How to Clean and Organize a Closet

how-to-clean-and organize-a-closetI’m a season late, but the start of this summer seemed like as good of a time as any to clean and reorganize my disaster of a closet.

I’ve been fighting with my closet for awhile now. Having two babies in the last two years left my closet with a mismatch of maternity clothes, skinny clothes and post-baby clothes. Now that my baby girl is almost five months, it’s time for me to take control.

My closet has felt overwhelming for far too long. I took a tough love approach, with me and my closet, to make it more manageable.  I’m happy to say I now have a well-organized, and much cleaner closet. With my closet cleaning successes behind me, I wanted to share my tips on how to clean and organize a closet.

I recently read, “everything in your closet should promote joy, beauty and usefulness”. With this in mind, I share tips for how to clean and organize a closet. Follow these suggestions and you’ll stop feeling overwhelmed by your closet. You may even enjoy getting dressed in the morning.

Questions to Ask

I know it’s sometimes hard to part with your clothes and other material things. You need to be honest with yourself. No holds bard. You need to honestly look at your items and ask yourself if these items are right for you.

Would I buy this if I were shopping today?
Have I worn it in the last year?
Does it fit?
Is it flattering to my shape?
Do I feel good in it?
Is it likely I will wear it again?
Is it the image I want to project?

If you answered no to most or all of these questions, get rid of it. If you can’t part with it, then you might ask: Why am I holding onto this?

If you have kept a specific item for a long time without wearing it, you might have an emotional attachment to it, it might remind you of a good time in your life, or maybe it was just really expensive. If you think you might wear it down the road, then go ahead and keep it. If you are keeping it for purely emotional reasons, you might consider storing it away in a protected box. If you are holding onto it just because it was expensive but you don’t love it, then you should sell it on eBay, or to another high-end resale shop.

Create 5 Piles

As you go through each item in your closet, put each item in one of these five piles:

  1. Keep: you love this item, you feel confident in it, it flatters your figure, it’s a classic.
  2. Donate: you don’t want to keep it, but it’s not expensive or in good enough condition to sell.
  3. Sell: you don’t wear it, it doesn’t flatter you, or you don’t love it, but it’s still worth something of value.
  4. Trash: it is heavily worn, stained, ripped or torn. No one would want this item.
  5. Save: you are emotionally attached to this item, you can’t imagine not owning it anymore, but you don’t ever wear it or only wear it for special occasions.


There are many resale and consignment stores where you can sell items. A national example is Buffalo Exchange. In AZ and SoCal, I like using My Sister’s Closet. With consignment, you will generally receive 30-50% of the sale price of the item. If you are selling for cash, you tend to get less, but each store varies.

If you are looking for online resale options, there are many. Here are just a few I’ve seen:

Any Items: eBay
Clothing: thredUp; SnobSwap
Shoes, Accessories, Handbags: Yoogi’s Closet; Bag Borrow Or Steal; Fashionphile

Here are more online resale suggestions I’ve read about.


Don’t just junk your used items. If they are still in wearable condition, but not worthy of reselling, please consider donating them to a charity such as:

St. Vincent DePaul
Habitat for Humanity

Organizing Your Closet

Once you’ve figured out what items you are keeping, you should organize your closet into zones. There are a couple of great ways to organize:

By purpose: work, weekend, going out
By season: spring, summer, winter, fall
By item: jeans, slacks, dresses, skirts, sweaters, blouses, tops
By color: ROY G. BIV People.

I personally opt for a combination of these. I tend to organize by item, purpose and season. Jackets and sweaters always have a separate home from the rest of my clothing, for example.

Benefits of a Clean Closet

More Space: you can finally see all of the items in your closet
Save Money: you will find things you forgot you owned and stop buying duplicates
Save Time: you won’t have to wrestle through your closet each morning to find items and it won’t take nearly as long to decide what to wear when you only have items you love and that flatter you.

Other Resources

On weight fluctuations.

12 cool closet organizing tips.

6 more rules for deciding on what to keep.


  1. Recently I organized my closet and I am amazed how much space there is now! The post a is great! Thanks!

    1. Stacey Freeman says:

      Thanks Rebecca, I’m glad you liked the post! 🙂

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