If your clothes closet is overflowing, and you just can’t find anything in there at all, it is probably time that you undertook a major decluttering project of that closet!
Our clothes closets tend to get very untidy very fast. Most of the time we know that we need to clean them up and tidy them up, but well, who has the time? And who likes the thought of tackling that closet clean up?
But actually decluttering and cleaning up your closet is a simpler job than you realize. With our 11-step guide here you can easily do this project in just a day. Just put on some good music, podcasts or an audio book and get started!
Step One: Everything Out!
Yes you read that right – EVERYTHING out! That means absolutely everything that is in your closet.
You simply cannot clean up and declutter your closet without removing everything first.
Pull everything out of the closet. Place your clothing somewhere it won’t get dirty or too wrinkled, such as on your bed. Take out all the shoes, all the belts, all the accessories – absolutely everything!
Take a good look at your closet now. You can see all the shelves you have, all the room you have. You are creating a kind of fresh clean canvas to build your closet again.
Step Two: What do you Have in your Closet?
You have pulled absolutely everything out of your clothes closet. Now it is all laying in your room. But what did you pull out of there? What should be there, and what shouldn’t be there?
When I recently cleaned out my closet it was actually quite a revelation. I found a belt that I thought I had lost years before wedged in a part of the closet. I found a pair of shoes I forgot I had. Going through your closet can actually be a pretty good thing. You will find things you forgot about, and things you thought you had lost.
I am sure that in addition however to having the things that should be in your clothes closet – clothes, shoes etc, you also have things that just don’t belong in there?
Those things that just don’t belong in there should be removed straight away. Depending on what they are they need to be put in their rightful place, trashed, or donated. That foot spa that you got as a gift last year for instance, doesn’t need to be inside your clothes closet. Put those items elsewhere.
Step Three: Go Through Your Clothes
Now you need to turn to all those pieces of clothing that you have strewn all around your room now. You are going to sort those clothes into 3 piles:
The Keep pile
The Donate or give away pile
The Trash pile
Pick up one piece of clothing at a time. Is this a piece of clothing that you love, that you wear regularly? If so, it goes in the keep pile.
If the piece of clothing is ripped or torn, you need to decide if you will fix it, or trash it. If its a piece of clothing that you love, it may be worth having it mended. But if it really is a cheap piece of clothing that you really don’t care that much about, just trash it.
If a piece of clothing is something that no longer fits you, trash or donate it.
If a piece of clothing is out of style, you can either decide to keep it, because who knows it may come back into style (think 20-30 years for that probably!), or you can trash or donate it.
Go through each piece of clothing one by one.
At the end of this step, you should have 3 piles of clothing.
Do the same with shoes and footwear. Trash anything old and broken. Donate anything you don’t want that is in good condition. Put pairs of shoes and boots together.
Step Four: The Trash Pile
You are going to deal with your trash pile of clothing straight away.
Because if you don’t deal with it straight away, you are going to dip back into that bag at some point and pull something out again. That bag of trashed clothing is also going to sit around making your room and home look untidy. So trash it straight away. Take it outside and throw it in the trash can.
Step Five: The Donate Pile
If you want to take a break right here, in the middle of the project and go get some air, put that bag or box of donated clothes in your car, and drive it straight over to a charity shop or wherever you take your donated items.
Or you can of course leave it somewhere in your home and deal with it later. But just don’t leave it too long. That bag or box is just going to sit in your home, gathering dust and looking untidy otherwise.
Step Six: The Keep Pile
Now you have just one pile left – your keep pile. This is the pile you want to have! This pile is all the clothing you want to wear and want to keep.
You can put this pile aside right now and get to work on cleaning that closet in the next step!…
Step Seven: Clean That Closet
Before you put everything back into your closet, you want to give it a good clean.
That closet probably hasn’t been cleaned since the day you first moved into your home has it?!
Dust, wipe and clean shelves and hanging rods. Sweep or vacuum the floor/carpet. Clean spills and stains off the walls of the closet.
Does anything need to be repaired? Is there a shelf that needs repairing? Something broken?
Do the walls need to be repainted or touched up?
If the closet looks particularly drab you could choose to make it over with something like wallpaper. Or you could paint it a different color, or make it look prettier with a new light fitting or shelf paper.
Step Eight: Sort your Clothes by Season
For the clothes that you are keeping, that are now in your keep pile, go through them and sort them by season.
For clothes that are in season now, you are going to put them in a ‘working area’ of your closet, especially for all the current clothes you wear (more about that further on).
Put each season’s clothes in a pile. You should likely really just have two piles for this: Fall/Winter, and Spring/Summer.
Step Nine: Place all the Clothes Back in the Closet
Everybody’s closet is different of course, in both size and design. If you have a large enough closet, create a ‘working area’ closest to the front/most accessible part of your closet. This working area is for your current clothes and the current season that you are wearing now.
If your closet is particularly small, perhaps those items could go in the middle of the shelf/hanging rod, or some place such as that, to keep them separate and obvious to you that they are your current clothes.
For all out of season clothes you can store them in other places in your closet. Perhaps create a shelf especially for winter sweaters.
Hang like pieces of clothing with like inside your closet. Hang pants/trousers together, hang dresses together, tops together etc.
You can then sort your clothes by color if you wish. Have all your dark clothes together, and all your light clothes. Or have black together, blue together, white together, beige together….
Do the same with all your shoes and footwear. Match pairs together. Arrange them as neatly and accessibly as possible in the closet.
Step Ten: What Helpers do you Need?
Now you are putting everything back in the closet, you can clearly see what you may need in the way of storage boxes, hampers, hooks, dividers etc in the closet. I always recommend that you don’t buy anything at all for any organizing and storage project until you actually start that project, so you can see exactly what you need, and the amount and size you need.
Do you need more hangers? One of the best things you can buy to keep your closets organized and looking good is uniform hangers. Buy hangers that are heavy duty and that are all the same. Get rid of those flimsy nasty looking wire hangers that every dry cleaners in town uses.
Could you use any hooks in the closet, any dividers for shelves? Do you need any additional storage containers for shelves?
Do you need anything for your shoes? Do you have enough storage for shoes? Do you need more?
Use labels for things that are not obvious to help you locate them in future. Label boxes and bins.
Don’t forget to use parts of your closet that you might not be currently utilizing, such as the back of the closet door, walls etc. Check out this post here for tips and suggestions that professional organizers use when organizing closets.
Step Eleven: Enjoy your ‘New’ Closet!
This step is easy – you’re done! You have cleared out and decluttered, cleaned, and reorganized your entire closet!
You can now enjoy your clean organized clothes closet. You should be able to find whatever you need. You should be able to use clothing that you had forgotten you even had! You should have more room inside that closet!