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How To Clean And Organize Your Closet

As a pro (and a con) of my job, I have a TON of clothes, and sometimes, it’s easy to let them get out of control. Each year around this time, I start the long process of cleaning out my closets. During last year’s purge, I learned a few tips and tricks for cleaning and organizing my closet. I thought I would share that advice with you, as well as a few items that make the process easier.

How to Organize Your Closets

Have you heard of Marie Kondo? Her method is a game-changer. She has you take everything out of your closet and drawers and then go through them one by one. Ask yourself if each piece sparks joy, and if not, it goes in the giveaway, donate, or sell pile. Once you go through all your clothes and get rid of all the stuff you don’t wear and that doesn’t spark joy, you can start to rebuild your wardrobe into one you will love to wear.

I took her method and then tweaked it to fit my lifestyle and closet. Since this can be a loooong process, depending on the amount of clothing that you own, I recommend doing this when you have a good bit of time to spend. You don’t want to be rushed. The doldrums of winter is a great time to start this project, and once spring weather hits, you’ll be glad that you did.

Step 1: Empty Out Your Closet

You need to begin the process by taking everything out of your closet and starting over with only things that you truly love. Removing anything that is damaged, out of style, or didn’t fit well, is a good start, but I found that I was overlooking or saving things for “just in case.” This is why I recommend removing everything and evaluating every single piece.

Step 2: Try Everything On

Try on anything you haven’t worn recently. I have lots of jeans that I haven’t worn in a while, clothing that is for events, and items that I love and am keeping just in case I lose weight. Try everything on, and if it doesn’t fit, then it doesn’t need to go back in the closet. That is a huge waste of closet space! If you are sure you’ll be able to fit in the clothing in a few months, put it aside, but only for the time frame set. At the end of time, if it still doesn’t fit, it is time to let it go.

Step 3: Sort Each Item into Four Piles

It can be hard to decide what to do with all of the clothes, so I suggest putting them in 4 piles.

  • LOVE IT: If it fits and you love it and could see yourself wearing it right now, then hang it back in your closet.
  • MAYBE: These are all the items that might be off for many reasons. Maybe it is the fit, the color washes you out, or someone gave it to you, and you hate to get rid of it. Put it in a box and store it. If you don’t find yourself wanting it before the end of the season, it’s time to donate it and let someone else enjoy it.
  • HATE IT: These are the donate or sell items. If it makes you feel better, you can use the proceeds to fund a new wardrobe.
  • SEASONAL: If it’s not in season, but you LOVE IT, and it fits, then put it in a box and store it so you can add it to your wardrobe when the proper season rolls around.

I realize not everyone has seasonal wardrobes, and that is fine. If you prefer to keep all of your clothes in your closet all year round, go for it. I like to keep my summer tanks and some summer tops in my closet all year round since I can wear them under sweaters and cardigans. However, I recommend putting away things that are not in season and that you won’t be wearing for several months. It’s so much easier to get dressed when you’ve reduced your closet to only truly viable options.

It may seem wasteful to give away perfectly good clothing, and some people have a hard time with the purging process, but I look at it this way. It’s not a waste if it blesses someone who needs it.

Step 4: Assess what’s left in your closet

After the initial purge, you may want to live with your clothes for a little while before shopping for new pieces. You will want to see what works and what items you are missing before you start to rebuild your new wardrobe.

Shop for any items you need to complete your wardrobe. Make a list and shop intentionally.

Look at your lifestyle and take it into account. Maybe you work from home now or are retired, and you need less workwear. Maybe you go to a lot of functions for a charity or your church and therefore need some dressier items.

Step 5: Organize!

After your purge, you need to organize what’s left so you can find everything with ease when you go to put an outfit together. I’m including some of the organizational tools I picked up to help keep my closet straight and tidy.

Items I Use to Organize My Closet:

1. Hangers

While I was going through my clothing, I also took the time to access my hangers. Some were broken, some were plastic, and some were the ones that came from the store when I purchased the item. I decided to buy new hangers, so everything looked neater, and I love the velvet kind since they don’t make pucker marks on your clothing. I bought hangers for tops and dresses, and hangers with clips for pants, shorts, and skirts.

2. Clear Shelf Dividers Are Helpful to Organize Your Closet

I ran across the issue of the shelves starting to look disheveled once the clothing is pulled in and out, so I ordered these clear shelf dividers to keep everything in its place. I love these since they are sturdy, and I use them to organize my handbags since some don’t stand upright on their own. I’ve also used these for some of my sweaters that are on a shelf. They do a great job keeping everything separate.

3. Shoe Stacker Space Saver

I have a lot of shoes, and our new house didn’t have any built-in shoe storage, so I ordered this shoe slot organizer. They are alright, and they work okay, but they aren’t very sturdy. I’m still looking for a better solution since these didn’t provide the amount of storage I needed. I told Joe he needed to build me a bigger closet, and I bet you can imagine his response. Lol!

