How to Clean and Organize Your Closets in 4 Easy Steps

Closets are part of what we call “common areas” in that they are common to many rooms in our homes. They quickly and easily become dumping grounds for anything we want to hide. They are also places that we often forget to clean and purge. 
If you feel overwhelmed when you look in your closet, this article is for you. Let’s walk through the steps of a proper House Work style closet clean and purge.

1. Take it all out

Yes, all of it. You don’t have to do this every time you clean a closet, but it does need to be done once in a while for a proper purge and clean. Don’t attempt to do all of your closets in one day. For today, pick one closet. Empty it and put everything into a pile. 
Pro Tip: Do yourself a favor and put the pile on your bed (or any other clean, elevated surface). You’re going to have to go through each item individually, and this will save your back and knees.

2. Clean the closet

Now that everything is out of your closet, this is the perfect time to clean it. You can finally see the floors and walls that haven’t seen the light of day in months or years. And you will probably see a lot of dirt, dust and fingerprints. 

  • Grab your vacuum and vacuum every shelf and ledge. We work from top to bottom so that any dust disturbed on the top shelf will get sucked up when we get to the floor. Don’t forget the tops of door ledges, window sills, etc. You’ll also want to hit the top corners where the walls meet the ceiling. It’s easy for cobwebs and strands of dust to form here. Vacuum the floor last.
  • Next, we will wipe down the walls and shelves. (It’s amazing how many scuffs and marks are hiding behind shelves and clothing bars.) We recommend using our Water, Bleach and Tide recipe. In a bucket, mix ⅓ cup bleach*, 1tsp Powdered Tide, and about a gallon of HOT water. Again, work from the top down, left to right, and wipe down all the walls and shelves. (*Omit the bleach if your closet has carpet to avoid accidental stains!)
  • The last cleaning step is to deep clean your floors.
    • If they are laminate, hardwood, tile or linoleum, you can use a fresh batch of your water, bleach and tide mixture and a spin mop to mop the floors. (Omit the bleach if your floor is marble.) Let the floor dry and follow up with a quick vacuum to get any remaining dust or hairs that were missed. 
    • If your floors are carpeted, a good, slow vacuuming should suffice, and spot treat any stains using a pinch of powdered tide and some hot water.

3. Purge

The next and possibly most important step is to purge your closet. Pick up each item and decide if you want to keep, donate, or toss it. If you haven’t used it or worn it in 6 months or your kid has outgrown it, you should likely donate it. If it’s wrecked, throw it out. 

Group the items you want to keep into piles to make them easier to organize going back into your closet. I like to try most clothes on again to see if they still fit. Usually, I rediscover some long-lost favorites!

4. Put it back

It’s time to start putting your closet back together. Have a look and think about how you can best utilize your space. Of course, there’s always the option to have a total closet redesign and get custom organizers installed, but there’s a lot you can do to organize on a budget using a few clever items.

Off-season or less frequently used items can be kept on higher shelves in bins or baskets. You can utilize acrylic shelf dividers to keep your folded or rolled items organized and in neat stacks –measure your shelf first, please!

Have a lot of hanging space? Use velvet hangers to keep your clothes hanging nicely and save space. Shoe overload? Consider adding a shoe shelf to keep them contained.

Pro Tip: Put your hangers backwards as you organize your closet, and then after you wear something, put the hanger the proper way when you put it back. That way, when you go to organize your closet next time, you know what you’ve worn since the last time you purged.

Now the most challenging part is to stay organized. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by treating your closets like a dumping ground. Won’t it feel nice to be proud instead of Monica’s closet of shame on Friends?

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Grab The House Work Cleaning Guide

If you’re interested in cleaning your closets, it means you’re serious about keeping an organized home. (I mean, most people just cram stuff into their closets, close the door, and smile like everything’s okay. So, kudos for caring about the details.)Want to discover more cleaning techniques, processes and recipes? Grab a version of the House Work Cleaning Guide and get to work!

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