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HOW TO CLEAN AND ORGANIZE YOUR CLOSET

Around this time last year, we were moving into our new house. In preparation for the move, I decided to deep clean and thoroughly organize my 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. 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 are 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!

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 do 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 so 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

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.

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 these. They are alright, and they do work. But, I’m still looking for a better solution since they didn’t provide the amount of storage I need.

4. Baseball Hat Hanging Organizer

This hanging 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.

5. Storage Containers, 6 Pack

If you live in a place with four seasons and have a lot of seasonal clothing, these 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.

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.

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.

9. Hanging Purse Storage

I love displaying my favorite purses on a shelf, but if you have a handbag addiction and change out your bag often as I do, this hanging purse organizer is great!

Shop More Closet Organization:

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

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Verse of the day

John 10:7

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.

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133 Comments

  1. I had no idea there were so many ways, or items, to help one organize their wardrobe! Of course, I will need to buy a wardrobe first! I’ve been purging, donating and organizing…soon there will be shopping. Very informative.

  2. Hi Tania, my brother was born on my fourth birthday. I also have two friends who have the same birthday as me. Makes the day very special.

  3. Hi, this article spurred me to get going and reorganize my closet. Thanks for the inspiration!
    K. Ziegler

  4. I love, love, love the storage organizing tips. Question on the velvet hangers – do you have issues with the velvet rubbing off on your clothes? I bought a pack from BB&B years ago and I always had black on the inside of my shirts. Thanks!

    1. Jenn, I’ve been using these black velvet hangers for years, and I’ve never had an issue. I worried about that too when I first ordered black.

  5. I have so many clothes, I feel like it would take me two full days to empty my closet, and go through every single piece! I have, however, use the Marie Kondo method of asking if an article brings me joy. I have purged a lot of clothes that way, giving most of the articles away and blessing someone else who may need it. I plan on taking inventory of my closet at the end of this season, and doing that at the end of every season. Thanks for your helpful organizational tips. I am using most of them!

  6. It was fun to read this post and realize I already implement some of your ideas!
    Also, I was born on my grandmother’s and my uncle’s birthday😊

  7. Yes, organizing my closet is one of my goals for this year. It is a large looming task that I have been putting off but I am determined to get it done. I plan to use your strategy. thanks

    1. I love this article! I’m in the process of cleaning out my clothes (lost weight, so changing sizes) so I will definitely use some of your suggestions!
      Thanks!

  8. My daughter had just suggested using sweater dividers over Christmas. I plan on ordering the ones you’re using Thanks and HB to your mom 🎂

  9. I’ve been purging lately, thanks for the tips.
    today is my daughter’s birthday as well. 🎉 happy birthday to your mom. ☺️

  10. There’s nothing I like better than organization. Purging my clothes is a totally different thing. As soon as I take it away I’ll need it. That’s my mind set anyway.

  11. I’ve used those type of hangers for years. I purchased mine on HSN. I love the organization tips. I plan on organizing my bedroom closet and my sewing/craft room. I like the shelf dividers and the under bed shoe/boot storage. I put them in my Amazon cart. Thanks for all the great ideas. I really like what you said about blessing others with my giveaway clothing. I have so much in my closet that I don’t wear now due to weight gain and are practically like new. I always want to keep them cuz I hope to lose the weight (I will this year–I swear!) but also know that I will want to purchase new clothing. That makes me feel better about giving them away. Thanks for all the great ideas

  12. Thanks for the closet inspiration! Great ideas. I switched to velvet hangers a year ago. Love them!!

  13. I switched to velvet hangers during the summer. I’ve been in the habit of going through my closet periodically and taking out clothes that no longer suit my needs or don’t fit well or that I don’t enjoy wearing, and have donated PILES to our local charity. Currently, I keep the current season’s clothing in a small section of my closet, leaving the rest of the closet for off season clothes and multi-seasonal things (and those that I just can’t get rid of…). During the summer, as I wore and cleaned my garments, I would hang them on the new velvet hangers. At the end of the summer, I could see at a glance what I hadn’t worn. I was able to donate (or throw away) some of those unworn items. This coming April, when I put my summer clothes back into the seasonal hanging space, I’ll know what I didn’t wear last summer, and I’ll have to take an even harder look at them when I make the switch to fall clothes. I’m currently doing the same thing with my cooler weather clothing. Yes, it’s a slow way to purge, but so far, it’s working for me, making me take notice of what I’m not wearing. EVERYTHING should be on velvet hangers within a year, or so…

  14. I put all my tops together by color, same with dresses, jackets, and pants. This helps me shop by color in my closet.

