, they are foremost sentimental. So I kept all of them for him to sort through later. 

Closet Cleanup: A Father's Day Surprise

Soon, all the cubes were filled with his casual clothes: t-shirts, shorts, sweats, etc. On I moved to his dress clothes.

This proved a little more challenging, as I didn’t know which ones he favored, but I pulled out the stained and torn ones, knowing they would need to be mended or donated (depending on their condition).  

If my kids were longer sleepers, I would have dusted off the iron and attacked some wrinkles. But, alas, I just needed to get the job done. So up on hangers his dress clothes went and then hung by type and color. 

The Finished Product

Although I didn’t drastically reduce the amount of items on his side of the closet, by the time I was finished, everything looked more put together. Items were easily accessible, and it was a little easier to breathe (even if it was a closet!).

When my kids woke up and checked out my work, they approved. But what would my husband think?

Closet Cleanup: A Father's Day Surprise

The Grand Reveal

Whenever my husband leaves for a business trip, he plans out daily surprises for our kids, like a scavenger hunt with illustrated clues or a homemade puzzle with pieces hidden throughout the house. Recently, the grand prize included a bottled coffee for mom. Needless to say, both my four-year-old and toddler love it, and I truly needed that 12 oz. of coffee to make it through that day! His thoughtfulness makes the whole time without daddy a little more bearable. And, in my opinion, he deserves the “best travelling businessman and daddy” award. Because let’s be truthful, no one in our family likes it when he’s gone, including him. But our family, like many today, have learned to manage this part of his career.

I’d like to say that I was creative like him and made a scavenger hunt with the last clue leading to the closet. But instead, the morning after he got home, my son announced we had a surprise for him, and then he raced to the closet ahead of him and yelled, “Surprise! Happy Father’s Day!” 

He showed the obligatory appreciation and gave hugs to all the family members, whom had all congregated in the closet, including the dog who likes to be a part of any excitement. 

I still wasn’t sure if the surprise had been more for him or for me until a few days later when I found my husband in the laundry room. He had some of the new hangers and was taking out his dress clothes from the dryer to hang up before they could wrinkle! Not only was he using the system I set up for him, but he actually said it was making mornings easier for him. 

The Why

My husband works tirelessly whether he is away on a business trip, working from home, or working locally. An organized closet, although a small project, makes getting ready for work easier for him. He can find what he needs and doesn’t have to spend too much time on this part of his mornings. Which means, he can spend more time with us.

The project was also a simple way to show him how much I appreciate all he does for our family! He means the world to us, and I don’t say it enough! Happy Father’s Day, Love! 

Have you ever done a secret project for your spouse? How did it go? Add your comment below! 

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