When you’re in a rush to get ready, you don’t want a cluttered closet to slow you down. The best way to handle the situation and reclaim time lost to sifting through a cluttered wardrobe is to organize it.
Maybe it’s been a while since your last wardrobe rehaul, or maybe you want to learn the best closet organization methods. Either way, this guide will show you how to organize your closets.
Where to Start When Organizing a Closet
An organized closet can declutter your wardrobe, your mind and your life. It’ll be easier to find the clothes, shoes and accessories you’re looking for, saving you time and stress. The best closet organization methods take a bit of time, so plan a day to go through your wardrobe and follow these steps:
1. Take Everything out of the Closet
The first step to an organized closet is creating a bit of a mess. Take everything out of the wardrobe and place it in your room. Then, either sort as you go, which you’ll find advice for in the next step, or wait until the closet is empty. Emptying your closet space creates a blank slate for future organization. Take this as an opportunity to install new organization furniture or shelves in your closet if you need them.
If you have a lot in your wardrobe, it may be best to work in sections or sort as you take everything out. Move items that aren’t clothes, shoes and accessories to another room to focus on your apparel, footwear and other pieces since they’re the bulk of your closet.
2. Sort Through Your Items
With your closet empty, it’s time to start sorting. Do this on the floor or your bed — wherever you have room. You can then either put your clothes, shoes and accessories into separate piles or piles together based on these categories:
- Keep: These are the items you know you wear. They fit, you like wearing them and they aren’t worn out.
- Donate: Put quality items that you don’t wear anymore in this pile. They could be anything that doesn’t fit, out-of-date styles or pieces you simply don’t wear anymore. As long as they’re in good condition, you can donate them somewhere.
- Toss: Get rid of items that you don’t wear and that aren’t in good shape. These are the pieces you can’t donate, but maybe you can turn the clothing into scrap fabric or rags.
- Maybe: This pile is for items you aren’t sure about yet. Perhaps you don’t know if they fit, or you haven’t worn them yet but want to. Keep this pile to the side until you put away what you’ll keep. Then you can see if you have space for them.
3. Try on Certain Pieces
If you haven’t worn some of your clothes in a while or you have a large maybe pile, it’s time for a try-on session. Get in front of a mirror or seek a second opinion and try on your clothing. As you do that, create the same piles you did earlier — keep, donate or toss. If you have a large keep pile already, you may need to make cuts to the maybe items. Evaluate whether you’ll actually wear those garments and if they fit properly.
4. Get Rid of Some Pieces
After you are done sorting and trying on, take the toss and donate piles out of your space. Bag up the donate pieces and either cut up or get rid of your items to toss. When these pieces are out of the room, you ensure that they don’t find their way back into the closet. It’ll also give you more space to spread out and organize the keep pile.
Systems for Organizing Your Closet
With everything out of your closet and organized, the next step is putting the keep items back. Use the blank slate to try a new way to organize your closet. Optimize your time getting ready and consider these closet organization ideas:
1. Organize a Closet by Occasion
Organize your closet based on the type of clothes, shoes and accessories you have. Create sections of your closet to make getting dressed by occasion easier. By separating these pieces, you’ll also have a better idea of how many items you have to wear for certain occasions. How you go about this closet organization method will depend on the clothing you own, but in general, you could split it by:
- Work: If you wear business casual clothes or particular outfits for your job, put them in an accessible part of your closet. That’ll make getting ready in the morning much easier.
- Weekend and after-work: You’ll likely wear these items almost as often as your work clothes. Keep your weekend and after-work items next to your work clothing or in another easily reachable section of your closet.
- Workout: If you have workout clothes, shoes and accessories, hang them separately from your other items. It’ll then be simple to dress and head to the gym or start working out.
- Formal: You may not wear formalwear as much as you do the rest of your wardrobe, but it still needs a place in your closet. Most formal clothes need to hang, so dedicating a place for them is necessary.
2. Organize a Closet by Season
Sort your clothing and accessories by the seasons you’d wear them in. Hang clothes for the current season in an accessible spot. You can then rotate pieces as the seasons change to keep items you currently need accessible. It’ll be easier to dress for each season since you won’t have to sift through warm-weather pieces to find cold-weather wear and vice versa.
This method can also allow for overlap between seasons if you have items you wear during spring and summer or fall and winter. Hang versatile pieces between clothing you only wear during one season. You may also have items you wear all year. Give those year-round pieces their own section that’s visible and within reach.
3. Organize a Closet by Style or Fit
Organizing your closet space by the type or fit of clothes is similar to seasons, but maybe you don’t wear specific pieces in specific seasons. Instead, you can organize your closet by the items. How you group your clothes based on the style or fit will depend on what you own, but you could consider grouping:
- Long-sleeved shirts, jackets, sweaters and cardigans.
- Short-sleeved shirts and tank tops.
- Dresses and skirts.
- Pants with similar styles, like jeans with jeans and work pants with work pants.
If you prefer to organize your closet by fit, you may need to do a bit of trying on. Then, put loose-fitting pieces together, group form-fitting pieces together and have another section for clothes that fit just right. Getting dressed will be easier, particularly if you pick your outfits based on the comfort level you want for the day.
4. Organize a Closet by Garment Length
If you have shelving or items you store on the floor of your closet, you don’t want to cover them with your clothes. Hang clothing by their length on the hanger, and keep longer garments like dresses, jackets and cardigans away from areas of your closet with items below. That’ll keep a section of the floor clear, and your longer items can hang freely without getting bunched up.
