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How to organize your closet in as little as 30 minutes

Your closet is overflowing. You can’t find your favorite sweater or that blazer you need for work. Rather than putting things away after you wash them, you’re in the habit of just throwing clothes on your chair. It’s a mess.

Organizing your closet doesn’t have to be an ordeal, and it will make you feel a lot better on the other side. It’s time to take a Saturday and put this piece of your life in order so you can sleep a little later on Monday morning while still having time to find that blazer you need. Here’s what to do.

Organize Closet
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If you have 30 minutes

You don’t always have all weekend to go through your closet carefully. Sometimes, it’s got to happen fast. Here’s what you can do if you find yourself with an extra 30 minutes, and you’re sick of your closet.

  • Gather everything you’ll need. This includes bags divided into categories. You can go basic like bags of clothing to donate, or you can divide further into donation bags, giveaway bags (remember how your friend loves that one pair of shoes you have?), and clothing to sell. It’s all up to you, but remember, the simpler, the faster.
  • Get your cleaning supplies together. You’ll need wipes, your broom or vacuum, and a multipurpose cleaner.
  • Pull everything out of your closet and throw it on your bed. Wipe down shelves, vacuum the floor, and dust if you need to. Spend only a minute or two doing this.
  • Plan your method of reorganization while your closet is empty. If everything is going back to the same place, that’s fine, too. Now is the time to change things up, however.
  • Pick up your clothing and sort it quickly. Things you keep should go in a different pile. Sort the rest into bags. If you aren’t sure, keep it. You could also consider a bin to “think about” when you have more time. Stick to around a quarter of an hour or so for this.
  • Finish up. Fold clothing neatly and hang things back up. Arrange your shoes logically. Tie up your bags and place them by your front door to go out as soon as possible.
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If you have one day

One day is a great chance to revamp your closet. You’ll have time to deep clean and think about your clothing more clearly. However, since you do have more time, you might consider bringing a friend to make objective decisions.

  • Gather all your things, just like the previous method, including your cleaning supplies.
  • Take everything out of your closet.
  • Clean your closet just like last time, but this time, check it over. Are there any loose rods or missing screws? Do you want to rearrange any of your storage or racks to help reorganize? Now is the time to fix and make it happen.
  • Go through your clothing. This time, sort quickly through the pile for things you know you aren’t keeping and sort them into your bags (donate, give away, sell, etc.).
  • Go through your clothing a second time. This time, consider the pieces you aren’t sure about. Try them on and look at the fit. Check things over for stains, rips, or tears, and be honest with yourself. Do you want to take the time to fix something, asks Martha Stewart. Do you have the ability to do it yourself or the time and money to take it somewhere? If not, deal accordingly.
  • Continue to narrow down your selection. Clothing that’s the wrong size should go in the donation or sell box. It’s stressful to keep clothing in the hopes that it will one day fit again.
  • Once you’ve gotten your keep pile, put the thing away, taking the time to organize. Tie up bags and put them by your door to take out that day.
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If you’ve got a weekend

The weekend gives you lots of time to address real closet issues.

  • Go through the steps from the previous session, but don’t put your keepers away just yet. Once you’ve taken your bags to the donation center, come back and take a good long look at your closet.
  • Consider the hiccups in your closet design. Here are a few common issues with closet organization and how to fix them once in for all.
      • Shoes – Do you have trouble with shoes getting lost in the back? It might be time to invest in shoe boxes or a door hanger to keep them well within reach.
      • Bulky sweaters – You don’t want to hang your sweaters because they can stretch. Instead, shoe organizers are a great way to keep sweaters wrangled. Roll them up and place them in the pockets.
      • Small accessories like scarves – A door hanger shoe organizer can also help store small items. Reserve the top pockets for your scarves and fill the rest with shoes.
      • Long dresses – Give long dresses plenty of space to hang about four inches off the floor. They won’t bunch up or gather dust, and you’ll be able to lay your hangers more straight.
      • Too many hangers – If you can add a double bar in your closet, that can help store more hanging clothing. Put shirts on top and pants on the bottom to keep like things near each other.
      • Can’t find your favorites – Reserve the middle of your closet (or the most convenient side) for your favorite things. If there’s a dress you only wear once a year, you could place that toward the back more out of sight.
      • Can’t go minimal – Use Oprah’s famous hanger trick. Turn everything in your closet one way on the hanger. As you wear it, turn the hanger in the opposite direction. At the end of a certain period, everything that’s still facing the original way gets donated. This may not work as well for seasonal or formal wear.
      • Use more space – Store seasonal items under your bed or in a separate area to make room for things you’re wearing now, say Real Simple. Also, feel free to move things outside the closet, using wall space, corner organizers, and outside shelves.

Organizing your closet for good

The best way to keep an organized closet is to stay on it. Regularly go through your things and make sure you love all your clothing pieces. The better organized you are, the more you’ll love what you have to wear, and you may even fall in love with your closet space once again.

When you’re down getting your closet organized and in shape, time to move on to kitchen storage.

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Deb Goncalves
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Deb's work has appeared on Moms, Babygaga, and WorldAtlas. When she's not working (that's hard to say about a Capricorn), she…
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