How to Declutter a Closet and Keep it Organized

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Learn how easy it is to completely declutter a closet and get it organized for good in just a few days! I’m showing you 3 simple steps to organizing clothes in a closet and tips for keeping it that way.

Decluttering and organizing my closet was one of the best things I’ve done in a long time. I completed this daunting task as part of our recent master bedroom makeover and I’m SO GLAD I did!

Not only does it keep our room cleaner, but it also gives me a sense of freedom! I love knowing everything has a place and can be easily found or put away. Plus, it looks pretty now too, and you know how much I love things to be pretty! 😉

For today’s tutorial, I am going to share with you just how EASY it is to have a clutter-free closet that stays organized. Honestly, it was a whole lot easier than I thought it was going to be!

How to Organize and Declutter a Closet in 3 Simple Steps

In case you need some encouragement to get started, here is a peek at what my closet looked like when I started this process…

No judgments, mmkay?

Now, if I can tackle this mess, then you can definitely learn how to organize a small closet with lots of clothes too! Even if the idea of organizing clothes in your small closet seems daunting, it’s not so bad! And the result is totally worth it!!

Let’s get to it!

Step 1: Purging

The first step to decluttering your closet is to get EVERYTHING out of there. Now, before you go pulling all of your stuff out onto the floor, let me walk you through a simple process for making it as painless as possible.


The very first thing you need to do before you touch anything in your closet is think about what your sorting parameters are going to be.

Know what the qualifying factors are for items to be kept, sold, donated or thrown away.

My parameters were to keep everything that CURRENTLY fits and I’ve worn in the last year, sell anything from designer brands that aren’t too worn, donate cheaper brands or worn (but not damaged) items, and trash anything with too much wear or tears/rips/stains.

I’d encourage you to write your parameters down and keep them close by so when you’re looking through each item you can remind yourself of the “rules” and stick to them. 

It’s normal for some items to have sentimental value – so having those clearly defined parameters will make it easier for you to make the tough decisions. Remember, the goal is to declutter and clean out the items you’re no longer needing!


Go through each and every item in your closet and sort them based on the parameters you set above. This includes purses, shoes, scarves, belts…EVERYTHING.

Have I worn it? Does it fit? Is it stained?

Make sorting piles for each category: KEEP, SELL, DONATE and TRASH and work through it until your closet is completely empty.

This process took me a few hours, but in the end, I had about a fourth of the clothes I’d started with. That’s a win for me because organizing a small closet with lots of clothes is tough!

Here’s how it looked about halfway through the process:

After all of my sorting was done, I had at least two paper bags of trash, as well as a large pile to donate and two full boxes of items to sell!


Step 2: Wash, Sell, Donate and Trash

Now that you’ve gotten all of your belongings sorted, it’s time to get them to put where they belong! 

For the donate and trash items, it’s easy. Simply take them to a local thrift store or throw them in your garbage can.

For sale items, you can sell them online or host a garage sale! For now, just put them in storage somewhere so you can finish up the closet organizing first.

For the items you’re keeping, I recommend you spend time washing every item before it goes back in the closet.

There’s a good chance that many of the clothes you’re keeping haven’t been worn in the last few months, and what better way to give your closet a fresh and clean scent than by having it full of clean clothes!

One of the best ways to eliminate odors and give your clothes months of freshness is with the new Snuggle® Scent Shakes™. I recently tried both the SuperFresh® Original and the SuperFresh® Spring Burst scents and they are amazing! Not only do they eliminate the tough pet and athletic odors, but they also leave a snuggly scent on your clothes which makes wearing them even more enjoyable!

They’re super easy to find at Dollar General – just check the aisle with the laundry detergent and bleach. They’re also available at most other retailers including Walmart, Kroger, Family Dollar, or Target!

Seriously, go grab some – you’ll love the snuggly freshness they add to your life!

After you’ve gotten all of your laundry washed and smelling extra fresh, it’s time to start organizing!


Step 3: Organize

Now comes the fun part! Giving everything a place where it belongs. 🙂

Begin by sorting your belongings into groups of like-items. Put all the handbags in one stack, all the tank tops in another, and so on. For one-off items, like gloves or hats, create one pile for those items altogether.


I recommend organizing your shoes first. The closet is really your only storage spot for shoes, so it’s important that they all fit in an orderly manner.

A few tips I have are to put your flip flops and casual sandals in a basket for easy access and store your other shoes with one facing forward and one facing backward. This maximizes the space on your shelves and allows you to fit more pairs!

If needed, install extra shelving to make enough shelf space (or floor space) to fit every pair.

Not enough room? Consider getting rid of a few more pairs or investing in a shoe cabinet for outside the closet.


Next, organize your freshly laundered clothes. (Don’t they smell amazing?!) 😉

You’ll want to keep your “like-item” groups together in the closet. Store all your shirts together, your pants together, etc. This makes finding items easier.

Start with the hanging items. I recommend hanging dresses, dress shirts or blouses, pants and shorts, skirts and jackets.

Evaluate – do I have enough hanging space? Are they at the right heights? If not, adjust the rods as needed. 

My closet already had some hanging rods, but I chose to adjust the height on two of them to put them at a lower level for my shirts and pants. I wanted to be able to easily see and reach them – and the rods were too high for me originally.

Before this closet makeover, I used to have my pants folded on a shelf. But I found that I kept wearing the same pair over and over because I’d forget what pairs were at the bottom of the stack! Since hanging my pants, I wear each of them because they’re all visible to me.

If you haven’t tried hanging your pants and shorts, I’d encourage you to give it a shot!

Then move on to your folded items. This would include casual shirts and sweaters.

Fold them nicely and store them in groups on shelves.

Then simply continue to work your way through and adjust as you go. Eventually, you’ll have it so that each item has a spot! 

Don’t be afraid to move things around as you find that certain areas don’t work well for certain things too.


The last organizing you’ll need to do is with your accessories. This includes scarves, hats, purses and bags, gloves, belts, etc.

I chose to store my scarves in a wire basket along with my clutch and wristlet purses.

For one-off items like my gloves and hats, I added a few simple closed boxes on the top shelf.

The bags and purses got a new shelf above my hanging clothes to maximize on that side’s storage.

I’d encourage you to evaluate the accessories you own and look for simple ways to corral them in bins or baskets. Consider installing extra shelving where you have some lost space too!

Once you’ve placed all of your accessories in their designated spots, you’re done!!

Take a step back and enjoy the view of your fresh-scented, clean, organized closet. 🙂

Here’s how mine turned out:

Ok, let’s review.

What is the best way to organize a closet?

I fully believe the best way to organize clothes in a small space (or even a large space, for that matter) is to:

  1. Purge – evaluate every item with strict parameters!
  2. Sort – group items by keep, sell, donate and trash. Then wash all your keep items!!
  3. Organize – sort your keep items by like-items and then one-by-one, put each like-item in the closet (starting with shoes and ending with accessories!)

My recent closet decluttering experience has taught me, not only how to organize clothes in a closet, but also how to keep that closet organized and smelling fresh! I am honestly in love with my new closet “system” that I don’t think I could ever go back.

I am even considering the concept of getting rid of an item each time I buy a new one… Crazy, right?!

I hope these simple tips for how to organize and declutter a closet were helpful for you! Don’t forget to grab some of the Snuggle Scent Shakes to help freshen up your clothes too. 🙂

Be sure to let me know if you have any questions.


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