How To Deep Clean Your Closet

updated May 4, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

With the change of seasons comes a change of clothes. But before you head to the stores to buy something new, give your old wardrobe a fighting chance. Which means it’s time to put some waders on, dive in, and clean out your closet. I know it’s not high up there on your list of fun times, but it’s a necessary evil that must be done. Go forth young fashion pilgrim and make us proud.

1. Put on Some Music: This is no time for Adele. Choose upbeat music and get yourself in a happy frame of mind. I highly recommend Cambria’s playlist over on The Kitchn. She created it for kitchen cleaning, but it certainly translates. Dance if you must.

2. Take Everything Out of the Closet: Yep. Everything. Otherwise it’s too easy to ignore those things buried deep in the back or deep in the drawer. Pile everything on the bed. Borrow a forklift if you have to.

3. Ask Yourself These Hard Questions: One by one, go through and ask the tough stuff about each article of clothing. It’s decision time:

  • Is this shirt/skirt/dress in good shape? If it’s ripped, worn through, or has a broken zipper, toss it aside in the discard pile.
  • Have I worn it in the past year? Hopefully you follow this excellent household tip and this process is easy. If you haven’t touched it in a year, you won’t wear it this upcoming year either. Let it go.
  • Is this really my style? We’ve all made errors in judgement. That neon baby doll dress you bought when your friend told you it looked good, but you never actually wore? You know it’s bad, so get rid of it.
  • Does it fit me and/or is it comfortable? Closet space is too precious to hang onto items that you might never wear again in your lifetime. Try stuff on and see how they feel. If those pants feel tight, or a shirt is no longer your size, then say goodbye.

4. Clean: Take advantage of the empty space by giving your closet a good wipe down. Get rid of dust on any shelves and vacuum the floor. This is also a good time to restock any cedar to deter moths from destroying your favorite cashmere sweater.

5. Sort Your Discarded Clothing: Once you have a big pile of rejects, go through everything and organize it into three categories: toss, sell, or donate. Recycle anything that can’t be worn again. If you have pieces that you spent a lot on, and can’t bear to just give away, put them aside to sell on eBay. Lastly, create a pile to drop off at Goodwill, or donate them to an organization like Dressed for Success.

6. Reorganize: Once your closet is sparkly and clean, it’s time to put everything back in place. If you need help with this task, check out this post: 20 Ways to Organize Your Closet.

With all the clothing riffraff gone, you can now gaze upon your newly culled wardrobe and see it with fresh eyes. Assess what’s there, and determine what you really need. Then, and only then, can you head back out to the stores…