An Easy How-To Guide for a Coat Closet Cleanout

The front entrance area of our house is typically neat-ish. We have designated shoe areas and we are all good at putting our shoes in the proper places. And then there is the coat closet… which is A MESS. In addition to dozens of coats and sweatshirts, there is also our luggage, hats, gloves, old boots that should have been trashed, multiple picnic blankets, a bunch of retired pillows, dog stuff, and so much more.

A few weekends ago, I’d had enough and decided that it had to be cleaned out RIGHT THAT SECOND. I don’t know if there was a *smell* or if it was in my imagination, but I felt like our front entrance smelled stinky. And the only way to deal with the funk is a full-on closet cleanout!

Step 1: Remove every single thing from the closet and throw it on the floor. The closet should be totally empty other than any sort of organizer system you may have going on. Use this opportunity to vacuum it out and/or wipe down the floor with bleach wipes to get rid of any yuck that might have accumulated.

Step 2: Pick up every single item one at a time and make a ‘stay or go’ decision. That’s right, we’re going full-on Marie Kondo on this stuff. Does it give you joy?? If the item stays, it gets added to the ‘needs to be washed’ laundry basket. If an item goes, pick whether it goes into the ‘consignment/Poshmark sale’ laundry basket or the donation trash bag.

If you’re not sure whether an item stays or goes, add it to a pile to compare/contrast with what you already have. In our case, my husband has a category of clothes called his ‘garage work sweatshirts’. Each time we came across a ‘garage work sweatshirt’ it went into the pile. Then, we picked his three favorites to keep (aka add to the ‘needs to be washed’ basket) and the rest were donated or trashed, depending on how bad they were.

We did the same thing with the pile of gloves we somehow accumulated over the years. And the winter hats. And pillows. And picnic blankets. Every. Single. Thing.

Before too long, we had multiple bags to get donated to the thrift store, one pile to get listed on Poshmark or consigned, and a huge overflowing laundry basket of coats, sweatshirts, gloves and more that needed to be washed.

Step 3: Do ALL the laundry. I swear, the rest of the day was spent doing laundry — I did load after load and washed every single item that went back into the closet.

Step 4: Put the donation bags directly into your vehicle and take them to be donated at the thrift store. Don’t shove the bags in a corner or out of the way somewhere. This is how they get reabsorbed into the house! Donate them and move on.

Step 5: List the items you’re selling on Poshmark or make an appointment to drop them off at the consignment shop ASAP.

That’s it! The main part of the cleanout only took us an hour or so (the laundry took much longer), but now we have an organized hall closet and NO funky smells (imagined or otherwise).

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