Organizing your closet is a simple way to make your life a little easier. These spaces can quickly become overstuffed with clothing, accessories, and other items we no longer need or use, which can make sorting through your belongings and organizing your closet seem like a daunting task. Trust us—it’ll be worth it when you don’t have to dig through piles of clothes to find that perfect outfit, or when your in-laws make an unexpected visit and you need to find a set of sheets or towels.
|PRO TIP: Before you get started, make sure you’re giving yourself adequate time to organize your closet. 2-3 hours per closet should be sufficient, depending on how big it is and how much stuff you have to sort through.|
Decluttering your closet
Whether you’re tackling your coat closet, linen closet, or bedroom closet, the best place to start is always to declutter. Start by taking everything (yes, everything) out of your closet. Once your closet is empty, take some measurements so you know how much space you have and can get a better idea of what kinds of organization supplies you might need to purchase.
|PRO TIP: While your closet is empty, clean it out. Wipe down shelves and rods, dust, and vacuum the floor.|
Before you start loading things back into your closet, evaluate each item and decide whether to keep, toss, donate, or sell it. If you can’t decide, ask yourself these questions:
- When was the last time you wore or used the item? If you haven’t used it in six months or you haven’t worn it in over a year and it’s not something you save for special occasions, it’s probably time for that item to go.
- What’s more valuable to you—the item, or the cleared space?
- If you were shopping right now, would you buy that item?
- Does the item spark joy?
The KonMari Method
Looking for a different approach to organizing your closet? The KonMari method of simplifying and organizing your home has inspired countless people to ditch the clutter and streamline their spaces. Outlined by best-selling author and lifestyle expert Marie Kondo in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the KonMari method teaches that only items that spark joy and which you truly, deeply love belong in your home. Anything else must go!
After you’ve sorted through your belongings, you can organize what you’ve decided to keep into separate piles, such as clothing, shoes, accessories, towels, sheets, or other supplies. These piles will help you visualize how much stuff you have to store versus how much space you have to store it in, as well as what storage or organization supplies you may need to purchase.
How you organize your closet depends on how much space you have and what items you store in that particular closet. Here are some general organization tips to help get the ball rolling:
- Break your closet into zones. Store the most-used items at eye level, lesser-used items below, and the least-used items higher up. Take a look at this well-organized closet by @restorethehome for inspiration:
- Take advantage of vertical space by adding shelves or shelf risers above closet hanging rods.
- Hanging space is more efficient than shelf space, so if you have to chose, opt to maximize your hanging space.
- Add lights, such as LED motion sensing lights, so you can easily see what’s inside each closet.
- Use clear containers for storage. They may not look as polished as luxe wicker or cloth baskets, but it will be easier to see what’s inside. If you love the look of wicker or cloth baskets, label them so you can see at a glance what’s inside.
- Shelf dividers can help you keep towels, sweaters, and other soft items tidy.
- Maximize drawer space using the KonMari method of folding like @sophisticatedorganization.
With these tips in mind, let’s take a closer look at organizing your bedroom, coat closet, and linen closet.
Bedroom closets are typically used to store clothes, shoes, and accessories. Some of these items should be hung while others are best folded and stored on shelves, and finding the right balance can be a difficult task. Here are a few tactics for keeping your clothes and other apparel organized:
- Set up zones based on the way you think about your wardrobe. Think about what system will work best for you: for example, you could organize your wardrobe by garment type, color, season, frequency of use, or occasion.
- Some hanging items, like shirts and slacks, require less vertical space. Bars and hanging rods mounted at different heights can help you maximize available space.
- Hanging shoe organizers can be repurposed to store bulky items like sweaters, which shouldn’t be hung - hanging knits can pull them out of shape.
- Staggering shoes heel to toe on shoe racks can help you reclaim space and fit more footwear in your closet.
- Towel bars mounted on walls or closet doors are great for storing scarves and other accessories.
Your front coat closet can easily become overloaded and disorganized, especially if you have kids or you’re often on the go.
|PRO TIP: Coat closets are great places to use two hanging rods, particularly if you have younger kids so they can reach their own coats|
Keep frequently used items easily accessible. While your bedroom closet offers more flexibility in terms of what system of organization you can employ, coat closets are often best organized according to seasonality. You shouldn’t have to fight with bulky winter coats in the middle of summer to locate your favorite jean jacket!
