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Closet Cleaning Tips for Spring

Super charge your entire spring-cleaning routine with a good closet clean-out.

Family doing their spring closet cleaning

Looking forward to an end of the winter doldrums? Ready to exchange those boots and heavy sweaters for a lighter and brighter wardrobe? It's time to freshen up your home and get a jump on the good weather with these closet cleaning tips for spring.

I guess the groundhog was right. Winter has finally broken in Chicago and it seems we're headed for an early spring this year. What a contrast from last year! The longer days and warmer weather might put some of us into the mood for a little spring-cleaning. In addition to the usual dusting and scrubbing, it's the traditional time of year for a good closet clean-out. Make clean up, clear out, and get organized your mantra this March with these closet cleaning tips for spring.

    Steps to take for spring closet cleaning.

  1. Take Everything Out of the Closet

    A temporary clothing rack helps with spring closet cleaning
    Consider purchasing a temporary clothing rack to help when you clean out your closet. It will make the whole process a lot easier.

    Start by taking everything out of the closet. You can lay your clothes on the bed to keep them from getting wrinkled. Even better is to invest in temporary closet racks. After all, you'll probably do this once a year anyway. Why not make it easy on yourself? Inexpensive temporary clothes racks can be purchased online. Good, sturdy ones are available that fold up to only 3-inches W x 5-feet L and come with their own canvas storage bag. They are easy to store when you're not using them, making them a good investment to help with annual spring-cleaning. They are also great to have around for parties. Your guests won't have to put their coats on the bed anymore

  2. Purge and Donate

    Donate old clothes as part of closet cleaning tips
    Donate any clothes that you didn't wear or do not fit.

    As you are removing your clothing from the closet, take a good hard look at each piece. Be ruthless in your assessments. Get rid of anything you didn't wear last season. After all, if you never wore them, either they don't fit, or you must not like those clothes very much anyway. Items that are in good condition can be set aside in a box or bag for charity. Let them find a home with someone who needs them. Clothing that is worn out should be simply thrown away.

  3. Special Care and Storage for Formal Wear

    Woman removing fancy evening gown from closet
    Keep your evening wear and set it aside for careful storage in a protective zipper bag, especially if you wear it infrequently.

    The only exception in the "get rid of it" rule is expensive specialty clothing like evening gowns, tuxedoes, etc. Unless you get invited to a lot of fancy parties on a regular basis, this type of clothing won't be used every year. However, you may need it again. Some things never go out of style and should be kept for these occasions. I am referring to classic pieces like a tux or elegant ball gown. Any dresses with giant shoulder pads should have been tossed out years ago. But so long as it fits and is still wearable in today's fashion world, place your cocktail dress/gown/tux in a zipper bag made of breathable fabric (not plastic) to protect it until it is needed again. You never know. You may end up on the guest list for a formal wedding or event. Best to be prepared with a few elegant items you can wear again and again.

  4. Clean and Paint Your Closet

    Wash and paint the empty closet during spring-cleaning
    Clean and paint your closet when it is empty. You can even make the cleaning part a spring family ritual.

    Clean and paint your closet while it is empty, before you go through your clothes and put any back inside. Clean first, then paint. For a laminate closet, cleaning it mainly involves wiping the sections of closet panels and shelves down with a soft, damp cloth. Use only a mild, non-abrasive, all-purpose cleaner or plain water. Never use any cleaners with bleach, even for tough stains like coffee or wine. Wood closets can be cleaned with any good quality commercial wood cleaning product. never soak your wood with water. Mirrors and glass can be cleaned with vinegar and water. You'll be surprised at how much "invisible" dirt comes off your closet after a long winter. If your walls are dirty and scuffed, now is a good time to paint them. Remove your closet rods, adjustable shelves, baskets, pull-outs, drawers, etc. It will be much easier to paint with only the skeleton of the closet remaining. Carefully touch up your paint, making sure that you don't get any on the laminate pieces. You may have to tape off sections of the closet with painter's tape in order to do a good job. Put all of your shelves and closet components back in place after the paint is good and dry.

  5. Invest in "Good Bones" for Your Closet

    Empty closet with closet organizers
    If you purchase high quality closet organizers — aka a custom closet — they will help you stay organized for a lifetime.

    Everyone wants their closet to have "good bones." This means tackling the structure of the closet so that it can remain better organized all the time. If you don't have closet organizers already in place, now is a good time to get some. Ideally you would install a new custom closet designed to store your specific clothing and belongings in the most efficient and elegant manner possible. However, there is a financial cost to rebuilding your closet from scratch. If a new closet organizer system is not in the cards for you right now, look at getting some simple closet accessories that will help you organize your closet space as is. Extra hooks can be mounted to the walls for hats, purses, and bags. Shelf dividers are and easy to add fix that will keep stacks of clothes neat and straight. Pull-out valet poles can be mounted under any wood or laminate shelf for added convenience. Pull-out racks for ties, belts, and scarves can be installed on any wall as long as a wood cleat is used between the closet accessory and the drywall. Even these simple changes can go a long way to making your closet more efficient. And the best time to make them is when the closet is clean and empty.

  6. Switch Out Your Wardrobe

    Woman putting clothes away on closet shelf
    Switch out your heavy sweaters for lighter knit tops to get your closet ready for the warmer weather.

    Unless your closet is very large, you will probably want to switch out your clothes. Make sure your clothes are clean before you put them away. Clothes moths are attracted to food stains or clothing where they can detect human keratin. I like to pack my out-of-season clothes and sweaters with a little cedar to deter them. Moths dislike cedar, giving me a little extra piece of mind. Move the remaining winter clothes onto those high shelves that are hard to reach or maybe into a cedar armoire in the basement. It isn't really important where they go. The idea is to move the clothes you are not going to be wearing for a while to a less accessible area. This opens up closet space for current fashions. Now you will have room so that your most convenient clothing — the stuff you grab when you're in a hurry — will be the things you want to wear this season.

    Before you put the spring/summer clothes in place, try on each item. Make sure the stuff from last year is still good and fits before putting it away in the closet.

  7. Relax and Be Happy

    Happy lady cleaning out her closet puts clothes on the bed
    Take breaks and feel happy about the spring closet cleaning process. Let your fancy evening clothes be the last items you put away.

    Take breaks whenever you need them while you are spring-cleaning your closet. The last thing you want is for it to become an intolerable drudgery. Put your evening/fancy clothes away last. They belong in an unobtrusive corner designated for long hang garments. (Usually behind the door or someplace like that). When it's all done you can relax and be happy, knowing that your closet is clean and ready for the warm weather. It's good to repeat this spring closet cleaning process every year. It will prevent your closet from ever becoming overstuffed, messy, dirty, or disorganized.