Organizing the closets is a task most people have on their to-do list, regardless of how long they’ve been living in a home or if they’re planning on moving anytime soon.

 A new home is a blank slate ideal for a new, more organized you; however, even if you’ve lived in a house for years, it’s still a good idea to tackle the closets. Not only is an organized closet more appealing to potential buyers, but you can clear out the rest of your home by finding more space behind closed doors for storage. Here’s how.

Set aside some time. Like most major cleaning efforts, things are going to get messy before they get organized. To avoid having to live among your clutter for a few days (or weeks), set aside a weekend to devote to closet organization. This way, you can see the project all the way through from start to finish without having it take over your life.

Create a holding area. The first step in organizing a closet is to clear it all the way out. In order to do this, you need a place to put your belongings. Create a temporary “holding area” where you can put all your gear. It can be as simple as a section of your bedroom or living room, or, for a major overhaul, a portable storage unit.

Deep clean the closet. When is the next time your closet is going to be completely empty? If you’re like most people, it will probably be a few years. Use this moment to deep clean the closet—a vacuum and a dust rag are sometimes all that’s needed. By starting with a clean canvas, you’ll feel better about your organization as a whole.

Have a plan of action. You could just go through and toss out items you don’t need any more and call it a day, but since you’re already going through the closet, why not step up your organization game? There are literally hundreds of different tips and tricks for closet storage online—you can change the way you fold clothes, buy hanging shoe organizers to hold everything from makeup to underwear, use wall hooks for more use of vertical space, buy a label maker and label everything, come up with a rotating clothing system, or even purchase a custom-made closet that you can have installed for you. (You can even get a closet organization app like this one.) It doesn’t matter what you do so much as that you plan ahead. By having a plan of action and purchasing all the necessary supplies in advance, you can approach your closet organization like a pro.

Sort by donate, garbage, keep. Have three distinct sections as you go through your belongings—those items you want to donate, those you want to throw away, and those you want to keep. (You can also have one for a garage sale or online shop, if you want to make a little extra money on the side.)

Don’t put things down; put them away. Every item that crosses your path needs to have a home. Most of us build up clutter by simply putting items down instead of taking a few extra minutes to put them where they belong. Make a decision about every piece of clothing and/or item that you pick up and put it away accordingly. If you can’t find a home for it, then you either need to make one or reconsider if it’s an item you really need.

We also strongly recommend that you take a before and after picture. Nothing will make you feel better after a long weekend of organization than to reflect back on everything you accomplished!