‘Friends’: Monica Geller’s Closet Would Have Given Marie Kondo Anxiety

Monica Geller was known for her over-the-top obsession with cleanliness and order. Her OCD tendencies became a running joke for the duration of the series. Upon first look, the apartment would have made organizational guru, Marie Kondo, proud. Everything in the home’s common space appeared to have a purpose and place.  The loft-style apartment would have gotten the seal of organizational approval, upon first inspection, but Monica was hiding a dirty secret behind the door of a closet, and it would make most aggressively tidy people cringe.

Chandler Bing discovered Monica’s dirty little secret in season 8

Chandler Bing, desperate to find out what was hiding in the closet that Monica would not allow him to access, pops the door off the hinges to find out what is inside in season 8 of the series. What he finds is pretty amazing. Monica, it seems, had spent year amassing a collection of random items. With no place to put them, she started shoving them in the hall closet. Years of décor and other bits and bobs nearly spilled out onto the floor when he opened the door.

At that moment, Chandler was practically giddy. He had finally found out Monica’s secret. Behind her perfect, impeccably-kept exterior laid the heart of a messy person. Is that not a common occurrence, though? Doesn’t everyone have a junk drawer? Sure, Monica had a junk closet, but still. The fascinating aspect of her junk closet isn’t the fact that it existed, but, rather, it existed for someone like Monica, who was so single-mindedly obsessed with order.  

Monica Geller’s secret closet went against all of Marie Kondo’s teachings

Marie Kondo suggests that everything in your home should have a place and a purpose. Most of all, she suggests that every item that is kept inside the house should “spark joy” in some way. Monica’s closet breaks all three of the most basic of Kondo’s principles. Everything shoved into the closet, Monica admits, doesn’t fit into any of her preconceived categories. They also appear to be items that have absolutely no purpose, and they certainly don’t spark joy while sitting inside the closet.

When Chandler accused Monica of being secretly messy, she tries to insist that she’s so organized that she needed the mess because the items didn’t “fit” into her system. Since the pieces didn’t fit, it would have been advisable for Monica to get rid of them, either by tossing them or donating them. She didn’t do that, though, and some fans have theorized that there might be a psychological reason behind Monica’s mess.

A fan theorizes that Monica’s messy closet is a reaction to her breakup with Richard

The secret closet didn’t become a storyline until later seasons of the series. Friends fans point out that the interior of the secret closet was actually shown during the show’s early seasons. In one particular scene, the closet is in full view. During the early days of Friends the closet appeared to house coats and other clothing items, and even the shelf above the clothing rod was organized. Several years later, when Chandler pops the door open, there are tons of home décor items just haphazardly pushed into the space. So, what caused Monica to lose control of this one small portion of her home?

Monica Geller's apartment on the set of 'Friends'
Monica Geller’s apartment | Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

A Reddit fan suggests that Monica spiraled out of control after breaking up with Richard Burke and losing her job. It’s plausible that to keep up the appearance of an immaculate and organized home; she hid her mess away behind a door. Perhaps she was so despondent that she couldn’t be bothered to deal with it, and when she eventually had the energy, the mess had become too much to deal with.

 The one thing that makes absolutely no sense is the fact that none of the friends questioned why one of the home’s closets was suddenly off-limits. By the time Monica started accumulating the messy closet, she had lived in the apartment for several years, and Rachel Green had already moved in. Presumably, at some point, Rachel, Ross, or one of the other friends would have questioned why the suddenly couldn’t see inside a room they had previously had access to.