4. Baseball Hat Hanging Closet Organizer

This hanging cap organizer that you place onto a clothes hanger is the perfect way to keep your collection of ball caps neat and organized. Joe doesn’t wear a lot of baseball caps, but he does have a lot of golf hats, so this is perfect. I’ve used one to hang scarves, and it works well for that also.

5. Storage Containers, 6 Pack

If you live in a place with four seasons and have a lot of seasonal clothing, these storage bins are wonderful for storing your sweaters in the summer and your sundresses and swimsuits throughout the winter. I like how you can see what is inside each bin, and how your clothing, etc., doesn’t get dusty. I have these, and I’ve stored summer pants and tops in them. I used to put my seasonal clothing in large vacuum bags (Don’t compress them, the wrinkles will take forever to come out) and store them under my bed.

6. Undergarment Organizer

If you’ve ever had an underwear drawer, you know how quickly it can turn into a giant mess! Keep your undergarment drawer organized using these fabric storage bins. You can use these for anything you want, not just undergarments.

7. Belt Organizer

The best way to keep your closet tidy and organized is to make sure everything has a place, and that includes your belts. I love this belt organizer, and it’s under $6!

8. Under the Bed Shoe and Boot Organizer

If you have limited shoe storage like I do, you need to grab a pack of these under-the-bed shoe organizers for your seasonal shoes. I keep all of my sandals out of my closet in the winter, and I store all of my boots during the hot summer weather. These work out perfectly, and I’m not worried about spiders taking up residence in my shoes.

9. Hanging Purse Storage

I love displaying my favorite purses on a shelf using the clear shelf dividers. If you have a handbag addiction and change out your bag as often as I do, but you don’t have a shelf to store them, this hanging purse organizer is great!

Shop More Finds For How To Organize Your Closet:

Let me know if you are going to clean and organize your closet this year.

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53 Comments

  1. Natalie K says:

    It may not be as through as taking everything out of your closet but being disabled it’s certainly more doable to take 15 to 20 minutes daily to try on a few things in your closet. Just start from one side and work your way to the end!! You’ll get there!!! Do this with accessories as well!! Everything can be done this way!! You will make progress! Hope this really helps someone as it has me!!!

  2. Donna-Jane says:

    Good Job Tania! I saved a couple of the links ~ I’ve Marie Kondo-ed my clothes a few times but my closet still looks disorganized. I’m going to order the acrylic dividers for sure and I have already ordered the cubes, found them very helpful. Thank you!

  3. Diane Ward says:

    I have a very full closet that I need to reorganize. My big hurdle is getting rid of my deceased husband’s clothes. He died in 2018 and I have avoided dealing with his clothes and other personal effects. I am embarrassed to admit that. I am starting to think how nice it would be to have a closet I can use again, even if it’s very hard to go through his things.

    1. Oh, Diane! I am so sorry. I remember when Joe and his sister had to do this with his mother’s things. It helped them to clear things out when they donated it to those who could use it. They didn’t want to sell anything, but let those in need have them.

  4. Mary Carol says:

    I really need to organize my closet but I don’t know if I have the energy for it. Thank you for all the suggestions.

  5. I started using velvet hangers towards the end of last year and really like them. I have the storage bags for sweaters and other than everything is in my closet. I’m going to go through everything with the love it or let it go idea!

  6. Carol Deeb says:

    I am wondering how these velvet Pant hangers work. How do you get them off the rod without pulling everything else down with them?

    1. I use the individual pants hangers, not the one that has multiple slots. I would assume that you would have to pull the pant up, and then smooth back down any that tried to come out also.

  7. Amy Giacomini says:

    Love the hanging purse organizer

  8. Judy Adante says:

    Great tips. My closet is in desperate need of an edit. Reading your article has given me the motivation to get started!

  9. Yes! We downsized a few years ago to a small bungalow with less closet space. I have being periodically reorganizing in the hopes of gaining better functional space but realize I need to face the reality that I have not purged enough and it is frustrating trying to find things. I think I’ll feel a lot better when I do!

  10. Thanks for the organizing ideas. I’m liking the belt hanger and the cap hanger. l also store out of season clothes in bins.

  11. Laura Warhol says:

    I have 3 closets I need to organize. These are great ideas and recommendations for items to help keep it organized.

  12. sue koren says:

    I love those velvet hangers – plus my tank tops don’t fall off the hangers any more!

  13. Lynda Brown says:

    Oh my, I’ve been meaning to do this since 1975. I have all the recommended organizers. This will be my full-time job till mid March. “Goodbye cruel world!”😂😯😲

    1. Lol! That made me snicker.

  14. Ginger Hiller says:

    My closet is not big enough for me to leave all of my clothes in it, so my out of season clothes are stored in big plastic containers that I put up in the attic. All of my shoes are kept in good plastic shoe containers, so they’re easy to see and remain tidy in my closet. I am getting to the point where I only want to wear my signature colors and a few neutrals that don’t wash me out, so I need to do some weeding out.

