If you are in the midst of newly reorganizing, I recommend taking everything out and starting with a blank slate. This is especially helpful if you will be adding shelving or purging old clothes you no longer want. Organizing around your already hung or put away items may actually prove more difficult than taking everything out, starting fresh, taking a good look at your space, and making a plan of attack.
By starting with a blank canvas, you can see the true potential of your closet space. You can even draw out a plan on a spare sheet of paper. This is a great way to visualize and bring your creativity into play.
Assess your closet space
Take a good look at the space. How much space is really there from top to bottom? What would fit nicely? Draw it out, and see what comes to mind. The goal is to create a permanent solution, not organize today, only to need to do it again in a few months. So, what would be a more fluid, practical, long-term solution to make finding things and putting them away easier?
Take a look at your space, now that it's bare, and we have a wonderful blank canvas to work with. Think about how you can better use your space going forward.
Ask yourself the important questions
- Is it too big or too large for your current items?
- How can you use the space vertically and horizontally to maximize its storage abilities?
- Are you taking advantage of the corners and floor space?
- What space aren't you taking advantage of that could be put to better use? Have you ever noticed the huge vertical space available on the back of the door? What could hang there?
- What are the dimensions of your closet? Do all your clothes generally fit in that space, or do you find yourself stuffing and hanging things beyond capacity?
- How many items do you have? How many hangers? Are there enough hangers for all your hangable items? Do you have too many hangers? Could you be storing the extras elsewhere?
These questions can be quickly answered to resolve the biggest issue with closet organization: maximization of space. If the space is too small for the items you currently have, there is surely space you haven't thought to put to use.
I cannot stress this enough. There is someone out there that could make use of your unwanted items or who may need them badly. You know that sweater you never wear? The one with the tags still on it that you got two birthdays ago, but doesn't fit you, right? Someone else may be in need of clothes and unable to afford them. Did you know men's clothing and women's intimates are among some of the most needed items?
Different ways to donate clothes
Looking for different ways to donate? I worked in a nursing home and behavioral health unit for years. Many nursing homes will accept donations of clothing and other items, including jewelry and shoes. Take them to your local church or shelter. These items are priceless to those who can't afford them and consider them a luxury.
You can make your closet cleaner while giving back to the community. So, before you throw those unwanted clothes away, ask yourself if someone else might need them. Alternatively, if you want to make some extra cash, consider selling them to your local consignment shop.
Shelving can be an effective way to store shoes, folded clothes, storage bins, shoeboxes full of old memorabilia, or miscellaneous items.
In my closet, I have shelves like the ones pictured and storage bins that hold hats, gloves, tights, and hand warmers. I find it easy to pull one out and take a peek for those that match my outfit that day. You can also use them to stack other organizers that you might not want to be on the floor or to store bins with seasonal clothes in them.
I find shelving is the best way to maximize the space since it can also be used to hang clothes, and it's more affordable than you might think.
With this kind of shelving, you are maximizing vertical and horizontal space by stacking items along the shelves and hanging clothes from them. Consider hanging them from different heights depending on where you will hang certain clothes. Maybe t-shirts fit between shelves A and B, and pants fit below.
I have my t-shirts on the right-hand side of my closet, tank tops on the left, and pants below tank tops. I always know which section I will find my favorite pair of jeans because there is a section for everything, and I stick to it.
I figured this out by taking a good look at my closet and working with the space I already had. I knew my dresses would fit best on the left. My camis on the right. In your closet, what fits where?
Map it out
- Where do your dresses fit without getting bunched up on other shelves?
- Look at the dimensions when you consider where to put which items.
- Also, consider where they go on your body. Work from top to bottom, head to toe. Pants are on the lower part of your body, so consider hanging them on a lower shelf if you have one. Shirts should hang on the higher shelves since they are on the upper part of your body.
Using this method will help you visualize your outfits in the morning, making getting dressed easier and more effective.
This might sound like a small detail, but sometimes the little details make the biggest impact. Make sure all your hangers face the same direction; it makes grabbing things easier. It also makes things look nice and neat, just like you have been dreaming your closet would look.
The hanger hook's opening should always face the closet wall; otherwise, it takes maneuvering to get the hanger off and back on. Also, consider what kind of hangers you should use in your space.
Hangers to use
- While wire or metal hangers take up the least space, they are the most damaging for clothes.
- Wooden hangers are decorative and more gentle but are also bulkier and take up more space.
- Velvet hangers are thinner than wooden and more gentle than metal or wire.
- Plastic takes up less space and is the cheapest option but the easiest to break.
I prefer using my closet for all my clothing versus having a dresser and a closet. Having everything in one place simplifies my life, and I find no reason why I can't fit it all in one place and neatly tuck it away for when I will use it next. I use an organizer that has two drawers. In the top drawer, I keep my intimates, and in the bottom, I keep socks (socks are on the lowest part of the body, so I put them in the bottom drawer).
Dressers and organizers
- If you have a big enough closet, consider putting a small dresser inside your closet if you need more than two drawers and want maximum space.
- If you are looking for an affordable option but still need a dresser with more space, consider a fabric dresser.
- For a small space, a plastic compact organizer with just a few small drawers works great.
I have a hanging shoe organizer for the back of my closet door. Not only does it make use of the space on the back of my door that might have otherwise been overlooked, but it protects my shoes from dust and keeps my closet floor clear.
There are many types of shoe organizers that might work depending on your space. Maybe you have a pocket or sliding door in your closet and don't have a space for a hanging shoe organizer.