  15. Hi Tania,
    I may have missed this, but could you show us your closet?? Just curious. I have so many shoes and purses, and so do you. I just can’t imagine how much room you have if you are using these items to store them. I am thinking about using the closet in my guest room upstairs to store my purses so I can neatly store all my shoes using the Shoe Slots.

  16. Lots of good tips. I need those garment bags and will order. My issue with the velvet hangers, is that yes they keep the clothes on the hangers, but they are difficult to put ON the hanger, the clothes stick to the velvet.

  17. As an idea for where to bring clothing no longer needed, check with your local women’s shelter. They are often in need of clothing and other items to help women set up new homes and lives.

  18. I have so many purses and will have to give that hanging purse organizer a try. I have two sisters born on the same day, 7 years apart.

  19. Happy Birthday to your Mom!! Beautiful photo. I miss my Dear Mama so much.
    Yes, it’s time to organize my closet. I actually cleaned out the floor of my closet before Christmas and now I’m able to walk in it.
    Marie Kondo is a wise woman…I have tried to follow her… but Fung Shei principles suggest never storing anything under your bed.

  20. My mother and youngest son were both born on April Fool’s day!

    Love the organization tools. I need those shelf dividers!

  21. Love these tips! I do have 2 children born on the same day 7 years apart. My oldest said his best Birthday gift was getting his baby brother on his 7th birthday. This year they turned 29 and 22. They now have LOTS of fun celebrating. Especially on my younger son’s 21st birthday!

  22. Wishing your mom a “happy birthday”. I also use the black velvet hangers and love them. I’m working on organizing my sewing/craft room today, but will start my side of the closet next week. Thanks for the post I’m sure I will have to purchase a few items.

  23. My brother and I have the same birthdays at the same hour 6 years apart. Says something about my mom🤗

  24. Great suggestions and thank you sharing the links . Was just in the process of thinking about organizing my closet.
    You did all my searching for products in one blog so helpful . As always enjoyed reading and seeing the great picture of you and your mom !

  25. I put a few of the organizer item in my cart you talked on. Now just to find the time to do a clean out and purge!!

  26. Boy do I ever need to purge! I am going to try my best to do this project this year. Thanks for the tips.

  27. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! When my mother passed, my husband and I took over her house. This required that we downsize from our 5 bedroom house and move into her three bedroom house. Both houses were full of stuff. We purged as much as I could bear to and I gave everything that was left to prove that we should keep them. That year is now up and my plan is to go room to room pulling everything out and getting rid of everything that isn’t being used. You’ve now given me some great ideas on how to organize what’s left.

  28. I already commented, but I forgot to say my husband and our youngest grandson share a birthday. We call them Birthday Buddies! 🙂

  29. Happy birthday to your wonderful mom – she’s such a cutie! And y’all are adorable in your scarecrow costumes!!

  30. I just ordered the storage containers, I also have the tank top hangers they really work.
    You asked about sibling birthdays, my mother and her brother had birthdays on the same day, two yrs apart.

  31. I only use the velvet hangars in my closet also, but when hanging blouses and tops I ususually layer the coordinating cami under it. Saves space and time!

  32. Great suggestions and I need to get with it more. I’m more of a “get rid of it a little at a time” person. Purging is so hard even with Marie Kondo’s way!

  33. Thank you for this post! It spoke to me especially as I work from home and for some reason have hung onto my entire office wardrobe! I’m going to use your tips ASAP.

  34. Thank you Tania, for reconfirming I need to do this! It’s been on my mind, but I haven’t initiated the start yet. I have multiple closets and a large dresser, so this will take some time. I think dividing it up will make the task easier. I do love organization, feels good and looks good!

  35. Good tips, I recently cleaned out my closet and it is so much easier to get dressed now! I’m going to get the ball hat organizer for my husband. He is only without a hat while in bed or in the shower!!

