It’s about time we wrapped up our spring cleaning series and because we wanted to go out with a bang – we have decided to tackle one of the most requested areas in my home … my bedroom closet.
It’s an area that we’ve just managed but haven’t ever dedicated any real time to. And, as it turns out, many of you face the same problems I do when it comes to keeping this particular closet clean and organized. It seems like we have waaaay too much stuff, and not enough space, which has been an overarching theme of spring cleaning, it’s a continual reminder that I have too much stuff and I have got to slim it down. I know every time I go into my closet, it’s, an overwhelming experience. My closet ain’t a peaceful place.
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Now I’ll tell you upfront, this will take time. A couple of hours more than likely. But, you’ll be beaming with pride once you’re done and feel so much better. Also, there’s a special feeling you get when you donate items that you don’t need anymore. I always think that I’m going to miss something, or that I spent good money on it and maybe I should hang onto it a little longer, *just in case*. But, that just-in-case moment never arrives (and if it does, clearly my mind is changed). So I’ve learned over the years to part ways with items that don’t serve me anymore, and I let them go to others who can use and enjoy them. It also reminds me not to purchase crap that I’ll just end up donating. I mean, how much richer would I be today if I just said no to all the things I end up donating? Ok, let’s not get into that. But you know where I’m going with this.
Items You’ll Need
- laundry basket,
- a bag for donations,
- a bag for recycling (yep, more on that soon),
- a vacuum cleaner with brush and crevice attachments,
- a microfibre cloth,
- baking soda,
- closet organization tools (optional),
- a step stool, and
- a mop if your closet has a hardwood or tile flooring
Step 1 – Clear Your Closet
The first thing we’re going to do is clear absolutely everything out of the closet. Make sure you have a clear bed and a somewhat clean room to be able to accommodate the contents of your closet. If you think you’re going to run out of space, make some additional accommodations in your room, like a clear dresser, chair or clean space on your floor. You’re going to need it.
So, start going section by section and taking all garments out of the closet and placing them on your bed. Of course, I say this for two reasons. First, it’s a big flat surface that will help you organize your clothing, and second, you won’t be able to go to bed until this job is done (ha ha).
This part’s easy.
Step 2 – Clean Your Closet
This is indeed the actual physical cleaning of your closet, also fairly easy to do. You have a totally empty space, and now you just need to give it your magic touch. Closets rarely (if ever) get cleaned. If you wonder why your closet smells stuffy, it’s likely because it houses stale air and has carpet which hardly gets cleaned. You wouldn’t smell so great either. Now’s your chance to change that. So, kick this off by sprinkling some baking soda on the carpet, leave it for 15 minutes or so and that will help rid the carpet of odours.
While the baking soda is sitting, get your stepladder and climb up to the shelves you can’t reach by hand. Vacuum the shelves down and then spray and wipe with al-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Feel free to clean hanger rods too.
Then, finish off by vacuuming up the carpet and include the corners and baseboards. Much better!
If you want to keep your closet smelling great, make your own room deodorizer. Check out this blog post to learn how!
Step 3 – Sort The Clothing
OK deep breath here. You should know that this is probably going to be the longest, most grueling part of this job – but this is where the rubber meets the road – this is your opportunity to rid yourself with all sorts of clothes that are doing nothing more than clogging up your closet. I’m just being honest.
Let’s just have a quick pep talk about this. Your clothes just hang out in your closet, on a hanger that could be used for a piece of clothing that you actually wear. Imagine your clothing as tenants and you as the landlord (sadly, you just don’t get paid any rent in this scenario). You have limited space and only want the best tenants in your space (er, closet). So, if they are worthy tenants, keep them around. If they are noisy, needy, nagging tenants who are always late to pay, boot ’em. In other words, keep what you love and get rid of what you don’t. Just be honest. Here are some helpful guidelines:
- If it’s a piece of clothing you haven’t worn in 12 months, donate it..
- If it’s a piece of clothing you constantly pass over in the closet, donate it..
- If you bought it a year ago and haven’t gotten around to wearing it yet, donate it..
- If it fit you 2 summers ago, but it doesn’t right now, donate it..
donate it, donate it, donate it…your closet only needs to hold clothes you actually wear – if you don’t wear it, there’s no use of it being in your closet.
For clothes that you are keeping, but need to be washed – place them in your laundry basket.
If an item is damaged, soiled or otherwise ruined beyond repair (huge stain, rip, etc.), don’t donate it. When goods are sorted, even donation centres will toss something they don’t want and that just goes to the landfill. Consider making it into a rag (socks, underwear and tees are perfect for this), or a fun craft (if you are the crafty type). If neither of those appeal to you, head to your local pet shelter. They are always happy and willing to take old towels, blankets and useable clothing items (like tees and sweatshirts) because what little kitty or puppy wouldn’t love to snuggle up to something, anything soft? When we got our little black cat, Paislee, from a shelter, she was sleeping with rags like this.
OK, so you’re probably feeling pretty good right now, you’re more than halfway done at this point. Good on you!
Step 4 – Organize Items You’re Keeping
Now it’s time to get clothes that survived the past hour back into the closet and in anticipation of this step, I made a few small purchases to help better organize our closet space. I didn’t want to go crazy on the spending, because I’m trying to get RID of things, but there was merit in my purchase. Naturally, this is completely optional – but, here’s what I got:
I picked up some simple clothes boxes from Ikea which I’m going to use to store our sweaters and other winter clothing (hoping we won’t need them for a while, please and thanks Mother Nature).
