The 60 Minute 6 Step Closet Clean Out

6 Steps to Clean Out Your Closet in 60 Minutes - The Well Dressed Life

If you have 60 minutes, you can get your closet in order. When you can’t see your clothes, when things are everywhere, when you’re digging through boxes and drawers looking for an accessory you waste so much time and energy. Over this Labor Day weekend, I would challenge you to set aside just one hour and see what a difference you can make in the way your closet functions.

The 60 Minute 6 Step Closet Clean Out

6 Steps to Clean out Your Closet in 60 Minutes

Organizing an out-of-control closet can be a daunting task. If you’ve been living with closet chaos, you’ll need to dedicate significant time to work through the process, especially if you hold onto your clothes for years or in some cases, decades – yikes!  But in my experience, I’ve learned that most women’s closets are in pretty good shape. You need to go through everything with a dedicated eye, make quick decisions and organize your items into like categories, but you can do it in about an hour.

It’s amazing what an organized space can do for your mood and how you navigate your entire day when you start off less frazzled. Our 60 minute,6 Step Closet Clean Out can get you entirely set up for the new season, or be the kick in the butt you need to dedicate more time to purging and organizing.

Before you get started, a little prep will help you be productive.

What you’ll need:

Set Up Your Work Space

My rolling rack gets a lot of use. I keep it under my bed and pull it out whenever I pick up a big dry cleaning haul. I use it when I pack for trips and find it extra helpful when tidying up my closet. You’ll be surprised how many times you use it once you have one.

I also like to have a few trash bag and my dry cleaning bag on hand so that I can work quickly. If you plan on storing your out-of-season pieces elsewhere, be sure to have your bins ready as well. These are great because you can see through them.  I label them with these white paint markers and feel very Pinterest worthy.

Also, having an extra laundry basket to collect items that do not belong in your closet is helpful. Be sure to have a space for all of your piles, including: trash (trash bags), storage (bins), donate (basket), sell (basket), and mend. Finally, have a notebook and pen handy so that you can jot down a quick shopping list as you notice items you need or pieces you have to replace. (Total time: 5 minutes)

Play the 15/15 Game

Take 15 minutes to pull any pieces that are out of season and place them on the rolling rack. Next, take another 15 minutes and pull out anything that is dated, damaged, or that you just don’t like anymore and sort into your piles accordingly. This will leave you with in-season pieces you like and seasonless basics hanging in your closet. (Total time: 30 minutes)

IF you have a ton of stuff and need more time, don’t stress over what to keep. Only focus on what you know you like and leave everything else on your rolling rack. If you give yourself a few days you may realize you haven’t reached for anything and it will get easier to let go.

Get Cleaning!

Care for your closet the same way you care for the other rooms in your home. Wipe down the shelves and vacuum the floor, clean out the light fixture and sanitize the doorknob and any other surfaces. You will be shocked and maybe a little grossed out by the amount of hidden dirt in your closet space. (Total time: 5 minutes)

Replace Your Hangers

Keep your space visually tidy by using the same hanger. We love velvet or flocked hangers. They save space and look chic. It’s amazing what happens when your space is perfectly organized. You’ll be calmer and see more outfit options instantly. (Total time: 5 minutes)

Pack Up and Put Away

Pack up any out-of-season items. Plastic containers with some cedar are an excellent and inexpensive solution. If you have items in plastic dry cleaning bags, take a second to remove them and put them on new hangers. Plastic bags hold moisture and can damage your items if you let them stay in them for too long.

Properly put back the items you are keeping in your closet, neatly.

Note: Because I travel frequently to varying climates, I keep all of my clothes in my closet. At the beginning of each new season, I move the previous season to the back and the new season to the front. Doing so saves me loads of time and allows me to pack quickly. To see how I organize my closet, check out this video.  It’s old; I need to do a new one. (Total time: 10 minutes)

Finish the Process

Before you finish, gather up any trash and dispose of it. If something needs to be dry cleaned or mended, add it to the proper pile and put it in your car. Organize donations and pack them up neatly. Drop them off as soon as possible. Whatever you do, do not leave items hanging around or they will never get actioned. (Total time: 5 minutes)

That’s it! In one hour you will have turned your wardrobe around. Here are a few extra tips:

  • As tempting as it may be, avoid buying new storage solutions until you are finished. You’ll save money and avoid unnecessary clutter.
  • Keep your accessories in clear view. I use 3M hooks and hang them on the wall along a shelf inside my closet. The same goes for scarves; instead of throwing them in a box, hang them on a hook or scarf hanger. You’ll use them more if you can see them.
  • Put items back in like categories. I organize closets by category, going sleeveless, short sleeve, long sleeve, etc., and then by color within each category. This way, my eye goes almost instinctively to what I need.
  • I keep a small basket at the bottom of my closet for pieces I want to donate. Often I’ll try something on and realize I don’t like it anymore, so I’ll drop it in the basket. Once it’s filled up, I sort it the items and send what I can sell to ThredUp and donate the rest.
  • A friendly reminder from my accountant: be sure to keep track of your donations for your end of year taxes!


Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

  1. Turn all of your hangers backwards as you wear things hang them normally and after some time you will easily see what you don’t wear.
    This is a very simple method to determine what to get rid of!

  2. Good tips, but it’s harder to do my spouses’s half since I don’t track what he wears. My solution is to button every button on garments I suspect he is not using. In a few months, I check again and anything with all the buttons secured is moved to a back closet, just in case. Next stop from there is the donation bin.

    1. That’s a great idea! I don’t manage what my husband wears either. Every now and then, his closet makes me crazy and I organize it, and then some of my less than favorite items mysteriously disappear 😉

  3. I love this process and have done it several times. But as I rush around daily life, I throw dry cleaner returns complete with paper and plastic in the closet and after a few weeks I am a mess again. Do you sort each time you get a load of clean clothes back? Does it work?

    1. I try my best to keep it tidy as I go, but that doesn’t always happen:) I certainly have days when I just throw stuff in and leave it for later. Maybe once a month after either a big dry cleaning haul, or when I’m packing for a trip, I’ll go through and straighten everything up. What’s nice is because there’s a place for everything it’s takes maybe 15 minutes.

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