4 Steps to Clean Out Your Closet

December 10, 2021
The inside of a closet with purses on the top shelves.

It’s dark. It’s largely uncharted. Many of the inhabitants of its vast depths are unknown. That’s right, we’re talking about your closet. It’s easy to let closets get away from you. A stray clothing article thrown in there one day, a stack of papers the next, over time you can find yourself staring at a pile of clutter without remembering how any of it got there. If this sounds like your closet, then it might be time for a good closet clean out .

There are plenty of reasons to clean out your closet, from the sheer convenience of being able to find the things you’re looking for to having more space to store things. Cleaning out your closet can be tackled while cleaning the rest of your home. Here’s how to clean out your closet in four easy steps.

1. Pull out all items in your closet

You need to figure out what you’re working with. It can be challenging but the first thing you need to do is pull everything out of that closet and lay it out for inspection. Don’t worry, plenty of it is going to go right back in. You can streamline the process by organizing things as you take them out, keeping separate piles for things that are going back in, things that are going to be stored somewhere else, and things that are going to be thrown out or donated.

2. Sort clothing

Many closets suffer from overpopulation of clothing. It’s easy to wave a hand at all of it and say you’ll wear it all again at some point, but if that were true, you probably wouldn’t have lost so much of it in the depths of your closet. Have some bags on hand that you can mark as “throw out” or “donate” and fill them up accordingly as unneeded clothing articles emerge. You can neatly organize the clothing you plan to keep so that it’s ready to go back in once you’re done.

Here are some routes you can take with clothes you want to remove from your closet:

Donate old clothing

There are millions of people around the world that would appreciate your old clothing.1 Any clothing articles in a wearable condition you don’t like or just don’t need anymore can be donated to organizations such as Goodwill or the American Red Cross. These organizations help your unwanted belongings go to individuals in need. If you haven’t worn something in over a year, consider donating it to someone who could use it today.

Throw away damaged clothing

A huge reason you have a cluttered closet is all the forgotten items you don’t need.2 Throwing those things away is inevitable if you want to completely clean out your closet. Any clothing you dig up that is worn out or has significant holes or stains that can’t be repaired should be thrown out.

Keep quality clothing and accessories

One of the best parts about cleaning out your closet is rediscovering pieces of clothing and belongings you had forgotten about or lost but still love. Sometimes cleaning out your closet can reveal clothing that fills holes in your wardrobe, providing you valuable additions to your wardrobe.

3. Store clothing that’s not in season

The closet isn’t the only place you can store things. Clothing that isn’t in season can be stored elsewhere to make room for the current season’s wardrobe. That heavy winter coat is taking up valuable hanger space when there’s no way you’ll need it for months out of the year. Tuck these seasonal articles of clothing in plastic storage containers or vacuum-sealed bags and store them under your bed or in some other place that’s out of the way.

4. Organize your closet

These cleaning closet tips can be considered closet organizing tips. It’s all about making it easier to store and access the contents of your closet. Once you’ve finished separating the things you’ll keep from the things you’ll be getting rid of, it’s time to refocus on the things that are going back in. Try to find a system for organizing things such as by color or by function. Keeping work clothes in their own separate area, for example, can make your weekday mornings that much easier.

If you find that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t put any order to your closet space, then it might be time to consider making changes to the closet itself. Converting your closet into a walk-in closet can give you more space to put all the things you couldn’t part ways with or simply don’t have room for anywhere else in your home.

Ultimately, keeping a clean closet is about protecting your home and your possessions. A cluttered closet can cause damage to items that slip to the bottom of piles. The clutter can also hide things like mold from your sight, allowing it to grow undetected. Find out if homeowners insurance covers mold or discover other home decluttering tips.

1https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview, Accessed August 2021.
2https://pickupplease.org/7-organization-stats/, Accessed August 2021.

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