How to Clean Your Closet in Less than 30 Minutes

A messy closet can be a frightening place.

Confession: sometimes it takes me at least 20 minutes to find an outfit in my closet because I can’t find what I’m looking for. Literally. I can’t find it. Hamper? Closet? Ah, might as well be the same thing.

Finally though, I cleaned my closet (the case of the missing red pump—which turned out to be in the closet all along—was my breaking point). To get it clean super fast (hey, we’re busy folks here at TBF, plus I’d much rather be writing than cleaning a closet any day of the week), I gave myself the challenge of doing it in less than 30 minutes.

Here’s the low-down on how it can be done.

Closet Cleaning 101

1. Quickly Toss Anything Stained and Not Worn in the Past Year(5 Min)

Okay, I’m going to quote Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” (yes, it’s relevant and yes, there’s a minor lyric tweak): “Take a look at yourself closet and then make a change.”

Seriously, give your closet a good, hard look, and then get rid of the junk pronto. Be fast about it; don’t overthink “But this is the multicolored blouse Aunt Susie got me right after her cataract surgery.” If a cardi still has armpit tags or shoes are still in a box, out of the closet and into a Sally bin it goes. Raid that closet and don’t look back.

2. Remove the Stuff That Doesn’t Below (5 Minutes)

The next part of this goes beyond clothes. I’m guilty for stashing anything BUT clothes (flatiron, Febreze, suntan lotion, Swiffer refills) in my closet. So, I finally put those things in the hall closet, under the sink—in other words, where they belong. Anything that was so ridiculous or way out of season (um, Rudolph slippers, which falls into both categories) went into bin #2, ready for the attic or under the bed

3. Reorganize What’s Left (10 Minutes)

I’m a big believer (now anyway) of putting things where they belong. Undies belong in drawers, not on floors (sounds like a bumper sticker — not one I’d actually use, but still). Jeans should be folded with jeans, blouses hung next to blouses, skirts with skirts. Don’t worry about getting all color coordinated and matchy-matchy. Just focus on putting like items with like items – jeans with jeans, blazers with blazers

Once I started shuffling things around, I was amazed (Seriously? My flared jeans were stashed between a dress and a bathing suit? Why was a bathing suit there anyway? Had I even worn it?)

4. Clean the floor( of your closet) (5 min)

Whether you have a walk-in or a toe-in closet, bumping, tripping or worst of all—shoe-scuffing—is not cool. Don’t forget to look at the floors, not just the stuff hanging. It sounds obvious, but I’ve done it a million times before. That forgotten sandal—you know, the one half tucked in the ankle of capris—a pocketbook, a belt . . . I was shocked to find so many “missing” items on the floor.