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How to Organize a Closet + 7 Easy Closet Organization Ideas and Upgrades

By Jessica Earley
August 4, 2021

Are you ready to declutter and organize your closet but don’t know where to start? Good news! This guide outlines how to organize your closet in just a few simple steps. We’ve also rounded up simple, DIY closet organization ideas and closet storage solutions that will have your small closet functioning just like a spacious walk-in—with room for every shirt, sweater, and shoe!

How to Organize a Closet in 11 Simple Steps

Ready to tackle your messy closet? You’re in luck! Within a weekend or a few evenings, our closet organization guide can have your closet clean and organized with a few DIY upgrades, space-saving folding techniques, and repurposed items from your home!

1. Downsize and Declutter

folding clothing lifestyle

The first and most important part of closet organization is facing this fact: you might just have too much stuff! Take everything out of your closet and make three piles—keep, donate, or toss. All of the items you really love and wear often should have top priority in your closet and everything else should go. If it doesn’t fit, consider donating it. Ripped or stained clothes have no business taking up needed space in your closet.

2. Utilize Other Space

Is every shoe or piece of clothing you own in the bedroom closet? Maybe they don’t have to be. If your closet is small but you have other space in your home, don’t be afraid to move some items out of the bedroom. Put coats, jackets, and your most-worn shoes in an entry-way closet or mudroom. Consider putting a clothing rack in an office or storage room to hang bulkier items. Store seasonal attire in bins under your bed or in the garage. Any way you go, just focus on finding an exact spot for everything—even outside your closet.

3. Add Shelving, Dressers, or Rods

shelving lifestyle

One of the best ways to organize a small closet is by utilizing unused space by adding extra shelving, dressers, or rods. Extra shelving is great for maximizing space because they can be installed from floor to ceiling. Yes, you can install pre-made shelves or build your own, but what about seeing if a bookshelf fits? You may already have one or you could easily find cheap ones at garage sales or Facebook Marketplace.

Another way to utilize space in your closet—and free up some space in your bedroom—is to put your dresser in your closet. Just make sure to put it under your shorter hanging items!

If you have just one rod, consider adding a second rod below the first to hang shorter things like pants and skirts. You can easily find the same wood rods at the hardware store that are already in your closet. But if you’re renting and don’t want to screw things into the wall, you can also use a tension rod.

4. Organize Hanging Clothing by Type or Color

hangers lifestyle

One of the quickest ways a closet can start to look messy is if all your hanging clothes are just hung on your rod randomly. It’s easier to see everything you have and keep clothes looking nice if you organize them by color, by type, or a mix of both!

By Type

For any of these organizing methods, start from left to right. First, hang your pants and skirts. Second, put all your short sleeved shirts together. Next, group your long sleeve shirts, sweaters, and jackets. Finish with long items like dresses or longer jackets. The progression from longer to shorter items helps maximize space because you can put extra shelving, shoe racks, or additional rods under the shorter-hanging items.

By Color

Consider organizing your clothing by color. Not only will it add a lovely color gradient to your closet, but organizing by color can help you find clothing faster. The order is really up to you, but we like starting with your lightest colors (like white or cream) and get progressively darker (ending with greys and blacks).

A Mix of Both

Does a mix of both options sound better to you? Do it! First, start with pants and skirts (no matter the color). Next, hang all your shirts, mixing long and short sleeves together, but keep them grouped by color. Next, toward the back of your closet, hang sweatshirts and jackets. Finish with long items like dresses and you’re good to go!

5. Utilize Bins and Baskets

basket lifestyle image

Do you have loose items roaming around your closet? It’s time to keep them contained in a bin or basket! Adding bins or baskets are great for items that you don’t typically hang well from a regular closet rod—like scarves, belts, socks, or other clothing accessories. You can place your bins on the floor, on a shelf, in a cubby, or whatever space they fit best but are still easily accessible. We recommend buying matching bins or baskets so they can sit side by side with ease. Here are a few of our favorite options.

Fabric Storage Bins—As your wardrobe fluctuates, it’s nice to have collapsible containers that can fold to make room for other items.We love these fabric storage bins because they are easy to buy in bundles and come in so many colors and styles! They are durable and easy to move, but also collapse easily to tuck against the wall, behind other items, or under your bed when not in use. 

Wire Baskets—Wire baskets are a great way to organize your clothes but still see what you have. Wire baskets are sturdy, affordable, and easy to stack on shelves or put in cubbies. Plus, they give your clothes room to breathe so those items at the back of your closet don’t smell musty.

Plastic Bins—Plastic organizational bins come in a variety of sizes, colors, and types and are available at both home-goods and grocery stores. With these, there are both solid and transparent options so you can choose to either hide or see your clothes. And because they usually have air-tight lids, they can protect infrequently worn clothes from the (hopefully rare) chance of being damaged by water, mold, or moth balls.

6. Find Efficient Folding Methods

We’ve talked about the best ways to hang your clothes, but what if you’ve decided to install additional shelving or added dressers to your closet like tip 3? Small closets are so much more functional when you find efficient folding methods to fit as many of your clothes as neatly as possible into all your available space. Check out the video below to learn different folding methods that could work storing clothes in your shelves, dressers, bins, and baskets!

