Once upon a time, deep cleaning your closet was a seasonal feat. For some, it's a routine aspect of the change of seasons, for others, closet organization has long fallen under the category of spring cleaning. Nowadays, however, organization experts are encouraging folks to tidy up their closets year-round, and are eager to share endless closet organization ideas to inspire us all to do so.
See, that's the thing about organizing your closet: It's not always a one-size-fits-all approach. That's why Lisa Lawmaster Hess, author of Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff emphasizes the importance of embracing your own unique organizational style. “The most important tip for organizing anything is to make sure that the tools we're using work for us,” she says. “So often, we adopt things that work for other people and then become frustrated — and a little poorer — when those things don’t work for us.”
With that in mind, Hess says to consider your daily life before organizing your closet. Think about where you tend to place dirty clothes, clean clothes, shoes, purses, and accessories. Then, find ways to organize those spaces. “The organizer has to fit the user, and we need to make it as easy to put things away as it is to just put them down,” Hess explains.
Ready to find what works best for you? Ahead, find dozens of closet organization ideas to make the most of your wardrobe.
Create a system.
According to Lucy Milligan Wahl, owner of professional organizing company LMW Edits in San Francisco, it’s a good idea to keep your clothing neat, accessible, and visible. “I like to use shelf dividers to keep folded stacks of clothing tidy, as opposed to fabric bins which hide the clothes from view,” she explains. “I also believe in the power of matching hangers. When all your hangers match, they visually recede into the background and place your focus on the clothes.”
If your closet doesn’t have sections and compartments, consider adding a closet system with easily visible areas to give you something to work with.
Insert clothing divider tags.
While closet dividers are pretty much par for the course for parents, given how easy they make it to categorize baby clothes by age, the closet accessories can be beneficial for adults, too. This set from Etsy is sold in men's and women's options, in which the categories vary by common garments, including polos, jackets, and dress shirts for men, and dresses, sleeveless, and pants and skirts tags for women.
Make hangers work for you.
Barbara Brock, founder and CEO of Beauty & The Box and former president of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, says that color-coding your hangers can be a helpful closet organization hack, as well. By using different colors for different clothing categories, you'll be able to easily hone in on the garments you're searching for.
This multi-color set on Amazon is a great option thanks to the color selection, as well as the various nooks and hooks which ensure garments won't slip off the hangers.
Take advantage of your top shelf.
To keep your shelves organized, consider adding dividers for your belongings to nestle between. In doing so, you'll create clear boundaries for categories, which will keep your top shelves (and any others you might have) from becoming cluttered messes.
In our opinion, clear dividers like these work best, as they keep things separated and organized while still allowing users to see everything they have.
Hang your pants.
It’s typical to fold pants and pile them into a drawer, but Wahl suggests storing jeans on hangers because it takes up less room.
“The most space-saving method for hanging jeans is to clip them by the waistband like a skirt. This does require a taller space, like a long hang area where most people would store dresses and coats,” she says. “I also like to fold jeans and file them vertically in drawers or stack them on shelves using simple shelf dividers to keep the piles neat."
Leverage clever hangers.
If you're working with limited space in your closet, vertical hangers can be a godsend. This set comes with eight—each of which accommodates five regular hangers. The beauty of this design is that it can be hung traditionally or suspended from a single hanger, saving ample space in the process.
Pro tip: These hangers are also fabulous for travel. After hanging up everything you hope to pack, unhook the vertical hanger to lay your clothes flat into your luggage, tuck in the ends and you're good to go. When you arrive at your destination, you can pull the pre-assembled hanger out of your bag and transfer it directly to the closet.
Add some drawers.
While most closets are outfitted with rods to hang clothes, sometimes the open area underneath goes underutilized. Consider adding drawers to have contained spaces for the odds and ends that don’t quite fit in your dresser drawers.
Before you make a selection, take inventory of what those odds and ends are so you know the drawer sizes suitable for those items.
On the topic of drawers, don't forget to organize your unmentionables.
These drawer storage boxes are perfect for containing bras, underwear, tights, camisoles, and more. Made of nylon mesh, they’re soft, flexible, and lightweight. You can also wash them in a washing machine when dusty. This set comes with a six-compartment box, a seven-compartment box, and an 11-compartment box.
Light things up.
One thing that’s sometimes ignored when creating a tidy closet is lighting. “Be sure to have daylight light bulbs in your closet,” says Colleen Lunsford, a closet organization expert and image consultant with House of Colour. “This will help to see the true color of items of clothing, and determine if the style and color match other pieces in your wardrobe.”