Bamboo or rack style — This is a beautiful option if you have the floor space for a rack style show organizer, and it has a great boho look!
Storage boxes — This tier of plastic storage boxes is a practical option if you are worried about protecting your shoes from furry friends.
Hanging shoe organizer — This hanging shoe organizer is hung inside the closet instead of the closet door.
Door hanging shoe organizer — This is a hanging shoe organizer that hangs from the door, but instead of pockets, it has shelves so that you can store shoes that might not fit in pocket organizers.
Shoe protecting boxes — You can use shoe boxes to protect your shoes in conjunction with other shelving.
Adding bins and baskets to your closet for items like hats, scarves, belts, intimates, or other miscellaneous accessories is an affordable way to bring your style from the bedroom into your closet. Baskets like these are cheap and often a way to repurpose baskets or decorative storage bins you already have. Think of them as a decorative way to keep your clothing or extras organized.
How to use bins, baskets, and boxes
- Use baskets to store socks or inmates on your shelves instead of a dresser or organizer.
- Use them for memorabilia, like pictures.
- Use them for pajamas or comfortable clothing.
- Use them to store swimwear.
- Use them to keep things separate and easy to find, like keeping athletic wear separate from everyday clothing.
I have an old shoebox full of pictures and keepsakes on my top shelf, so they don't need to be expensive decorative boxes or even cost you a dollar. They just need to be functional for you and your purposes.
I am a huge fan of rolling clothes. I traveled while getting my bachelor's degree and, like many, learned the rolling instead trick to conserve space in my suitcase and avoid creasing. I quickly realized it made sense to roll my shorts and tank tops too.
Benefits of rolling clothes
- It makes finding things easier since no one clothing item is underneath another. Everything is right there in front of you.
- Rolling clothes prevents digging for a particular clothing item, only to mess up the other folded clothes, keeping things more organized in the long run.
- It prevents wrinkles that come with folding, preventing the need to iron and making you look more put together.
- Rolling, as I mentioned above, also saves tons of space. If we pack to save space, why wouldn't we do the same with our closets?
- It looks nice. It looks organized and purposeful, which is the point right?
Whether you make a DIY jewelry organizer, get one that hangs from your shelving like mine, or even use Command Hooks, hanging your jewelry at eye height, and near your clothes, helps make planning your outfits much easier. When you can see all your items next to each other, you can see what goes and what doesn't without having to make five trips to the mirror in five different necklaces.
- Jewelry tower — Consider a jewelry organizer that has drawers for smaller items and hooks for hanging necklaces.
- Hanging jewelry organizer — I'm a big fan of this option, you can see all your items right alongside your clothes, and it hangs from your shelving without taking up any horizontal space.
- Command Hooks — When I was in college, I used command hooks on either side of my closet. This is an easy, affordable option.
I swear by these. I have had mine for years. It's survived three moves, and years of hanging, and it's managed to stay in perfect condition. I put my pajamas, comfort wear, and other items in it to keep them protected from dust but easy to access.
Pro's of hanging organizers
- They are dustable and usually made of mold-resistant material.
- You can move them easily if you decide to reorganize since they hang using cloth and velcro, but are still durable (mine has never come undone or fallen on its own).
- Hanging organizers often come with shelving, hanging hampers that connect to the bottom of them, or pockets for lint rollers and other extras.
- They come in practically every color and style.
- They make use of vertical space.
While I tend to roll my casual tank tops and put them in a bin on my shelf, I like to use a cami hanger for undershirts, camis I wear more frequently, or camis that are more decorative or dressed up and can be worn on their own. Make life easier by making what you use most, easiest to reach and see.
Uses for cami hangers
- Use cami hangers to hang all your bras.
- Cami hangers can be used to hang multiple sundresses.
- Use cami hangers to hang swimwear.
- Use cami hangers to hang your sports bras or athletic wear.
As long as the straps fit within the divots of the cami hangers, you can use them for any clothing you see fit!
Scarves are one of my favorite go-to accessories. I also love to knit. Consequently, I have many scarves and find hanging them to be the best way to find what I am looking for. Like with jewelry, I want to be able to scan for what I want, grab it, accessorize, and go. By hanging them from the pole on the shelving unit, I can see them next to my other clothes and quickly decide which one will match my outfit.
It's important that my scarves are near my shirts, which corresponds to how I will be wearing them, what they will be closest to while wearing them, and makes sense to the top to bottom, head to toe, organization method I take with my closet.
Hang other accessories
- Belts — When you buy belts, they are never wrapped up. You buy them hanging from a hook. Consider doing something similar. Using Command Hooks.
- Ties — Consider hanging ties from a multi-use hanger or even draping them over a regular hanger.
Consider storing a hamper in your closet that is for clothes only. You can even do them by item and color to make washing easier. By storing a hamper in your closet, you don't have to go looking for that pair of pants you can't find in the closet that you may or may not have worn but aren't sure about. You can bend down, take a peek, and confirm without leaving your closet.
Perks of having a hamper in your closet
- By keeping a hamper in your closet for clothes only, you protect those clothes from musty towels.
- A hamper being close by when searching for something to wear allows you to find a clothing item more easily than one you might suspect is dirty.
- By keeping a hamper for clothes only, you protect your clothing from the transference of dirt or debris from other household laundry like kitchen towels.
- It's also easier to prioritize a quick load of laundry without having to first dig for what you want to wash. Those work slacks you need by tomorrow morning are right there. Just throw them in and leave the towels (which are safely stored in a different hamper) for another day.
Share your tips and tricks for organizing below!