Take our 19-Minute Closet Declutter Challenge!

boho clothes hanging on a curved hanging post

You’re less than 20 minutes away from finally having a decluttered closet. Just follow these step-by-step instructions and that overstuffed closet that’s been driving you bonkers for months will be gone for good!

Before you start the clock, you’ll need a few supplies:

  1. A countdown timer (your smartphone’s timer will be perfect, or a kitchen timer will also be fine)
  2. Garbage-sized bags or boxes
  3. Some great music!

Got everything? OK…crank up the music that gets your feet tapping and then set the timer for 19 minutes.

close-up of red cooking timer

Ready, set, go!

ipad on desk displaying calendar

19:00 Begin with the end in mind by scheduling your free donation pickup of all the stuff in the closet you’ll no longer want – even before you know what it is! Just choose a pickup date that fits your schedule. It takes less than two minutes, and you can do it by clicking HERE.

17:00 Dive into your closet and remove all the empty coat hangers, dry cleaning bags, empty shoeboxes, and everything else you know you’ll want to throw away. Place all this junk in your first bag.

15:00 Working from the top to the bottom, individually evaluate everything in sight. You can even quickly pick up and hold the items, and with each one, judge your gut reaction to these kind of questions: “Is this something I can live without? Something I haven’t used in months, or no longer fits me, or is no longer my style?” If the answer is YES, then you know it’s just taking up space and causing clutter, so put that item in your bag or box that’s heading for the donation pickup.

If it’s something that you know you want or will soon need in the future, then you’ll want to put it back in the closet (don’t worry, you’ll find a permanent place for it in a moment).

By trusting your gut and by working quickly and methodically, maybe even to the beat of the music, you’ll find yourself finished with your “closet curation” in eight minutes or less.

box with donation sign filled with clothes

7:00 Now that your closet is full of only the things you know that you want and need, you’ll be able to quickly group them into categories. Start with the big stuff that takes up most of the room, which is probably your outerwear or your fancy dresses or suits. Hang them together, in a far corner, since you use them the least. Then sort the hanging items you use the most, placing them together in the center (for extra credit, you can gather them by color or type, such as all the sweaters then all the short sleeve blouses, etc. This is known as organizing like with like.) Finally, put your accessory collection or hanger somewhere handy and arrange your belts, scarves, and purses on it.

DANCE BREAK! Take a second to rock out to your favorite part of the song and shake off the dust! Nice moves, now let’s finish strong!

laundry basket full of multi-colored converse shoes

1:00 You’re almost done! Your closet’s empty of all the junk, your clothes are organized, and your accessories are hung nicely…all that’s left are your shoes. If it takes more than a minute to collect and sort them across the bottom of your closet or into the shoe organizer that’s been empty for months, you may have too many shoes, so think about adding a few pairs to your donation collection.

If you follow these directions closely, you’ll be done before the timer goes off, which will give you a few moments to admire your handiwork!

Then once the alarm rings and you’re left with the decluttered closet of your dreams, you can take the garbage pile out to the trash – recycling anything you can.

Don’t forget to set the donation bags or boxes aside for the pickup appointment you scheduled before you began. Remember to leave them outside on the morning you’ve chosen — Pickup Please’s driver will be happy to take them away and your unwanted clothes, jackets, purses, and other household items will be put to work helping America’s veterans and their families!

P.S. — Get a head start on your next donation by placing a box, bin, or bag in the back of your closet, then every week or so do a quick closet declutter sweep.

pickup please driver close-up of shirt with pickup please logo