clean and organized closet

Dirty, clammy odors were not listed as the “in-style” smells for this summer.  I don’t recall seeing that being on the “hot list” on all of the designer style runways or in the latest fashion magazines.  But somehow most of our closets are holding onto those strange, foul-smelling odors.

The Texas heat is here and I am sure you are pulling out the lighter clothes and shorter shorts that you haven’t worn since last summer.  Most likely they don’t smell like they came straight out of the dryer (since they’ve been in an enclosed space), but they are not dirty.  Check out these easy and affordable ways to keep your clothes smelling fresh in your closet.  This way your clothes can stay fresh on and off your body.


Remove the carpet in your closet if possible.  Carpet holds odors, dust, dirt, and heat in.  If the task of removing the carpet seems too daunting, then vacuum the space as thoroughly as possible and at least monthly. 

If you are able to remove the carpet you will notice that your closet looks more spacious without it.  If you just really need to have carpet under your feet while finding the perfect shirt in the morning, place some long rugs that can be washed on a regular basis in there.

What’s lurking behind the closet door?

Try to keep your closet door open all of the time…unless it’s an eye-sore.  If your closet is positioned where it’s visible to you often, then try to open the door on the weekends or before you head to work.  If you have pets, please be sure to close the bedroom door so your pets don’t discover a new hiding space on (or even worse…IN) your favorite pair of boots!  Just like airing out your home in the cooler months is great for your house…airing out closets when you are not home is ideal for the small spaces. If you have a window close to the closet be sure and open it when airing the space out.  A fan placed right inside the closet door can move the still and stagnant air around as well.

What is that smell and where is it coming from?!?  Ew!

Some of the main reasons the closet has an odor is not only because it’s closed 90% of the time but because of the contents of the closet.  Some common culprits include:  running shoes, last year’s winter coat, undergarments, hats and maybe even an unfamiliar smell that you just can’t put your finger on but you believe is hiding in one of your old purses or gym bags.

Bags and Purses

Go through your old purses, bags, luggage, and totes to rid them of any half eaten granola bars or other items that may be literally dying inside the closed space. 


Let’s face it… a Banana Republic suit should not smell like Nike Cross Trainers!  Add dryer sheets or cedar shoe trees to remove odors out of shoes.  Cedar shoe trees are not just for dress shoes.  They work wonders in smelly, athletic training shoes and help keep the shoes true to form at the same time. 

Try to keep all athletic shoes out of the closet.  If the closet is the only option, then place the dryer sheets or cedar shoe trees in each shoe then place each shoe in a Ziploc Freezer Bag.  This helps keep the odors contained rather than spreading to your favorite dress. If you are an avid sports junkie, I suggest that you keep all athletic shoes in another place other than the closet.  If you have no choice but to keep them in there, buy some gallon-size freezer bags and some dryer sheets.  Stuff one dryer sheet in each shoe after a workout and Ziploc tight the bag until the next sweat session.

Natural Air Fresheners

I am a huge fan of cheap tricks that work so, when I think of odors, I automatically think of baking soda.

I mix 20 drops of a neutral essential oil into a jar or bag of baking soda that has some openings to breathe and place a few in each corner of my closet. Keep the essential oil to a pleasant light smell that your significant other won’t mind either.  (Hint:  Most men don’t like smelling like roses).  Keep all air fresheners out of reach from small children and pets.  They don’t quite understand that everything that smells good doesn’t taste good or is safe.

You can also use a mixture of uncooked white rice and your essential oils because rice is a humidity control agent.

If you are leaving your air conditioning to a temperature above 76 degrees and closing your closet door, I can guarantee your closed closet is more humid than your open bedroom.

There are also many store bought air fresheners that work – but try to buy some that don’t smell like fresh fruit or flowers as those may attract bugs.  Bugs like to eat just about everything…including your favorite silk blouse or little black dress!Our closets hold more than clothes.  They hold memories!  Memories of being a size 4 (c’mon…we all remember those days and swear that we’ll get back into that favorite pair of jeans again someday), wedding dresses, and more. Don’t just close the door on your style…keep it fresh!