I Tried The Viral CORE 4 Method To Spring Clean My Closet & Dresser
#CleanTok really came through.
#CleanTok is a gold mine for finding organization hacks that’ll transform even the most cluttered apartment or dorm room into a zen, functional space with minimal effort. For instance, 2022’s popular FlyLady method simplified tidying up into just 15 minutes per day. Now, there’s a new spring cleaning technique called the CORE 4 Method going viral on TikTok for how easy and efficient it is for anyone to condense their stuff. TBQH, I don’t necessarily consider myself anyone; while I like to fancy myself pretty good at home organization — considering the amount of stuff I’ve managed to pack into a studio in New York City and the way I keep shopping for new things even though I have no business doing so — I knew I was hoarding extra clothing that I hadn’t touched in years, so it was definitely time to try something different (you know, to make room for new arrivals).
While scrolling on TikTok, I noticed people were loving the CORE 4 Method because it's one of the least intimidating spring cleaning systems out there. Unlike Marie Kondo’s KonMari or the One-Touch Rule, you don’t have to color coordinate or do anything fancy — you just have to reduce your stuff using four basic principles to get your space in order. The method’s creator, Kayleen Kelly, works as a professional organizer and has amassed nearly 1 million TikTok followers and over 3 million likes on her videos that teach people how to sort and pare down so they can finally get organized and stop living under a mountain of stuff. Though I don’t have a traditional bedroom to spring clean, I decided to apply the viral CORE 4 Method to my dresser and closet area so I could remember what I already had, clear out the forgotten stuff, and make room for spring and summer shopping. Here’s exactly how I did it:
CORE 4 Method Step 1: Clear Out
The first step in Kelly’s CORE 4 Method is to clear out, which means you have to essentially pull everything out of the space you’re decluttering and start separating random items that don’t belong there. I decided to start with my dresser because there are only two places in my studio that house my clothes: this dresser, which also serves as my entertainment center/TV stand, and a way-too-small closet with sliding doors.
This is what my bathing suit drawer looked like right when I opened it. I could already see that there were tons of non-swimsuit-related items in there, like those white leg warmers that were immediately popping out. I began by pulling out all of the swimsuits and throwing them in a pile, then pulling out all of the non-swimsuit items and separating those. From there, I was able to move on to step 2.
CORE 4 Method Step 2: Categorize
In addition to the tons of swimsuits and cover-ups that were in the drawer, I also had random costume-y items like sequin bras (I go clubbing, what can I say?), Halloween accessories like gloves and unitards, and tons of black tights and fishnet stockings. Here’s what everything looked like in its original dump-out:
I was shocked by the amount of tights I had. Indie sleaze may be having a resurgence on TikTok, but it’s not coming back to my life any time soon. I honestly can’t believe I went the entire winter without wearing tights once.
CORE 4 Method Step 3: Cut Out
Since I had a clear swimsuit/cover-up pile, a clear hose/fishnet pile, and a clear costume/Halloween pile, it was time to quick-edit. During this phase of Kelly’s home organizing system, she suggests using her three-second rule to get rid of what no longer serves you. Basically, the three-second rule means you pick each item up in each pile and make a decision of whether you should keep the item in three seconds; if you hesitate, it’s an automatic keep.
This is not in Kelly’s official decluttering rules list, but before I began, I told myself to automatically pull out things I hadn’t worn in a full year to put through the three-second test. I pulled out a few bathing suits I know for a fact I didn’t wear once last season and immediately decided to toss them. From there, the three-second rule felt much easier. I went through all of the tights and automatically tossed ones that had rips or holes in them. I kept most of my sequin bras/accessories, but threw out a pair of glittery shorts that I only wore once because they fit me a little funny. I knew I wouldn’t want to wear them again, so instead of letting them rot in the drawer, I decided to toss them to give them a new life.
I was shocked at how quickly this process sped by, and that I was able to focus on the task the entire time instead of getting distracted with my phone or whatever show I had playing in the background. I think the simplicity of this method helped me stay focused, and as I saw the pile of clothes I was planning to keep actually get smaller, I got more excited to continue.
CORE 4 Method Step 4: Contain
Once I had a clear idea of everything I was keeping, it was time to put those items back in the drawer. I decided that I’d use the entire drawer for swimsuits and cover-ups, and move my tights to my sock drawer (which I was about to tackle next).
Before I put them back, I looked up a TikTok video that showed the best way to fold up and organize swimsuits for a drawer and followed that. I rolled up each swimsuit according to color and kept the cover-ups to the far right side of the drawer. When I pulled out my drawer post-organizing, I could see every single swimsuit that I own, which will make choosing one so much easier. I mean, just look at the photo of them all beautifully color-coordinated and organized. This was a mood-boost in itself.
Applying The CORE 4 Method: Round 2
Next, I headed to the closet. Since I recently got rid of some stuff, I decided to put own little spin on the CORE 4 Method steps. Instead of pulling everything out (Step 1: Clear Out) and sorting them into different piles (Step 2: Categorize), I decided to go through quickly and pull out everything I hadn’t worn in the last year. From there, I applied Kelly’s three-second rule and quickly made some refreshing edits (Step 3: Cut Out). For example, there was a white dress that I skipped out on last summer because it reminded me so much of the year 2019 when I wore it religiously. I’ve felt like a different person over the past few years and wanted my full closet to reflect that.
I got rid of about seven pieces from my closet that I didn’t wear at all in the last year and felt really good about letting them go after using the three-second rule. I even freed up some hangers, which was an unexpected bonus. Then it was time to place things neatly back into the drawers (Step 4: Contain). Here’s the full pile of everything I’m getting rid of:
My neighborhood hosts a weekly farmers market where there’s also a huge textile/clothing donation drop-off, so I’m saving the pile for Sunday when I can walk it to the donation station.
While I have a smaller space than some of the clients you see on Kelly’s TikTok, her CORE 4 Method made the daunting task of spring cleaning way less intimidating, and it felt good to see the growing pile of stuff I decided to get rid of. It was also a great way to remember what I had and keep track of what I need in order to cut down on impulse buys. I think it’s safe to say that I found my new go-to system not only for spring cleaning, but also for when seasons change and I need a quick apartment refresh.