What’s scarier than a closet bogeyman? A closet clutterbug, of course! If your bedroom wardrobe is feeling extra spooky these days, look to these foolproof closet organization tips to create a clean, stylish, and functional haven for your clothes and accessories. Everything you need to get started is below.
But first, we know what you’re wondering: What is the best way to organize my closet?
The answer? What works best for you. Successful closet organization typically goes like this: Get rid of clutter, build or install your chosen compartments or shelving, and create a specific space for each type of clothing and accessory. Like any organization project, the goal is to create a personalized but repeatable system that you can maintain over time.
Here are 10 clever organization tips from vlogger Shea Whitney to inspire you:
Okay, so how can I organize my small closet?
A tiny closet only needs a few upgrades to feel a thousand times more functional. For best results, focus on three main organization tips for small spaces: efficient folding methods, utilization of previously unused space, and dedicated sections for certain items. (And hey, a biannual purge doesn’t hurt, either.) Additional small closet organization ideas are covered below.
And how do I organize my closet on a low budget?
You really don’t need to spend big bucks to make a functional closet. In fact, for a zero-cost closet upgrade, start by only revamping your organizing methods. This means downsizing your wardrobe, rotating seasonal clothing, and using specialized folding and stacking methods — all tasks you can easily turn into long-term habits at no charge to you.
If you’re okay spending a little cash on closet organization, start by shopping for affordable bins or baskets and easy-to-assemble closet systems with simple designs. A few soft boxes, rack dividers, and damage-free hooks won’t run you more than $100, for example. From there, you can DIY all kinds of closet organizers just by repurposing common household items outlined below.
Now, onto our closet organization ideas.
1. Start With a Good Purge
The key to any home organization project is to downsize and declutter first. Think of it like pre-organizing for your organizing: You cut down on items you have to find spots for, free up new space for more important items, and help put yourself in a new Zen-like state of mind for moving forward.
Here are a few ways to gain closet space and reduce clutter:
- Tackle big real-estate items first. If you have better space elsewhere, move stuff like vacuums, camping gear, and large suitcases to a guest bedroom, basement, hallway closet, or garage.
- Make three piles labeled “Keep,” “Donate,” and “Toss” to sort your existing closet items.
- Donate clothes, jewelry, and other accessories you haven’t worn in six months, and toss damaged or unusable items.
- For “Keep” items, divide further by seasonality. Unless you’re in the thick of fall festivities, Halloween costumes and winter gear will go elsewhere, for example.
2. Utilize Other Space in Your Home
It’s easy to assume a bedroom closet is your only option for storing clothes and shoes — and to forget how convenient it might be to utilize an office or guest room as a walk-in closet. Take a look at all available space and shelving in your home to assess your closet potential. Are you actually using your whole office for work, or could one of its corners be repurposed as a wardrobe? Would your bedroom feel more clean and relaxing if you took out your dresser and clothes rack?
3. Use Storage to Declutter or Move Items Out of the House
Tackling a big declutter or organization project? You might need to upgrade your storage arsenal. Treat yourself to a portable storage container to help sort and access items. It’s like having a magic closet catch-all right in your driveway! And the best part? Storage containers can be delivered and picked up on your schedule, so you don’t have to be in any rush to make decisions.
4. Put a Dresser Below Your Hanging Items
A simple yet effective upgrade to any closet (especially a small one) is to place a dresser under your hanging items. This frees up space in your bedroom and makes a quick upgrade to your divider and storage options. It also doesn’t require installation like other closet systems; just place it where you want it and add your stuff!
5. Get an Additional Clothes Rack
If you’re working with a super small space or no closet at all, consider investing in a clothes rack. A tall closet system can be placed neatly in a corner of your bedroom or studio, while a shorter design helps to double up your existing closet space.
6. Use Dividers to Create Zones
Whether yours is an itty-bitty bedroom closet or Mariah Carey–style walk-in, look to closet dividers as a cheap and versatile way to organize your clothes and accessories. As you purchase or collect these containers, rack tags, and shelf dividers, consider methods for choosing what to place in each closet zone:
- Divide items by type, such as jeans, sweaters, and dresses.