7. Use Dividers and Boxes

dividers and boxes lifestyle image

No matter how well you fold and stack your clothes, your closet can easily start to look messy if your piles fall into each other. Dividers and boxes can help with that. 

Dividers—You can buy shelf dividers or make them yourself with leftover cardboard boxes or heavy duty paper. Make them stand out and label them if needed to help you remember where to put your clothes after you do laundry.

Boxes—Want to save money with a DIY project? Use boxes you may already have around your home to store loose items. You can leave them as they are, decorate them all to match, and customize the sizes by cutting at taping cardboard boxes together. Shoe boxes are great for organizing your drawers—especially to separate socks from underwear or tshirts.

8. Rotate Clothes Each Season

Chances are only part of your wardrobe will be regularly worn in any given season, so you can save space by rotating your clothes as the weather changes. Keep your in-season clothes easily accessible by hanging them or putting them in drawers. Off-season clothes can be stored in baskets or bins on the high shelf at the top of your closet, under your bed, or in your garage to help you have more closet space. 

If those aren’t an option and you need even more space savings, you can vacuum seal your clothes before stacking them on shelves. This is an easy DIY—simply place your clothes in a garbage bag and use your vacuum’s hose to suck the air out of the bag.
 

9. Hang Small Items On The Wall

hang small items on the wall lifestyle

Sometimes in small spaces it’s hard to find places for your accessories. Unused wall space in your closet can easily become a place to hang jewelry, ties, belts, or scarves. You can create a grid of hooks with nails or command hooks. Or you can take it a step further and use spice racks or towel racks with hooks to store small items.

10. Give Every Shoe Its Own Place

There’s no more tripping over your shoe collection with our shoe organization tips! Remember the extra shelves we mentioned? You could turn those into smaller cubbies that fit one pair of shoes each. You can also get shoe racks or store them in hanging shoe organizers on the back of your door. The important thing to remember is to maximize your space by storing smaller, flatter shoes like flip flops or sandals together.  Boots, tennis shoes, or heels should all get their own space. Rotate your shoes by season so the most worn shoes are more easily accessible.

11. Maintain It!

Once your organization is done, don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Put every item back in its original spot when you put laundry away. Continually rotate your wardrobe—perhaps it's good to have a donate or toss basket nearby so you can stay on top of the clutter. Continue with your space saving folding methods. Reevaluate your closet functionality once every couple of months.

Closet Organization Ideas & Storage Solutions

A lot of the steps above can be budget-friendly because they are DIY, inexpensive, or utilize items you might already have laying around. If you’ve got a little more money on your hands or would rather save the time than do a DIY, check out the following closet storage solutions and upgrades.

Pull-Down Rod

pull down rod demonstration

One great way to add storage space to your small closet is to add additional rods for hanging your clothes. But what happens when the only option is to add one up high, making it difficult to reach your clothes? Look into installing a pull down rod! Our pull down rod comes with an adjustable telescoping pull rod and easily mountable hardware, complete with a beautiful chrome finish.

Belt Racks

belt rack lifestyle

Don’t know what to do with your belts? Yes, you can put them in a bin or basket, but if you want to make them easy to choose from, it’s best to install a belt rack. We have several belt racks to choose from that share similar spacing saving characteristics.

  • Can be installed on otherwise unused wall space
  • Fully extendable, ball bearing slide
  • Multiple stacked hooks
  • Holds belts or scarves

The CBSR Series Belt Rack has two additional great features to consider that our other racks don’t have.

  • Adjustable mounting brackets
  • Non Slip PVC coated pegs

Pant Rack

pant rack lifestyle

Do you have limited shelf space? It’s worth looking into a pant rack! Our pant rack is great for small closets because it frees up shelf space for other items like sweaters, jackets, or bins full of accessories. We love that it’s easy to install, has adjustable rods to fit your needs, and has full extension slides to make your pants easily accessible. Install underneath your existing rod to begin maximizing your space!

Tie Racks

tie rack lifestyle

Ready to tidy up your ties? Getting a tie rack is a simple closet addition that makes it easy to keep them organized and easily accessible. One of the best parts about all our tie racks is that it fits right against your wall so you can store your ties without taking much space—and the sliding rack pulls out easily so you can still look at all your options. Here’s what we love about the two different racks we offer. 

TRC Series

  • Holds up to 23 to 25 ties
  • Full-extension, ball-bearing slide
  • Static mounts

CTR Series

  • Fully accessible 8-3/16” telescoping rod
  • Non-slip soft PVC coated pegs
  • Adjustable mounting brackets
  • 11 to 15 hooks

Hooks

Installing additional hooks in your closet is a great way to maximize your space. Consider installing one like this in the wall space between your hanging clothes and the door to hang your most-used jackets, purses, bags, or scarves.

Valet Rod

valet rod lifestyle

Our last closet upgrade doesn’t necessarily save you space, but it does add some cool functionality to your closet when you’re getting dressed! These valet rods install on the side of your closet and telescope directly out toward your bedroom allowing you to hang just a few items at a time. Indecisive about what to wear? Hang the different options there as you search through everything else in your closet. It’s good for hanging items as you get dressed to avoid wrinkles that may happen when you set them on the bed.

Love these organization upgrades? Vevano carries all sorts of high-quality, innovative organization accessories you can add to your closet, kitchen cabinets, and more. Browse cabinet organization.