I also purchased these cool Oxo Good Grips Expandable Drawer Dividers which I’m going to use to help better utilize the space in my top drawer.
And I got some cool hangers – one to hang ties, one to hang belts and another to hang blouses.
The way I replaced my items is as follows:
- Like items with like items, pair similar types of items together
- Colour code items – range from one end of the colour spectrum to the other, that can help you when trying to coordinate an outfit or look for a particular garment (if you want your merlot blouse, you’ll know exactly where to find it).
- Place items you don’t use as often out of the way, and items you wear frequently front and centre (my gowns are harder to reach, my jeans I could grab with my eyes shut).
I am not overly picky about having the same hangers, although I suppose it looks prettier. If you want to make your closet look totally pro, get the same hangers or colour code your hangers. We are indeed cycling out our old plastic hangers and will be using them in our basement for storage. Many folks try to hang their hangers in the same direction, and if you are particular about this it takes no extra time and does look neater.
This is amazing! I’m loving the results – my closet feels MUCH more relaxing to be in now. And I probably took about 30 garments to my local drop off box and I’ll be making a stop at Paislee’s pet shelter soon too.
My Secret For Getting Through Long-Haul Cleaning Jobs
To get through long haul cleaning jobs like this, I listened to an audiobook! I figure I may as well learn something while working, because honestly, it just helps get me through. So, because they’re awesome, Audible.com is offering the whole Clean My Space community a free audiobook and 30 day trial membership and access to over 150,000 titles. The link to visit is http://www.audible.com/cleanmyspace. I am a sucker for business books and for this task, I listened to Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work, by two of my favourite authors, Chip Heath and Dan Heath. I have been meaning to get to this book for some time now and it just hasn’t happened and it really helped pass the time for me while doing this closet. So consider this a little gift from Audible and me to you, get your free audiobook and start tackling your closet by visiting audible.com/cleanmyspace! #sponsored #ad
I think there are so many more things we can talk about when it comes to closet cleaning and organizing, I’ll have to create more videos and posts about this for sure. What do you do to clean and organize your closets? Tell me – I’d love to know!
If you’re looking for more tips and tricks to keep in mind when cleaning around the house check out our E-Book Bundle! It gives you access to our E-Books My 3-Wave Cleaning System, 50 DIY Cleaning Recipes, and The Complete Guide to Essential Oils!
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Where are your shoes?
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Just found this site. Wonderful ideas! As for the closet cleaning/organizing…I went through my closet and got rid of things I haven’t seen in awhile. When I was done, I did something different. Usually when you place your clothes back in the closet, you place the hanger on the rod from the front. What I decided to do, was put ALL of the hangers backwards. I wrote todays date in pencil on the wall just inside the door. As I wore the clothes, I replaced the hanger from the front. ONE COMPLETE YEAR from the date, I have gone through every season, party, work, play event…you name it. I can now see what clothes I have not worn in an entire year. Pull them off the hangers and give them away. Turn the hangers around and visit it again in one year. It has been liberating….
I have a jar of my daughters curls.
I have a box with newborn toys and security blankets from my kids when they were born! I hang on to them so I can give it to them when they grow up
Loved this, am a recent retiree & a lot of professional clothes went to a womans shelter, I turn my hangers backwards & when I wear some thing I replace it on a hanger facing the other direction so I can look in my closet in a year & know if it has not been used it needs to find a new home. Love this site.
Gotta love this! I always have some baking soda in my pantry, like always! And never did I ever use it for baking heehee 🙂 so useful, cheap, and efficient!
My chest of drawers has a smell from having been stored in an unheated garage for a year or so. I’ve had it for about 10 years and it still smells funky! I’ve cleaned it and put dryer sheets in the drawers, but it still stinks! What would you try now?
I love all your tips on cleaning especially the saving money part by using simple items like baking soda vinegar lemon etc etc thanks a bunch Flora in Arizona
I keep my first pair of baby shoes hanging in my closet too! How neat!
Thanks… I have several projects! Trying to get motivated and organized is another thing! Thanks for the inspiration!
I am your regular reader and like your blog very much. You always have the right advices which makes any cleaning job easier. This article helps me realize how much clothes that I don’t wear and even don’t like I still store. I followed your advice about the clothes I didn’t wear for 12 months and donate them so now I have more space in my closet and it looks more tidy. In addition I am able to see and reach the clothes I really like and wear. Thanks again for your advices and keep doing what you can do best- helping us be more clean and organized 🙂
Can you do a collaboration video about organizing with Alejandre?
Thank you, some very good advice 🙂
Hey melissa I absolutely love all your cleaning videos. I use your tips and tricks every time I clean. Also I love all your Eco friendly cleaning ideas like all the baking soda and vinegar uses . so I have a request for you could you please do a video on how to completely clean your car! Thanks
Hi Melissa, would you pls do a video on how to organize shoes & cosmetics? thanks much.
I noticed you don’t keep shoes or purses in your bedroom closet. Where do you keep them, and how would you address these items in a tiny bedroom closet? Thanks!!
Hi Melissa, I have emailed you two or three times asking for cleaning help ideas but have never heard back. how is that handled?
And my current question is at a Realtor as many sellers do not attempt or do not know how to clean their woodwork, cabinets, and wood molding, getting ready to sell their homes. Would you please address that? House cleaners do not attempt to clean these items and many folks (like myself) forget about that they too need cleaning.
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