This 4-Step Method is the Quickest Way to Clean and Declutter Any Closet

published Jan 12, 2021
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Credit: Anna Spaller

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You’d think that after a decade of writing about housekeeping, I would have one proven method for completing any organizing task at home. But the truth is, there’s no one right way to get your home tidy.

Take, for example, a task like decluttering the clothes closet. If I had a free weekend and plenty of energy, I might take on a really thorough routine of emptying every garment from every shelf, drawer, and rod, before deciding what to put back in its place. But there are other moments in my life where I don’t have the time or the patience for a task like that. And in those moments, “good enough” is enough.

Taryn's Tips

At least once a year, try to do a big closet declutter—the kind where you pull and sort everything out before deciding what to get rid of. But when you just need a little seasonal refresh, look through your closet for five things you can part with right now.

Today, in the midst of everything else we’ve got going on with the Cure, I want to focus your attention on the quickest, 30-minute closet overhaul of your life. Clean a little, pare down a little, and call it a day.

Here’s how it’s done…

Credit: Liz Calka

Day 7: Do a 30-minute closet cleanout.

Set a timer and get busy decluttering one closet—any closet—at home.

It can be your clothes closet, or the catchall storage closet. It doesn’t have to be the messiest one, or the one you use the most—just choose any closet that will benefit from a little attention tonight.

Grab a vacuum, a trash bag, your outbox (or a temporary version you can dump into your main one), and a timer (the app on your phone will do just fine) and head to the closet. Set the timer for 30 minutes and get to work. Don’t worry about how far you’ll get or even think about whether it will be “finished” today.

Here’s your plan:

  1. Straighten things up, like errant hangers and stuff that’s just sort of tossed around in there.
  2. Vacuum up dust and dirt around the floor or other surfaces.
  3. Go through the things inside and cast things you’re not sure you need to the outbox. Aim for five things. Then if that felt good, five more. Then just… keep going… until your alarm goes off at 30 minutes.
  4. If you feel that you’ve left things unfinished when time is up, take a moment to assess what else needs to happen for the closet to be in really good shape, then estimate how much time it will take you to complete that on another day.

Because for today, we’re done! And done is better than perfect. Even if all you did was vacuum some dust bunnies and cast away a couple of old things, I bet your closet is feeling better already.

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