  36. This post came at the perfect time! We have begun purging our closets and your tips really help. I ordered the shelf dividers and plan to use them to organize my purses and keep my stacks of sweaters neater.

  37. First I want to say that I love your blogs. My husband and I moved almost 2 years ago after living in our previous house for 35 years. Talk about a purge!! I swear I got rid of 1/2 of the things I had in my house including my closet. I think it is so cathartic. The hardest part was getting started. Then once we moved in I went through my new house and purged again. Thank you for sharing your tips!

  38. yes, I will be organizing my closet again this year. some things need another look. great ideas for storage.

  39. My older brother and me shared the same birthday of Nov. 2, 10 years apart. Mom always baked 2 cakes, his favorite, German chocolate and mine, angel food. In my heart it was always better than Christmas. I surely miss them both.

  40. You’ve inspired me to do a complete purge and organization of my closet. Since I’ve stopped working I have so many suits and dress clothes that I have been donating slowly to Dress For Success. Great organization. Thanks for the tips.

  41. I love having all 1 kind of hangers! That makes a closet look so much better. Also I hang my clothes all facing the same direction & I love that. My favorite organization tip is sorting clothes by color. All my blues together, reds together, white together etc. That way I don’t have to hunt thru the whole closet, just 1 section as long as I know what color I’m after. This saves tons of time!

  42. This post is so timely for me. My closet purge is happening soon. I do always feel guilty getting rid of clothes (all the $, although I’m a huge thrift store fan) but I love your idea of it blessing someone else. Thanks for that!

  43. My brother was born May 23 1947. I was born May 23 1955 and my youngest sister was born May 23 1961. We had a LOT of birthday cake on our birthdays!

  44. I’m retiring soon and I’m anxious to get things out of my closet that I will no longer need. I’m ordering the stacking storage bins and they’re an additional 40% on Amazon! Love a good deal!
    Thank you for the inspiration, Tania.

  45. Yes I plan to clean out my closet in the next few weeks as you mentioned during the doldrums is always a good time.

    I work from home and really do lead a very casual life- mostly sporting events and the occasional casual lunch or dinner.

    I just can’t seem to find tune my wardrobe- I know you always work from home but I do remember reading you wear jeans most of the time so can you give us a sample of your daily/ weekly wardrobe?

  46. I love all your tips about cleaning out our closets and determining what to keep and discard. I like the idea if not sure, to put in a box and then if not worn in a year to discard. I’m always working on how to organize my clothes in the closet – sleeves, sleeveless, colors, etc..
    Thanks again for the great tipis!!!!

  47. Thanks for the great selection of products out there to help organize various items. You’re right about taking enough time to go through the process. You’ll be more satisfied with end results when you take the time and aren’t rushed.

  48. Love all the organization suggestions. I have a small closet and I also have to purge and storage for seasonal clothes. When I purge my closet,I flip the hangers to face the back so that at the end of that season if I have not flipped it to the front I have not worn it and do not need it and helps with the purge.

  49. I’ve been cleaning out my closet but never quite finish. It’s so overwhelming. But, these tips are quite helpful. Can’t wait to try them!

  50. Thank you for sharing all the great organizing items. I’m in the process of getting rid of clothes I’ve hung on to for far too long.

  51. I think that purse organizer is great! I’d change my purse more often if I didn’t have to dig in the back of my closet!!

  52. Hi my youngest son and father in law share the same birthday, Nov. 2; my nieces son and her Dad share the same birthday, in Dec; and my oldest son and cousin James share the same birthday, Sept 29.

    Thanks

  53. Great tips! This is my goal for this year. Thanks for the storage suggestions. I have my shoes and bags organized- on to the rest!

  54. I have been in the process of purging my closet and you have given me some more storage tips. Thanks.

  55. Great post!! Already have some items in my cart. Thank you for the inspirational post to get me moving and clean out my closet! 😊

  56. Forgot about Marie Kondo, need to find her book in my mess that I am now inspired by you to clean out! Thank you for all of the ideas for organization and my closet will thank you!

