The Ultimate 1-Hour Closet Cleanse

Because who has a full day to dedicate to cleaning?

Barn Door Closet

Barn Door Closet

A rustic barn door that slides along a top track offers a nice design detail for this space. Let your imagination be creative with door options that add character to your well-organized space. Photo courtesy of Rubbermaid.

The first week of January may be when resolutions get the most attention, but most of us actually make and break resolutions throughout the year. Think about spring cleaning: it's just another resolution. Same with your summer diet and your deep winter cleaning.

Here's the thing, though: Making a resolution doesn't somehow magically change who you are as a person. So if you've never worked out before, resolving to hit the gym every single day just won't happen (trust me, I've been there). And if you tend to be a little lax with the house cleaning, you won't magically become hyper-organized overnight just because it's your resolution. 

That's why I'm a fan of micro-resolutions, or small changes that you can build upon throughout the year. And one of my go-tos is a great way to kickstart your journey to become more organized at home. I call it the 1-hour closet cleanse. (You know how dieters use cleanses to reset their bodies in a short amount of time? It's like that, just for your closet.)

The secret to a successful closet cleanse is understanding this isn't a complete overhaul of your wardrobe (or life) but a way to get you moving in the right direction. Oh, and having a plan going in is also key. So read on for the 3 steps you'll need to take, conveniently broken down into 15 minute increments.

Organizing Closets by Clothing Clusters

Organizing Closets by Clothing Clusters

Organizing your clothing into compatible groups that work together maximizes wardrobe options. For example, an uncluttered closet makes it easy to find what you're looking for, so consider organizing your closet by clustering those items that work together by color or use.

Photo by: DK - House Works ©2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - House Works, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Minutes 1-15

Use the first fifteen minutes of your cleanse to remove everything from your closet (yes, seriously). Create one pile for clothes, another for shoes, another for bags and luggage and a final pile for miscellaneous items. Pat yourself on the back for completing step one, and try not to freak out about the mess now taking over your room.

If your closet is bursting at the seams, consider doing a half or a quarter of your wardrobe at a time to truly make this a one-hour project. It's all about progress!  

Minutes 15-45

Step two is basically a sped up version of that scene from the Sex and the City Movie where they clean out Carrie's closet, just without the champagne and '80s designer duds. To start, grab three trash bags and designate one for things you can donate, another for items that genuinely need to be trashed and a final bag for the pieces you need extra time to consider.

Instead of tackling each pile item by item, you'll start by quickly pulling out the pieces you know you want to keep — trust your gut on this one — and setting them aside. Next, you'll look through the remaining items in each pile for pieces you can donate. Grab things that are in good condition, and that you don't mind parting with, to add to the donation bag. At this point your remaining piles will (hopefully) be much smaller.

Bedroom Closet Organization System

Bedroom Closet Organization System

Create a floor-to-ceiling closet by attaching rods and shelves to a wall, then draping off the area with a set of curtains. Define your storage needs, then choose the best spot—here we moved the bed to the center of the room and built the closet on the wall behind it.

Photo by: IKEA U.S.

IKEA U.S.

Now it's time to pull out the pieces that are in poor condition. Add each of these items to your bag of stuff to throw out or recycle. Any remaining items get added to your third trash bag, which you'll keep out of sight for the rest of the month. If you find yourself thinking about any of those pieces, or wanting to wear or use them, feel free to add them back to your closet. Everything remaining in the bag after four weeks can be donated.

Minutes 45-60

At this point you've probably broken a sweat, but hey, that's okay, you're almost done! It's finally time to put your beloved items back in your closet. Start with anything that you keep on the floor — but don't just throw everything in willy-nilly — keeping everything neat now will encourage you to stay organized in the future. Next put back the items you keep on hooks or shelves, and finish by hanging your clothes back on the rack.

Finally, stash your bag of items you're unsure about in a hidden spot, and decide on a time to drop off your donations.

Now go pour yourself a glass of wine — you deserve it!

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