Four ways to clean and organize your closets

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Many people dread closet cleaning. It seems like a thankless chore. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are four different cleaning philosophies to help you get your closets cleaned up and even organized a bit better:

1) One In, One Out

When you get something new, get rid of something old. Do you really need twelve sweaters? Will you actually wear that many sweaters? If not, when you get a new sweater, consider getting rid of an old sweater. This can help keep your closet storage solutions from becoming overwhelmed and messy.

2) When In Doubt, Throw It Out

Many people err on the side of keeping things they aren’t sure if they will use again. But for most Americans, it makes more sense to err on the side of getting rid of it if you aren’t sure you need.

Most Americans own way too much stuff. They often have duplicates — sometimes multiple of them — because they needed a thing, did not remember they already had one and went out and bought another. If you have so much stuff that you don’t even know what you have and keep buying duplicates, keeping old items is not saving you anything. In fact, it is costing you money because you are paying for more space than you really need, more cleaning products, etc.

3) Little By Little

If you can’t imagine cleaning the closet from top to bottom, you don’t have to do it that way. You can just take a little at a time. Set aside an hour or thirty minutes and do just part of it. Take it in sections and do each section. You can do a section each day or you can do a section every Saturday or whatever schedule makes sense for you. Breaking it down can help make it more palatable.

4) One Fell Swoop

Alternately, set aside one weekend, empty the closet entirely and create three piles: Stays, Goes, Trash. Then start sorting.

The Stays pile is for stuff you really use that is in good shape. These are the things you will be keeping and putting back in the closet after everything is over.

The Goes pile is for stuff that is still usable, but you aren’t really going to use it. You might give some items to friends and family, donate some items to charity and sell some items. How you get rid of it may vary depending upon its sentimental value, monetary value and other details.

The Trash pile is for things of no use to anyone. It is essentially dead wood. This stuff just needs to be thrown out.

While the closet is physically empty, you can dust and vacuum and wipe everything down. It will be easy to physically clean it while nothing is in the way. After you organize everything and put it all back, there will be less to clean and it will stay cleaner, longer. You probably won’t have to do this again.

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