5. Organize a Closet by Color
Organizing your closet by color is a satisfying way to hang your clothes. This closet organization idea may be useful if you keep your wardrobe doors open often. Simply group your clothes into color categories. You may then hang them in rainbow order or based on what colors you tend to wear the most. Within the color categories, you can also organize by type. Go from short sleeves to long sleeves within one color section, for instance.
Organization Tips for Different Closet Types
Everyone’s closets are different, so you may find that some tips don’t work as well for your layout. In that case, consider the best closet organization methods based on the type of storage space you have. Consider how to organize a closet by type below:
Organize a Walk-In Closet
With a lot of room, it may be easier to organize a walk-in closet. You may also have a variety of storage solutions within this space, like different hanging areas, shelves and drawers. Try these tips to organize your walk-in closet:
- Create a designated spot for everything: How you try this organization method will depend on your walk-in’s layout, but you can categorize your closet based on one of the methods above. You could then group categories of clothes, shoes and accessories on different walls of the closet.
- Utilize drawers and shelves: Store items like shoes, accessories and small clothing items in the drawers and shelves of your closet. If you do use those already, be sure to go through them in your closet clear-out and organize them.
- Add containers and bins for small items: If you have small accessories, socks and underwear to keep in your walk-in closet, give them containers to stay organized in. Using bins in your walk-in is especially useful if you don’t have drawers.
- Get drawer organizers: If you have a walk-in closet with drawers, you know they can become a bit unorganized. Keep them tidy with drawer organizers. These inserts give you cubbies in a drawer that make it easier to separate small items and see them without digging through the drawer.
Organize a Reach-In Closet
A reach-in closet is smaller than a walk-in, but it usually has a similar setup. There’s room to hang clothes and possibly other storage solutions. To keep a reach-in closet organized, follow these tips:
- Add storage at the floor: If you only have hanging room in your reach-in, add floor storage for more space. Get shelves to stack your shoes, bins to hold bulky items and drawers to store accessories.
- Use other storage solutions: A small reach-in closet means you have to prioritize space. Get storage solutions outside of your closet, like dressers and shelves, to put items you don’t need to hang.
Organize Armoires and Wardrobes
Wardrobes and armoires are smaller, but that doesn’t mean you can’t organize them. You may have a wardrobe as a way to get additional closet space or it may be your only storage solution. Either way, you can use these tips to organize an armoire or wardrobe:
- Utilize the drawers: If your armoire has drawers on the bottom, use them to maximize your space. Put socks, underwear and out-of-season items in the drawers to keep them safe and stored without getting in the way of your hanging garments.
- Add tension rods: Create more hanging space by adding tension rods to your wardrobe. Where you put them will depend on the layout of your armoire and what clothes you have. You can then have separate hanging areas for pants and tops all in one wardrobe.
- Use other storage methods: You won’t be able to fit shoes and accessories in your armoire or wardrobe. Instead, get a shoe rack and accessory storage solutions to use in combination with your wardrobe.
Organize a Linen Closet
While a linen closet holds different items than a wardrobe or bedroom closet, many organization steps are the same. To organize a linen closet, use these tips:
- Take everything out of the closet, as you would with a clothes closet.
- Sort your linens based on whether you want to keep them, donate them or repurpose them for rags.
- Fold towels and sheets to fit neatly on shelves, using shelf dividers or baskets to hold items as needed.
- Get bins or containers for small items, like toiletries or first aid items, and label them appropriately.
How to Maximize Space in Your Closet
You’re already on your way to maximizing your closet space if you got rid of things you don’t wear anymore. But there are a few other ways to turn your organized closet into an efficient setup that best utilizes every inch of space. Discover how to maximize space in a closet with these methods:
- Use slim hangers: Velvet hangers and similar slim styles eliminate bulk when you hang clothes. You’ll be able to fit more in your closet or spread out hanging clothes to have a better idea of what items you own.
- Limit the empty hangers: While most of your empty hangers are a sign that it’s time to do laundry, they create bulk. And if you have extra empty hangers that won’t hold clothes even after you do laundry, they take up unnecessary space. Store extra hangers somewhere else in your closet or your room to free up space and eliminate the look of a cluttered wardrobe.
- Utilize all the closet space: Your wardrobe isn’t just the shelves and hanging room inside — you have the floor, the inside of the door and the walls inside to use. To maximize your closet space, add hooks, storage containers, shelves and other organization methods throughout.
- Fold bulky clothes: If you have the space somewhere else for sweaters, jeans and other items, use it. Hanging bulky pieces not only risks damaging the clothes and your hangers, but it also takes up too much valuable hanging room. Fold bulky garments and place them in cubbies or on shelves in your closet.
- Get different storage methods: Have room for a dresser or storage furniture? Utilize those in combination with your closet. That helps free up space, which you can then prioritize for hanging clothes. Keep pieces you don’t need to hang like socks and pajamas in drawers and out of your closet.
- Shop smart: When you buy new clothes, try to think where they’ll go in your closet. Do you have space for new things? Will you actually wear this item, or will it take up valuable wardrobe real estate? Shopping smart helps eliminate clutter you’d have to deal with in the long run.
- Don’t overcrowd: If your closet is stuffed as you add your clothes, shoes and accessories back in, you may need to cut more. An overcrowded wardrobe makes it difficult to find what you’re looking for. Donate more clothing and move things that aren’t apparel and accessories to another storage area.
Clean Your Clothes With Classic Drycleaners
If organizing your closet has unearthed clothes that need to be cleaned or dry cleaned, we at Classic Drycleaners are ready to help! Whether you’re looking for dry cleaning or wash and fold services, we have what you need. Freshen your wardrobe with clean clothes from Classic Drycleaners and an organization rehaul.