organizing closet

Photo: David Tsay

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Time Required: Three hours (depending on your closet—and partner)

When Peter Walsh tells Michelle Holt and her husband, Niall McKeown, that they are "every couple," he means that they have two jobs, two kids, too much stuff, and too little time. The closet they share—which they've been meaning to clean out for eight years—is stuffed with Michelle's colorful blouses and flowing skirts, which threaten to suffocate Niall's modest assortment of button-downs like so many weeds. "I get so claustrophobic that I just grab the first thing I see," says Niall. Michelle admits that finding a matching pair of motorcycle boots involves a major excavation. Walsh tells the couple—who have gamely offered to test his methods for O's readers—that "when it comes to closets, it takes two to de-clutter." Working with a ready second opinion is more efficient. It's also an exercise in communication—so Walsh tells Michelle and Niall to "give each other permission to be honest." And they're each allowed three vetoes, for things they may keep over their partner's objections.