7 Expert Tips: Cleaning Your Closet To Save Time

September 21, 2016

If you last cleaned your closet when you moved into your home, it's time to get your wardrobe organized. A clean closet can do a lot for your mental well-being. Going into a clean closet each morning helps start your day right.  Anyway, you wanted to know how to clean a closet, so you don't need convincing! Are you asking yourself, "How should I start?" you aren't alone.  We ran a poll of top ranked TIDY Homekeepers recently to ask their tips.  These are some of their awesome pointers:


While some people recommend starting small, you should really pull everything out of your closet to start from a clean slate. While you're cleaning the closet, don't be afraid to pull everything out of your dressers too. You're going to put every item into 1 of 3 piles. There should be a keep, toss/trash and donate/sell pile. There should never be a pile for things you can't define. Take every item and analyze it. If you never wear it, put it into the trash or donate pile. Be ruthless in your sorting.

Any items that are dirty, torn, or ill-fitting should be put into the trash pile. If you haven't fixed or sewn them by now, you have to face reality. Unless you are fixing it right isn't going to happen. If you haven't worn it in 2 seasons (a bit over a year), then you should trash or donate it. An item that still has tags on it from 6 months ago should also go into the "donate or sell" pile. Subsidize your closet reorganization by selling clothes.  It's a "win-win".

Once you've analyzed everything with a critical eye, you may still have items that you can't part with.  Maybe its that dress you wore 4 years ago to a special event.  When it's time to learn how to clean a closet, it's ok to keep a few pieces that are cozy, soft or sentimental.  However, you should make sure you really get value now.  One technique is to say "Thank You" to the item.  This helps bring you closure to the process.  

In general, Homekeepers recommend being ruthless about tossing items from your messy closet.  Once you've tossed things, the next step is to organize.  There are 2 main ways that TIDY Homekeepers recommended organizing the closet.  This is by category or by color.


When you first moved into your closet, you intended it to stay organized.  Then, it became an unruly jungle. Generally the recommended categories are:

  • "Lower body" - Skirts, shorts, & pants
  • "Upper body" - shirts & blouses.  Shirts can be further grouped by season or style. Group long-sleeved shirts away from short-sleeved ones.


After the closet is organized by category, length and style, it can be organized by color. White and black should be the bookends for the color wheel. Start with red, orange, yellow and continue in the colors of the rainbow. There will be shades and tons of blue-green or gold, so use your best judgment about where the colors should fit on the color spectrum.


You might not have the space for items like jeans and sweaters. These can be folded and stacked neatly on shelves. Heavy sweaters are ideally folded, not hung anyway.  Sweaters can easily lose their shape. Organize jeans dark to light.  Fold sweaters by material with cashmere and fur on a separate shelf, so they don't get squished.


When learning how to clean out your closet, you can organize the items by season too. On this first foray into purging, you'll keep the season's clothes in the front. If it's summer, shorts and t-shirts should be in the forefront. The furthest season away should be the furthest from the front of the closet. When the season is over, the summer clothes can be plucked from the closet pole and shifted to the back of the closet.


While you're sorting and organizing, consider if you need more shelving units in your closet.  If you need more...add it.  But be careful.  Many people get elaborate closet organizing sets, only to not use them because they are complicated.  If you are noting the things you need, make sure to look for gaps in your wardrobe.  Look for gaps by occasion, season, and color. When learning how to clean a closet, it's about what you need as well as what you don't.


Most Homekeepers recommended cleaning and decluttering your closet every season. It'll be less scary when you can keep up with the organization instead of letting it get out of control. When I'm cleaning out my closet, I like to set time aside before the new season starts. I'll check to see if there are items I haven't worn all season before I slip that season to the back of the closet. Items that are torn, stained or ill-fitting will be tossed. The purge process begins again.

Don't be afraid to tackle your closet.  Getting that into a great state will save you time and stress every morning. You'll also be less likely to buy items that you don't need, because you'll know exactly what you have in your closet at all times.

Have you recently cleaned up your closet?  Any tips to share?

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