Try this closet organization hack by @horderlynyc - no shoes are allowed past the front closet!
Out of all the closets in our homes, linen closets have the greatest tendency to become catch-alls for things we don’t know where or how to store. After you empty your linen closet, sort your linens into categories, such as:
- Bath towels
- Beach towels
- Guest towels
- Kitchen towels
- Sheets. Sheets can be further organized according to which room they get used in, such as kids’ rooms or guest bedrooms.
- Table linens, such as tablecloths or cloth napkins
|PRO TIP: If you have the space, store linens where they are needed most. For example, it may be more practical to store kitchen towels in or near your kitchen so you don’t have to climb up the stairs every time you need a dishcloth.|
Keep your linen closet in order with these tips:
- Store sheet sets in their pillow case so they are easy to identify and everything stays neatly contained.
- Stack folded linens with the folded edge facing outwards. This will make them easier to grasp and pull out without disturbing the rest of the stack.
|PRO TIP: As a general rule, two sets of sheets per bed, and two sets of bath towels per person per week, is typically adequate|
- The bottom of your linen closet is a great place to store bins of bulky or loose items.
- Make the most of your space by optimizing the way you fold your towels based on the layout of your closet.
|PRO TIP: Storing your linens with sachets of your favorite soap will keep your sheets and towels smelling nice and prevent that musty smell.|
Small closets can be especially difficult to organize - and keep organized. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of limited closet space:
- If you live in a small space, replace traditional swinging doors with curtains, hanging screens, or sliding doors.
- Make the most of door and wall space by using over-the-door shoe organizers, coat racks, hooks, and towel racks. Shoe organizers can be used for more than just shoes - they’re also great for storing accessories, jewelry, gloves, belts, handbags, beauty products, and other items you use frequently.
- Rotate your clothes according to season. Store off-season clothes in airtight containers under your bed or on higher shelves.
- Invest in space-saving hangers like cascading hooks, tiered shirt hangers, shallow hangers, or super-thin hangers. Soda can tabs can be used to DIY your own cascading hangers.
- Maximizing door space can also help you clear clutter from other spaces. @spacewiseorganizing used towel racks to help organize craft supplies:
- Take advantage of floor space by using shoe organizers for shoes you wear often, or for other accessories and off-season storage. Storing shoes you don’t wear often on higher shelves or in another location, such as a different closet or under your bed, can also help you streamline your wardrobe.
- If you store extra bedding, pillows, or off-season garments like coats in your closets, you may wish to consider investing in space-saving vacuum seal bags. These bags can be stored in your closet or stashed under your bed.
- Containers like baskets or boxes are perfect for tidily stowing away items on shelves.
What if you don’t have a closet?
If you live in a densely populated urban area or an older home, there’s a good chance you won’t have any closet space at all. If this the case, you can integrate storage into other rooms using wall racks, shelf units, and hangers. Ladder shelves can be used to hang scarves and shoes, or you could even mount one to your wall to hang other clothes. Freestanding garment racks are also easy to find in a range of styles at different price points.
Closet organization products and supplies
Closet organization products like shelf systems, containers, and hooks can be immensely helpful, and don’t need to be expensive.
If you’re planning to invest in some organization supplies, measure your space first so you know exactly how much space you have to work with. The last thing you want is to end up with more supplies than you have room for—it’s just more clutter you’ll have to deal with later.
|PRO TIP: Measure your closet three times, especially if it’s a small closet. Triple checking your measurements can save you a trip to the store to return supplies you don’t have space for.|
Take stock of what you have to store and think carefully about what kinds of supplies will work best for you. You may have some other items hanging around your house that can be repurposed for closet storage, such as:
- Old furniture like bookshelves or cubbies
- Organization supplies that aren’t being used in other spaces, such as baskets or other collapsible containers
- Office supplies like file sorters
The trick to keeping your closets tidy after you’ve decluttered and sorted through your belongings is to make closet organization easy to maintain. Here are some tactics to help you stay organized:
- Go through your closet once per season to get rid of items you no longer need or wear.
- Turn your hangers backwards at the start of the season. Any hangers that are still hanging backwards at the end of the season are good candidates for tossing or donation.
- Employ the “one in, one out” rule - if you buy something new, something old needs to go. This will help curb impulse purchases, as well as keep your closet in good shape.
Now that your closet organization is under control, keep the ball rolling by adding some order to other spaces in your home.