Here’s a printable closet cleaning checklist — actually, two! I’ve already shared printable cleaning checklists for most of the other rooms in the house, but not the closet. There’s a reason for that: I hate cleaning my closets, too.
In fact, I hate it so much that I only do it to give myself an excuse to go shopping. My husband doesn’t understand the logic of this incentive (“Why clean your closet only to shove it full of more clothes?”), but my girlfriends understand.
Here’s the deal about cleaning your closet: if it’s a mess now, it’s going to take you most of the day to put things in order. But there’s good news, too. Once you complete the Total Closet Cleaning Checklist you just need to use the Regular Closet Cleaning Checklist a few minutes each week to keep it looking great.
Closet Cleaning Checklist
We’re going to start with a total closet cleanout to purge what you don’t (or shouldn’t) wear plus get your closet clean from top to bottom. As with all of my cleaning checklists, I urge you to do these steps in order. The checklist is designed to help you work efficiently without getting distracted by those seemingly urgent (but really unnecessary) things that tend to interrupt and derail us during home organization tasks.
Step 1: Straighten Up
- Throw away any trash.
- Gather clean clothes and sort them into two piles: clothes to hang, and clothes to fold.
- Hang up things that wrinkle:
- Blouses/Dress shirts
- Work slacks
- Silk or satin nightgowns/robes
- Fold clothes that don’t need hanging:
- Yoga pants/sweatpants
Step 2: Remove Everything
Take everything out of your closet and put them on your bed or bedroom floor. As you do, put “like” things together: pants, long-sleeved shirts, dresses, skirts, jackets, etc. Don’t worry at this point about whether something’s outdated or too big/small. Just focus on putting something into its proper category while it’s in your hand. You’ll be saving yourself effort when it’s time to return everything to the closet.
Step 3: Clean Your Empty Closet
Now that your closet is empty and your bedroom’s a mess, you have no choice but to finish your project!
- Using a long-handled duster or broom, dust the ceiling, walls and door jamb. Be sure to get any cobwebs!
- Dust the light fixture.
- Use a Magic Eraser to remove any scuffs on the wall.
- Wipe down the light switch, baseboards, and door with a damp microfiber cloth to remove dust and grime.
- Vacuum the floor thoroughly. Go around the base of the walls with the vacuum’s crevice attachment, too.
- If you have a carpet, now’s the time to treat any stains on the floor. If your closet has hard flooring, mop it.
Step 4: Sort Your Stuff
Go through each category of clothes, sorting each item into one of the following categories:
- Things too worn-out to wear or to donate: Check out these things to do with worn-out clothing.
- Things you don’t like anymore: Put them in a box to donate. Keep a list so you can calculate your charitable tax deduction.
- Things that don’t fit right now: Put them in a box and move them to your basement, attic or storage area. If they don’t fit in a year, donate them.
Step 5: Put Things Back Properly
- Put clothes away by category (jackets, shirts/blouses, pants, etc.). It’s a good idea to hang longer items like dresses or skirts toward the ends of the closet rod if you can.
- Put your shoes back. If you’re short on space, check out these shoe holders that let you store shoes in half the space. I absolutely love mine!
- Put accessories away. Hang scarves over the bar of a clothes hanger. Loop belt buckles over another clothes hanger.
- Return shoulder bags and purses to the closet, preferably on a shelf.
Step 6: Finish Up
- Put the donation box in your car so you can drop them off right away.
- Put the boxes of things you’ll be keeping in your storage spot.
- Take empty hangers to the laundry room.
- Give the closet a once-over with air freshener if you like, otherwise just close the door and pat your back.
Total Closet Cleaning Checklist
Tips to Maintain a Clean Closet
- Sort your stuff constantly: Keep a box in one corner of your closet to hold clothes that no longer fit, or which you want to donate or toss. When the box is full, sort through it.
- Put things away properly: Always hang clothes in the proper category, whether you’re putting them away after doing laundry, or hanging them up to wear again.
- Do light cleaning routinely: Do the weekly closet cleaning below when you’re cleaning your bedroom and you’ll keep dirt and cobwebs away.
Weekly Closet Cleaning
Follow these steps to keep your closet in great shape throughout the year.
1. Take care of the clutter:
- Pick up any dirty clothes and put them in the hamper.
- Throw away any trash.
2. Put things away:
- Gather and fold clean clothes that belong in the dresser.
- Gather and hang clean clothes that belong on hangers.
- Pick up and put away accessories
- Match shoes into pairs
3. Clean it up:
- Gather empty hangers and take them to the laundry room
- Wipe off the door jamb and light switch
- Dust the shelves
- Vacuum the floor