Closet Cleaning Checklist

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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.

Closet Cleaning Checklist - Deep clean and organize your closet then keep it in shape with this checklist

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

  1. Throw away any trash.
  2. Gather clean clothes and sort them into two piles: clothes to hang, and clothes to fold.
  3. Hang up things that wrinkle:
    • Blouses/Dress shirts
    • Skirts/Dresses
    • Work slacks
    • Jackets/Blazers
    • Silk or satin nightgowns/robes
  4. Fold clothes that don’t need hanging:
    • Jeans
    • T-shirts/sweatshirts
    • Yoga pants/sweatpants
    • Pajamas
    • Shorts
    • Sweaters
    • Underwear
    • Socks/tights

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 Don’t worry at this point about whether something’s outdated or too big/small.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!

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  1. Using a long-handled duster or broom, dust the ceiling, walls, and door jamb. Be sure to get any cobwebs!
  2. Dust the light fixture.
  3. Use a Magic Eraser to remove any scuffs on the wall.
  4. Wipe down the light switch, baseboards, and door with a damp microfiber cloth to remove dust and grime.
  5. Vacuum the floor thoroughly. Go around the base of the walls with the vacuum’s crevice attachment, too.
  6. 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:

  1. Things too worn-out to wear or to donate: Check out these things to do with worn-out clothing.
  2. Things you don’t like anymore: Put them in a box to donate. Keep a list so you can calculate your charitable tax deduction.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Put your shoes back.
  3. Put accessories away. Hang scarves over the bar of a clothes hanger. Loop belt buckles over another clothes hanger.
  4. Return shoulder bags and purses to the closet, preferably on a shelf.

Step 6: Finish Up

  1. Put the donation box in your car so you can drop them off right away.
  2. Put the boxes of things you’ll be keeping in your storage spot.
  3. Take empty hangers to the laundry room.
  4. Give the closet a once-over with air freshener if you like, otherwise just close the door and pat your back.

Printable Closet Deep Cleaning Checklist

Click the image below to open it for printing, or right-click to save it to your device.

Total Closet Cleaning Checklist

Tips to Maintain a Clean Closet

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Checklist

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

Printable Weekly Closet Cleaning Checklist

Click the image below to open it for printing, or right-click to save it to your device.

Weekly Closet Cleaning Routine

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  1. Crystelle Boutique says:

    You have no idea how helpful this post is to me (and my closets….!)
    thank you so much!

    hugs x

  2. Wow! That is quite a list! I had no idea that cleaning a closet was that much work, I guess that I had better get started!

  3. Marnie Byod says:

    Oh I got to print this too.
    This is indeed very helpful for my organization projects and clutter clearing works. I really appreciate this particularly the Weekly Closet Cleaning Routine!

  4. Diana Rambles says:

    I have been diagnosed with ACDD. Attention Cleaning Deficit Disorder. I really don’t like to clean and get easily distracted. I need this flowchart all around my house!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      ACDD. That is FUNNY, Diana! I like cleaning, provided I’m not getting interrupted by a dozen other things. When that happens, I have a very hard time getting back on task. I made these flow-charts so it’s easier for me to get back to what I was doing… and for my husband and son, who think “cleaning” involves stacking things in piles and calling it done.

  5. Thanks! I’m going to schedule a day to do this.
    I have struggled with my clothes because my weight fluctuates so I just kept everything in my closets, drawers.
    I can’t throw my clothes away like most people.
    Thank you for the steps!

  6. lisa holbay says:

    i suffered a head injury in 2005 and my memory sucks My son still at home a god senf just yelled at me for no doing anything I start and forget whsay im too be doing . I AM GRATEFUL THAT THESE CHARTS WERE FREE . I CAN CHECLKOFF WHERE IM AT OR someone -hubby or son can tell me , I can remember how to do it hust not what im to do . AS soon as i have extra money ill be buying your book gopefully TY AGAIN Lisa

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You are so welcome. My husband had two TBIs as a child and had memory problems all his life. Checklists were so helpful for him, too. Take care.

  7. This is great. I know many people who struggle with keeping clothes for way too long. I play a game called “dressing room” to sort through clothes or to make choices on things to buy. It’s sort of like deciding between two items and keeping the one you like the best. It really helps at the end, especially since I only give myself 5 seconds to make the choice. A friend of mine spends her 5 seconds deciding if she would wear the new item immediately after getting home! This way we only have fabulous things in our closets!