- Arrange items based on height and bulkiness: Tops go on lower racks or shorter shelves, pants go on a hook rack or mid-level shelf, and long dresses and bulky coats go on higher racks and spacious shelving.
- If you’re a visual organizer, subdivide items by color (in rainbow order, of course, if you’re anything like The Home Edit ladies).
- Keep high-use items easy to access; tuck low-use items out of the way.
- Stick accessories on walls or their own shelf.
7. Install Drawers and Shelving
New drawers and closet shelving are a fab upgrade to your closet space — and may be easier to install than you think. Visit your hardware store to shop lumber, pegboards, slide-out bins, and hardware for DIY projects, or purchase a prefab shelving system for all-in-one installation.
8. Use Wall Space to Hold Smaller Items
Once you’ve maximized all your dividers, shelves, racks, and drawers, look to your walls to store jewelry and accessories. Here’s how to make this space more functional:
- Add a small towel rack with hooks to hold jewelry.
- Stick on clear plastic file holders or spice racks to hold beauty products.
- Hang wire bins on damage-free hooks to hold accessories and small clothing items.
9. Tackle Your Shoe Situation
Footwear takes up a lot of closet space, but there are plenty of ways to reconfigure. Here are just a few of our favorite ideas for organizing your shoes:
- Raise them off the ground with a rack or shelf; this will look much tidier.
- Display on pre-built shelves by color, type, or size.
- Use shoe stacking bins as an easy DIY purchase that doesn’t involve construction and fits nicely below your hanging items.
- Use over-the-door shoe racks. (You can also place these on the back of your bedroom door to save even more closet space.)
10. Embrace Better Folding and Hanging Methods
Once you’ve sectioned off different areas of your closet, it’s time to try all your new hanging and folding techniques. You have valuable space in all those drawers, shelves, and boxes; now it’s time to make it shine!
Here are some tips to make the contents of your closet feel elegant and functional:
- Use stacking methods for clothes on dividers and shelves, but not in drawers.
- For drawers, use the vertical or file folding method. (Think Marie Kondo.)
- Use special hangers to consolidate scarves, ties, and belts.
- Nest bras inside of each other to save drawer space.
- Store smaller bags inside bigger bags.
- Hang pants on a hook organizer, keeping them wrinkle-free and out of your rack and shelf real estate.
Dive into this super satisfying video featuring tons of folding and hanging hacks below:
11. Give DIY Vacuum Sealing a Try
When you need to store a bunch of stuff in a small closet space or backup storage, look to the space-saving powers of a vacuum seal. You don’t need to buy special tools or containers for this trick; some drawstring trash bags and a home vacuum work just fine.
Store your packed vacuum-sealed items on the top shelf or back of your closet, or place them in storage until you’re ready to rotate them back into use.
12. Organize With Reusable Labels
One final way to make your sorting efforts stick (get it?)? Label everything! DIY tags make it so much easier to see what goes where and keep your closet organized — all at virtually no cost to your organizing budget. The best part? You can make the labels say whatever you want them to say. Want to keep your concert t-shirts together? Have a box of socks without mates? A collection of love notes from your boyfriend in first grade? Put a label on them! No judgment here!
13. Add a Trash Can and Donation Bin to the Space
Once everything is placed perfectly in your newly organized closet, put a small trash can and bin labeled “Donate” in the space. If you have the room, these will help remind you to stay organized and keep things tidy for months to come!
Ready to tackle your closet clutter? Whether you’re redesigning on a budget or building a new walk-in wardrobe, let these closet organization ideas help optimize every square inch you have available. Who knows? You may end up wanting to tackle the rest of your house. And lucky for you, from organizing the garage to decluttering the kitchen, our Containing the Chaos blog has all kinds of tips and tricks to help. Happy stacking!
Amelia England is a content writer and regular contributor to the PODS blog. Her favorite home organization activities involve gardening, thrifting, and taking care of her dogs, chickens, and rabbits.