Tired of a messy closet making mornings stressful? Learn how to clean your closet in 10 steps to keep it clean for good.


A disorganized closet can make getting dressed a frustrating task. Whether it’s full of clothes that no longer fit, are out of season, or simply not your style, it can feel overwhelming to piece together outfits. There’s no better time than now to learn how to clean your closet. With these 10 tips for cleaning out your closet, you can keep it organized and reduce stress. 

1. Gather Organization Supplies

Before you start, gather these items to help you organize your closet.

  • Rags
  • A pail of cleaning solution (3 cups of warm water and a tablespoon of dish soap)
  • Vacuum
  • Dust mask
  • Trash bags
  • Three laundry baskets or boxes
  • Matching hangers
  • Marker or pen, paper, and tape
  • Hooks and pocket organizers for accessories

PRO TIP: You may want to wait to buy hooks or organizers until you have cleaned the closet and know what you need.

how to clean your closet - woman rearranging her wardrobe

2. Remove Everything From Your Closet

The best way to do the job right and be happy with the end result is to remove everything from the closet. This step ensures nothing gets missed, and you can clean every inch of the area. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your closet, you’ll want to wear a dust mask to avoid headaches or allergies. You’ll be amazed how much dust accumulates in a closet.

How do I keep my closet dust-free?

To reduce dust and create an orderly closet space, you’ll need to keep up with a cleaning schedule to keep dust away. Since dust settles horizontally, empty shelves and wipe them down at least once a month using a microfiber cloth. Wash any fabrics that may contain dust and leave shoes outside the closet to keep your belongings free of outside dirt.

3.  Clean Surfaces And Floors

Using your rag and warm water, wipe down the entire closet. Wipe down the walls from top to bottom and the shelves. Afterward, vacuum thoroughly. If your closet has hardwood flooring, sweep and wash the floor.

Related Article: How to Make a Dream DIY Dressing Room

4. Group And Sort Clothes, Shoes, And Accessories

In your bedroom, set up three sections using laundry baskets or bins for sorting items. The three sections are for: 

  1. Items you plan to keep.
  2. Items that need washing.
  3. Items to be donated.

Group jeans, dress pants, T-shirts, blouses, dresses, boots, and shoes into another area of the room. Sort accessories such as purses, backpacks, shoes, belts, scarves, or jewelry into one part of your room.

For any items that are stained or damaged beyond repair, toss them out. Only keep items you’ve worn regularly in the last year and items that closely match your current style. Let everything you haven’t worn recently be enjoyed by someone else.

how to clean your closet - Boxes with clothes for donation in home interior

5. Hang Up Or Fold Clothes You Will Keep

Using your new matching hangers, hang up items that are ready to go back into the closet. Organize by like-items and, if desired, go one step further and organize by color. Fold items if they are being placed on shelves or in drawers. Put away your shoes. You may need to put up a shoe rack or get clear plastic shoe containers to protect and stack shoes you wear less often. If you have room to sort by season, set up seasonal closet space in another room or store plastic bins in a local storage unit with monthly rentals.

How does Marie Kondo organize her closet?

Tidying expert Marie Kondo coined the term the KonMari method for keeping a tidy closet, where she recommends folding most clothes rather than hanging them. Marie Kondo recommends the Japanese folding closet method as it saves space in your closet. Items that can’t be folded can be hung in the closet, with the heaviest items to the left and the lightest to the right. 

6. Be Creative With Your Closet Space

Most closets and rooms can hold more than you might think, you just have to get a bit creative. Once your clothes are hung up, look around your closet. Do you have wall space for hooks? What about the back of a door? Hang hooks or pocket organizers on rods, walls, or doors for accessories.

You can hang scarves by snapping shower curtain rings around a hanger and looping scarves through the rings. Jewelry can be kept in clear pocket organizers. If you don’t have enough room in your closet for accessories, get creative and find space in a nearby bathroom or extra bedroom.

Related Article: Reclaim Your Closets: 17 Brilliant Hall Closet Organization Ideas

7. Do Your Laundry

At this point, you may have a pile of laundry to take care of. Wash all the clothes that need to be washed, and bring items that need to be dry-cleaned to the car. Try to tackle the laundry pile within 24 hours to finish the closet. Once all of the clothes are clean, if you don’t have room for them, go through the closet to get rid of a few more items.

8. Donate Items

Remove everything in your donate pile and take it to the car to be dropped off the next day at your favorite charity. If you have a friend or family member who could use the items, donate to them. Either way, remove the items sooner rather than later. Cleaning out a closet will make future decisions much easier. Being more organized will help you know what you actually need to buy going forward, and you’ll make fewer clothing mistakes.

how to clean your closet - Side view shot of a young Indonesian woman with a ponytail, organizing clothes inside her wardrobe

9. Try A Daily Clothing Chart

If you want to be more creative with what you wear and save money on your clothing budget, tape a piece of paper to the inside of your closet. Every day, jot down what you wear. You’ll not only start to be more creative with what you wear, but it will become clear what you wear the most often. If you find that you are not using everything in your closet, you’ll know what to keep and what can be given away. You can also keep notes of items you need to complete outfits, such as a new belt or scarf.

Related Article: 11 Innovative Clothes Storage Ideas When You Have No Closet

10. Stay Consistent

The best way to keep your closet organized is to stay committed to maintaining it. Clean closets need regular maintenance to stay organized and tidy. It’s good to do a seasonal clean-up two or three times a year to keep the dust down and the clutter at bay.

How often should you clean out your closet?

The best practice for a closet clean-out schedule is to clean every season, about four times yearly. As you prepare your closet for the next season, reassess the items you have. Clean out any dust that has accumulated and clean the floors. 

Cleaning out your closet can seem like a challenging task to take on. But, once you commit to learning how to clean your closet, keeping it clean will be a breeze. You’ll be so grateful you took the time to clean it up.

If you need extra space consider finding a Life Storage unit near you. Make loading and unloading your extra clothes even easier by renting a unit with convenient drive-up storage.

This post originally appeared on the Life Storage Blog on 12/14/15 and was revised on 11/22/20 & 7/18/23 to provide new information.

About the Authors

Kate Fann

Kate Fann is an established SEO content writer with 10 years of experience, taking a specialized focus on home-related content. She has a Master's of Marketing degree from Southern New Hampshire University and her work has been featured in publications such as Angi, Broadband Now, and Love What Matters. Kate takes a keen interest in all things home from design and decor to remodeling and cleaning hacks.

Melissa Michaels

Melissa Michaels is the author and creator of one of the top home decorating blogs on the web, The Inspired Room. She has been featured on such sites and publications as HGTV.com, Apartment Therapy, and Ladies Home Journal.

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