10 Steps to a Decluttered Closet

Learn how to make your closet work for you — and your clothes.

By: Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore
Walk-In Man's Closet With Shoe Shelf

Walk-In Man's Closet With Shoe Shelf

This no-frills answer to shoe storage gives full access to all pairs at the same time. The shelves, cubbies and hanging racks allow for full access to the floor space.

Step 1: Assess Your Big Obstacles

Are your shoes overtaking the space? Try a hanging-shoe rack or over-the-door organizer. Do your clothes overcrowd? Thinner hangers create space so you can find things easier. Feeling rushed each morning?  Dividing shirts, dresses, jeans, etc. bring a sense of order and saves time. Solving your biggest problem will motivate you to create the closet of your dreams.

Step 2: Make it a Family Effort

Getting your hubby and kids involved in organizing can make a difference in your family's day-to-day life. Everyone should be in charge of his or her own clothes, accessories, and toys. This will cut your cleaning time in half and ensure nothing important is thrown away by mistake.

Step 3: Take An Hour

Scheduling just 60 minutes a week can really make a dent in your overstuffed, cluttered closet. Can't spare that much? Try two half-hour sessions. If you're constantly being interrupted by "Hey Mom!" -- ask your spouse to take the kids out for the afternoon. Remember to return the favor when it's his turn to hit the closets.

Step 4: Start from Scratch

Take everything (yes, everything) out of your closet. If you don't remove it all, chances are the same unworn clothes will be moved around the closet. Now it's time to sort. Throw out old and damaged clothing. Donate what you don't need or don't wear.

Step 5: Out with the Odd

Remove items that have no business in your closet. Bank statements, insurance information, or tax documents don't belong next to your shoes, scarves, and sweaters. Create a Life.doc to organize and store all of your important documents in one accessible place. File the remaining papers in an office cabinet or milk crate.

Modular Shoe Storage

Modular Shoe Storage

A modular section for the man's side of the closet features storage for shoes and folded items below. The laminated system from California Closets features adjustable shelving for convenience.

Step 6: Organize in Sections

Designate a place for everything in your closet. Shoes in one place, sweaters in another, and so on. This will help you keep order and save you time each morning. Make smart use of the space. Installing shelves will double your storage and help sweaters and t-shirts keep their shape better.

Step 7: Apply the 80/20 Rule

You may not want to admit it, but the majority of clothes you have probably go unworn. It's said that the average American only wears 10 to 20 percent of their clothes. To cut down on the fluff, remove items you haven't worn in a year. Drop off the excess at Goodwill or arrange a clotheswap with friends.

Step 8: Put One In; Take One Out

For each new item you buy to put in your closet, donate one item (or pitch it if it's past its prime). This will keep you from returning to your pack-rat ways.

Step 9: Keep It Going

Dedicate 15 minutes a week to straightening your closet after the "big clean". Spending this small amount of time will ensure you never have to go through a major de-clutter again.

Step 10: Reward Yourself

Recognize and celebrate what you've done. Treat yourself to some new hangers or buy that silk blouse you've been eyeing. Now, you actually have room for it!

Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore are the co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stretched and stressed people get themselves organized. They are also co-authors of Everything (almost) In Its Place.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Broom and Utility Closet Organization

A utility closet might be one of the more industrial spaces in the home, but that doesn't mean that it should be left unorganized. Learn what storage solutions work best for your space and budget.

10 Steps to an Orderly Kitchen

An organizing expert offers expertise for kitchen organization and storage solutions.

10 Tips to Increase Your Home's Value

Increasing the value of your home is easier than you think. Follow these tips, and your home will be worth more before you know it.

Small, Shared Kids' Room Storage and Decorating

An 8-by-10-foot shared Brooklyn bedroom for twins? Yes, it can be done with creative use of vertical storage space and multi-purposing tricks.

10 Home Office Hacks to Get You Organized Now

Working from home sounds great — unless your home office is a disaster. Follow these 10 simple tips to help declutter your space.

10 Tips for Designing Your Home Office

Work in style in a beautiful and functional home office.

10 Steps to Boost Your Home Value

Follow these 10 steps to increase the value of your home for potential future sell.

10 Steps to Budgeting for Your Kitchen Remodel

Managing the amount you spend on your project is easy if you follow these rules

On TV

Good Bones

6:30am | 5:30c

Container Homes

7:30am | 6:30c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Fixer Upper

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

Fixer Upper

11pm | 10c

Fixer Upper

12am | 11c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Fixer Upper

2am | 1c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.