These Joyzy automatic, motion sensor lights are great for closets, as they are wireless and rechargeable.
Don't forget about your accessories.
Another category you don't want to overlook while organizing your closet? Your hair accessories. Instead of tossing all your headbands into a bin and forgetting they exist, opt for one of these wildly popular acrylic headband holders from The Home Edit's collection at Walmart.
Put your bags where you can see them.
This acrylic handbag organizer will display and hold your smaller clutches and bags neatly in your closet. Each comes with four sections, so buy as many as you need to showcase your favorites. Only ideal for clutches, wallets, and small shoulder bags, you will want to consider hooks or bins for your larger handbags and backpacks.
Hang your handbags.
These simple S hooks are the solution to storing your prized purse possessions. Made of chrome metal, its twisted design utilizes the top part of the hook to hang on a rod, while the bottom part will hold your precious bags.
Utilize hangers with tiers.
Hangers with tiers easily stack your clothing items while hanging on your rod. “One of my favorite closet organizing hacks is using tiered hangers for hanging pants,” explains Andre Kazimierski, CEO of home service business Improovy. “Instead of individually hanging each pair of pants on a separate hanger, you save room by hanging them in the space of one. It’s a great design for cramped and spacious closets alike.”
Don’t underestimate hooks.
Let's be honest, some items are worn more frequently than others. Whether it's a robe, jacket, ball cap, or purse, over-the-door waterfall hooks can keep your favorite daily items vertically organized for easy access so you don't have to go digging through your closet to find them. Plus, they also make good use of otherwise unused door space.
Hang your storage.
If you don't want to add a drawer system to your closet in fear of it eating up precious floor space (a.k.a. shoe storage), consider hanging storage bins. This one has six compartments and can hold up to 40 pounds.
Declutter before you do anything else.
Don’t just jump into adding organization tools and containers. It won’t do you any good if you are bursting at the seams.
So what’s the best criteria to use for what to keep and what to toss? “Only keep the things that make you feel great when you wear them. Sometimes we've gotten stuck in a rut of wearing stuff we don't really love, and we don't think to incorporate some of our favorite pieces into our regular wardrobe,” says Wahl. “If you get rid of anything that makes you feel less than amazing, you'll be left with a closet full of pieces that inspire you to express yourself through your clothes!”
Use a heavy-duty, oversized storage bag to contain what you don’t need so you can easily donate to an organization you care about.
Put accessories on display.
The easiest way to keep track of all your gems and jewels is with a well-organized jewelry box. This acrylic system includes compartmentalized drawers complete with ring storage and pull-out earring racks.
Stack your jewelry.
If you don't want your jewelry storage to be quite so obvious, opting for a stackable system might better fit your fancy. These trays stack on top of each other, making for a compact storage solution that can sit atop your dresser or hidden within a drawer.
Get your shoes off the floor.
You’ll need to stack or tier your shoes in order to be able to store them all in your closet. Build them up by using a shoe organizer with racks — if there’s still room within the shelves, consider adding risers for extra tiers. Alternatively, you can try a rolling cart or a shoe organizer that hangs over the back of your closet door.
Keep boots intact.
It’s easy to store shoes, but boots provide a set of challenges because — depending on the bootleg height — they may fold over and won’t stand.
Wahl's suggestion? Stuff your boots while in storage. “I like the Innies brand of quilted boot fitters,” she adds. “They are precisely sized to make your boots look great in your closet.”
Brie Gatchalian is a mom of two, experienced cat mom, wife and freelance writer based in North Jersey. She loves finding the best products and sharing the info with family, friends and readers. She thoroughly researches before she buys, so you don't have to.
Rebecca Ravee Norris is a full-time freelance writer with a decade's worth of lifestyle media experience. Based out of the Washington metropolitan area, she writes for a variety of publications, covering everything from beauty and wellness to style and celebrity news. She is a graduate of George Mason University. There, she earned her B.A. in Media: Production, Consumption, and Critique, along with a minor in Electronic Journalism. When she's not working, she can be found with her beloved Jack-Chi, Cash, adventuring with family and friends, working through reps at the gym, dreaming up her next home decor project, testing a new recipe, getting lost in the pages of a book, or catching up on her favorite shows.
30 Genius Garage Storage and Organization Ideas
27 Organization Gifts for Friends Who Love Tidying
How to Organize Your Home, According to Pros
How to Clean Your House Quickly and Efficiently