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How to Organize Your Closet in 7 Easy Steps

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Sep 8, 2020 • 5 min read

Even the tidiest homeowners can struggle with closet organization. Closets fit everything from shirts to shoes to miscellaneous storage, which means that they can quickly become messy. While an organized closet may seem like it’s too big of a job, you can easily break it down into simple steps for a straightforward weekend task.

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6 Tips for Organizing Your Closet

Before you begin organizing your closet, here are some tips and tricks to maximize your efficiency:

  1. Take advantage of wall space. If your closet has a lot of vertical space, don’t let it go to waste. Consider adding mounted hooks, floating shelves, shoe racks, or even storage pockets that hang over your closet door to help add in extra storage places for clothes, shoes, and jewelry.
  2. Keep the floor space clear. While it’s very common to store shoes or handbags on the ground, a cluttered closet floor can make your space feel messy or small. If you’re running into this problem, try to find another place to store your floor items—for instance, open shelves or cubbies are great shoe organizers.
  3. Make space for jewelry. Tops, bottoms, and shoes are wardrobe essentials—but jewelry is another great supplement that helps polish an outfit. If you’re an avid jewelry-wearer, consider setting up space in your closet where you can easily see your necklaces, bracelets, watches, rings, and other small items (like wall hooks or velvet jewelry organizers). Storing them neatly in this space will keep them from getting tangled and disorganized, and will help you better visualize jewelry pairings when picking outfits.
  4. Uniform hangers. If you feel like your closet storage plan is looking a little haphazard or messy, take a look at your hangers—chances are, you have many different types of hangers, in various sizes, shapes, and colors. To help streamline your closet and make it look more uniform, consider buying a full set of matching hangers, which will give your closet a deliberate, polished look.
  5. Bring in the light. Dim lighting tends to make a closet look cluttered or unappealing. When giving your closet a makeover, consider changing the lighting. Floor lamps, table lamps, or pendant lights are great ways to bring light into your closet and make it look cheery, clean, and organized.
  6. Replace the storage boxes. If there’s a stack of unsightly cardboard boxes or shoe boxes at the back of your closet—whether you’re using them to store documents, souvenirs, or old clothes—it will look like clutter. Replace your cardboard boxes with more attractive storage solutions—like wire drawers, wicker baskets, storage bins, or crates—to give your closet a quick facelift. Try tucking those storage containers on a top-shelf.

How to Organize Your Closet in 7 Steps

Ready to take the plunge and reorganize your bedroom closet? Here’s a step-by-step guide for organizing your closet:

  1. Clear everything out of your closet. The first step to closet organization is to clear everything out—take out all of your shirts, shoes, pants, etc. This allows you to start with a clean slate and prevent you from clinging to old organizing habits that aren’t working. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of reorganizing, consider taking out one section at a time—for example, all of your jeans—and evaluating them systematically, rather than heaping everything on your bed at once.
  2. Sort your clothes into groups. There are many ways that people like to group their clothes—for instance, according to function (like exercise clothes or formalwear) or by color—so feel free to sort your clothes in whichever way appeals most to you. A basic way to organize your clothes is by type (for example, tops, bottoms, shoes, undergarments), and then by subcategories within those types (for example, group shirts according to T-shirts, button-ups, or blouses).
  3. Decide what clothes are ready for donation. An oft-overlooked step when organizing your closet is decluttering—but it’s essential if you want to have a streamlined closet you love. First, lay out all of the clothing items from one of your sorted groups to see how many items you have and if you have any duplicates. Look at each article of clothing individually and ask yourself: “Do I wear this? Do I love this?” If you say no to either of these questions, consider putting it in a separate pile to donate to a secondhand store or consignment shop. If you’re having a hard time decluttering, consider asking a friend or family member to help you make the tough decisions. Remember, your goal doesn’t have to be minimalism, but rather, focusing your wardrobe into what works best for you.
  4. Clean your closet. While your clothes are out of your closet, it’s a great time to do a quick deep-clean—dust, wipe down closet shelves, vacuum the floor, and buff out any scuff marks on the walls. It’ll make your closet feel new again and ready to be organized.
  5. Evaluate your closet space. While your closet is empty, take a look at it. Evaluate the amount of hanging space and shelves you have, and whether your sorted groups will fit in those spaces. Do you prefer hanging clothes so you can see them better, or do you like neatly folded stacks of clothes? When deciding on your ideal closet design, consider ways to add in new organization and storage ideas. You can add shower rods or a clothes rack to your closet for more hanger space. You can buy a bookcase or cubby for shoe storage. You can install shelving on the wall for folded clothes or storage space and set up shelf dividers to give you a little extra space. Take a look at closet organizers online—usually shelving units with closet rods attached—to see if you can DIY something similar or buy a premade unit.
  6. Put your clothes back in. Next, it’s time to add your clothes back into the closet. Be sure to follow the new closet system, but feel free to make tweaks along the way if you see a better way to organize it.
  7. Reevaluate regularly. After a few months of using your new-and-improved closet, it’s time to reevaluate. Are you still sticking to your organizational methods? Is there a way you can improve your original idea to tailor it even more to your needs and habits? In addition to thinking about organization, it’s a good idea to declutter your closet every few months—remove clothes that you don’t wear or love and setting them aside for donation.
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Kelly Wearstler Teaches Interior Design
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