  15. I desperately need to do this. Time and motivation are my problem so far…..lol! Happy New Year!

  16. I love the clear shelf separators very helpful idea.

  17. Thanks for the closet advice. I always struggle with my closet. I usually have 1-2 different sizes in my closet. This article is making me want to purge my closet.

  18. thank you again for these helpful hints on cleaning out your closet. It gets easier each time I do it haha

  19. Jenniffer Groski says:

    This post speaks to my Type A heart!! I love closet clean out days. It feels so good to purge, pay it forward by giving it away and just declutter.

  20. Janice Nagle says:

    I’m now working on purging my wardrobe. everything is out of the my closet and in a spare bedroom. I’m ready to put seasonal clothing away. I used your link to buy hangers for various types of clothing through your links. thanks for these ideas!

  21. Wonderful ideas. It’s time I sent a lot of my clothes to the curb!

  22. Janice Nagle says:

    Thank you for this! I already have everything out and have slowly been purging. I’m right at the place to begin organizing seasonal clothing. I
    used your links to buy a few hangers for different items I have!

  23. Karen Daniel says:

    I just ordered the clothes storage bins. I am constantly organizing and cleaning out my closet. I did a big clean out recently and now I find one or two pieces to give away every week or so; this method works for me.

  24. This is an awesome post!! My granddaughter and I were just talking about organizing our closets. I’ll have to share this with her. ❤️

  25. Good post. My closet is pretty organized. I’ve been using the velvet hangers for years. The only thing I need is to figure out how to store my booties and boots. I keep them in the original box on the top shelf of my closet. I don’t want anything hanging because it will take up hanging space. If you find something let me know on one of your Amazon posts.

  26. Wow! What a relevant, fun, and timely post! Seriously thinking about doing this and flagging this post!

    Happy New Year! 🎉🩵

  27. What a great way to start out the New Year! I have a small shared space closet and the slim velvet hangers are a game changer! Also, I just recently purchased the shoe stacker organizer and I absolutely love it. Thanks again!

  28. Thanks for all your hard work. Now I know I need to organize my closet and shop more intentionally.

  29. My closet needs to be cleaned out, how did you know 😉 I ordered the under bed shoe storage.

  30. Kathy Ambrosi says:

    enjoyed thr closet ideas. I picked up a few last year. I put two of your suggestions in my Amazon order today. thank you

  31. Good reminder!!! I need to start this project.

  32. Great tips! Thank you!

  33. Sunny Walker says:

    great article! looking forward to organizing my closet this new year with some of the cool tools you shared!

  34. Bonnie Sokoloski says:

    I’m going to get busy, tomorrow, lol!

    1. Bonnie, you know tomorrow never comes. 🤣🤣🤣

  35. Wow! I had no idea about the shoe organizer! I already discovered the clothes hangers and they made such a difference. Thank you for all you do!

    1. I love those hangers. I’ve used them for years.

  36. This is a great and timely post!
    I have used the shelf dividers for my handbags for years-they really keep things neat. Another thing I do to save space is to put my smaller bags inside the larger bags. One large tote can easily hold 4 or 5 smaller bags.
    Kudos to you and Joe for staying up to watch the ball and share a smooch. I arise at 4 am so I was in bed by 10:00.

    1. Goodness, I get up at 6:30, and usually go back to bed until 8. 😳

  37. Yes this is a must to not have closet overflow! But, I still end up keeping too much. I love clothes!

  38. Yes, a closet clean out is at the top of my to do list!! Thanks for all the great ideas and suggestions.

  39. Donna Ingalls says:

    Happy new year, everyone.
    Some really good closet organizing ideas in your blog. I just finished cleaning out my closet. I really don’t think a woman can ever have a big enough closet.
    I love having all velvet hangers. Makes my closet look very uniform and the shoulders on my clothes hang smoothly. I’m not a fan of the purse holders though. I feel like they take up valuable closet space. Haven’t found a good alternative though. I’m still looking.

    1. Those holders do take up a lot of space, that’s why I like the dividers.

  40. Alicia Wilson says:

    Thank you… great ideas. Happy New Year

  41. Thanks for the organizing tips and products. My closet is overstuffed and in need of a clean out. You are right, you need a good block of time to do it.

  42. What a great post! Thank you for all the helpful links! Several years ago, I invested a lot of time inputting my entire wardrobe, except jewelry, outerwear, underwear, and pajamas, into the Stylebook app on my iPad. Every clothing item, shoe, belt, and scarf is photographed and categorized. My outfits are also categorized and entered into the calendar. It was fun to do, and it really helps me getting dressed for work especially. The app gives stats on most/least worn, $/wear for each item, color, size, etc. When I get a new item, I take its photo an enter its data (cost, brand, color(s), size, notes, etc.). My family calls it “Mom’s video game,” and I love it!

    1. Wow that’s a Great Idea! I am always working on my closet because we have four seasons where I live.