  57. I absolutely LOVE this post. I have only one closet to keep most of my clothes (all seasons) in. Thank you for all of the organizer ideas. I love the shelf dividers. I use them for my shirts, sweaters and sweatshirts.
    Thanks again❤️

  58. Great suggestions for storage. I need to do some clearing out for sure.
    The photo of you and your mom as scarecrows is so cute.

  59. Tania, Thanks for the organization tips. They will be of great help.
    Happy birthday to your MOM, AUNT and DIL MOM. I have a something very similar. My SISTER, NEPHEW (her son) and my TWIN DAUGHTERS are all born on the same day… APRIL 1st.
    It’s really a lot of fun celebrating ALL of their birthdays together!!!!

  60. Great idea for purging the wardrobe. It makes sense to empty the space and start from scratch. I have a difficult time deciding what should go so I think taking a selfie in the outfit and seeing it from another perspective might help me with the decision. ☺️

  61. I just ordered the velvet hangers in rose gold, now I’m excited to purge and organize! Thank you for great tips and products!

  62. I love your daily blog and todays was right on target! I’m in the process of purging in preparation for putting our house on the market. I’m not a saver, but in 17 years you do accumulate some stuff!

  63. I definitely need to clean out my closet and I love all of these ideas and products. I think I need a few of them.

  64. I’m curious to know how you store the winter sweaters that you are wearing now. I hang my cardigans on velvet hangers, but not sure what to do with other sweaters. I have very little drawer space and a small closet so no room to hang those sweaters, too.

  65. Love the purse holder!
    Great ideas to create closet space and be organized! I have several of these great solutions already, but just ordered the hanging purse holder! I am very excited to be able to see my purses at a glance! Thank you Tania! Love your posts and daily scriptures! Hope you have a wonderful day! Darling picture of you and your Mother!

  66. Thank you so much for the tips! I never realized there were so many different products to assist with closet organization. I will be starting this today🙂. My only hesitation is the reality that I have gained weight, know the clothes don’t fit properly but love them. Maybe I’ll do a separate pile for those and it will be a motivator for me!
    Happy birthday to your beautiful mom! May her day be filled with love.

  67. Happy birthday to your mom!! I love the picture! Thanks for the inspiration and tools for getting organized. I love all your posts!

  68. I love the baseball hat organizer, not for myself of course but for the husband. I just purchased one not too long ago.

  69. I did the Marie Kondo “closet and drawer shape up” a few years ago and LOVE how it keeps me organized! The shoe stacked looks interesting- just added it to my cart.
    Would love to hear how you organize jewelry too.

  70. love this closets ideas. I ordered the shoe storage, waiting for it to arrive.
    thank you for all your helpful guidance.

    i love your posts

  71. I am definitely going to clean and organize my closet. I have so many cloths, most of them I don’t wear and are out of style but I was keeping them for “just in case” . I can’t wait to use your tips, my husband will be so happy 😁

  72. Thank you for this post! Valuable information I needed. We downsized five years ago and it has become a struggle keeping everything neat and organized. I will be putting your suggestions to good use.

  73. I am in the process of purging and organizing. I purged a lot before we moved to North Carolina after we retired. A year later I am purging and organizing again. I am doing it by category. Yesterday I took out all my sweaters, except cardigans, and leggings. I have a large bag to donate. Next will be jeans and corduroy pants. Then cardigans, etc. if I try to do it all at once, I lose interest and am not as thoughtful. It is hard to get rid of clothes I like, that fit, but I no longer need in retirement. I do have some of your organon suggestions and love them.

  74. Thank you so much for all the helpful tips and organizing ideas for our closets. Happy Birthday to your mom. 🎂 🎈🌸 None of us were born on the same day.

  75. Thanks – love the undergarment organizer – my drawer stays a mess. How do you organize your scraves? Appreciate you and enjoy your blog!

  76. Happy Birthday to all the ladies in your life. We just celebrated our mother’s 100th. We need to celebrate them every day!

  77. I love the idea of purging the closet. I have a lot of clothes. I am going to look into the closet organizers and drawer organizers. My sock drawer is a mess.

  78. Love these tips. Even though I know I need to go through and weed out my wardrobe now and then, I love the storage examples you gave! It’s hard to get rid of perfectly good clothes that I just don’t wear anymore and I have way too much anyway. Thanks for the reminders!