Master the Clutter: Pro Tips to Organize Your Closet Efficiently

Hey friends! Is your closet bursting with clothes and accessories you don’t wear anymore? Are you wasting precious minutes every morning digging for that one pair of black pants you know is in there somewhere? Closet chaos is absolute, but I’m here to show you how to tame the beast and transform your space into a serene oasis of organization.

As an old house renovator with tiny closets, I’ve become a master of closet organization out of pure necessity. Over the years, I’ve tried every trick and tip to maximize my limited space. Along the way, I learned it’s about more than just making everything fit – it’s about creating a system that works for your lifestyle and stays maintained long-term.

This post will walk us through the entire closet makeover process. From assessing your needs to cleaning out the clutter, I’ll share my best strategies for designing an organized closet layout that’s functional, beautiful, and uniquely you. Let’s dive in!

Assessing Your Needs and Closet Space

Before we start hauling out bins and installing rods, you must evaluate your current closet setup fully. This will help you understand what’s working, what’s not, and how much hidden storage potential your space has.

From Mess to Masterpiece How to Organize Your Closet

Take Inventory of Your Belongings

The first step is taking everything out of your closet – clothes, shoes, accessories, you name it. Pile it all on your bed or floor to get a full view. This purge in itself will feel so cathartic! Now, you can see what you’re working with and decide what stays and what goes.

As you take inventory, think about:

  • The types of items you need to store – work clothes, leisurewear, seasonal items, unique occasion pieces, athletic gear, etc.
  • How frequently do you wear or use each item? Be honest!
  • Any specific storage needs – do you have an extensive shoe collection or loads of sweaters that require more specialized solutions?

Once you’ve logged what you have, it’s time to measure and assess the physical space.

Evaluate Your Closet’s Dimensions and Layout

Grab a tape measure and notebook to jot down the following:

  • Width, depth, and height of closet
  • Hanging rod placement and length
  • Shelf placement, depth, and height
  • Location of doors and openings
  • Overall layout – reach-in, walk-in, etc.
  • Existing organizational components like drawers or built-ins

Note any quirks, angles, sloped ceilings, or other unique traits of your space. Are there any obstacles or limitations? Knowing the exact dimensions and the layout on paper will help immensely when designing your organized system.

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Purge your closet today

Determine Your Ideal Storage Solutions

Now that you have a good sense of your belongings and the space, it’s time to identify solutions to create your dream organized closet! Consider:

  • What hanging rods, shelving, baskets, or drawers do you need?
  • Is there any special required storage for shoes, accessories, or bulky items?
  • Could you utilize vertical space better with tools like risers or double-hanging rods?
  • Would a closet organizing system with modular shelves help maximize the space?
  • Are there clever solutions like door-mounted racks or under-bed storage you could incorporate?

Start pinpointing products, DIY projects, and layouts that fit your stuff and space. Browse Pinterest boards and retailer sites, and even peek in friends’ closets for inspiration. The correct storage solutions are out there!

Decluttering Your Closet

Now for the fun part – it’s time to edit down your belongings to just those you love and wear. This will make organizing so much easier when you’re only working with pieces you use. Here are my tried and true tips for an effective cleanout:

Categorize, Then Purge

As mentioned, start by taking everything out of your closet. Next, separate items into piles like:

  • Tops
  • Dresses
  • Bottoms – pants, skirts, shorts
  • Outerwear – sweaters, jackets
  • Activewear
  • Shoes
  • Accessories – jewelry, scarves, hats

Get as specific as needed with categories based on your belongings. This grouping method will make the sorting process more manageable.

How to Sort Your Clothes for a More Organized Closet

Now, be ruthless and purge each pile item by item. I use the “one-year” rule – if I haven’t worn it in the past 12 months, I donate or consign it. Other questions to ask:

  • Does it fit properly? If not, add it to the goodbye pile.
  • Is it poor quality, stained, or damaged? Into the trash or donation bin, it goes.
  • Does it align with my current style and lifestyle? If not, it’s time to release it.
  • Would I repurchase this item today? If not, thank it for its service and let it go.

Take your time, but stay focused. You’ll be left with only your favorite, most loved pieces you actually wear.

Consider Seasonality

As you purge, think about how seasonal each item is. If you live in a climate with significant winter/summer shifts, you likely swap out much of your wardrobe twice a year.

I recommend storing off-season clothing in under-bed containers or a secondary closet. This clears prime real estate for your current season’s staples.

Some tips:

  • Label bins clearly with the contents and season – like “Summer Dresses” or “Winter Sweaters.”
  • Swap when seasons change – put away summer and bring out winter attire simultaneously.
  • Create a “transitional” bin for layering items worn across seasons.

Accessories Are Important, Too!

Don’t neglect all your accessories in the purge process. Go through your jewelry, handbags, belts, hats, scarves – anything! Apply the same principles of sorting, evaluating based on frequency of use, and donating anything you don’t love.

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Accessories are often forgotten yet take up substantial space. Could you give them a declutter, too?

Designing Your Closet Layout

The purging process will give you a clear idea of what to store in your closet. Now it’s time to design a layout that accommodates your belongings in an organized, accessible way.

Make the Most of Your Closet Space with These Storage Solutions

Plan for Different Closet Types

First, consider what type of closet you’re working with:

Reach-in closet: The most common type, reachable via an interior door. Measure the width carefully and optimize the use of hanging and shelf space.

Walk-in closet: Large enough to step inside, allowing room for islands, a dressing area, built-ins, and more organizational tools. Dream big!

Wardrobe closet: Typically custom built-ins with open doors to reveal shelves and hanging space. Great for small spaces like apartments.

Slanted ceiling closet: Trickier for standard shelves and rods. Use space-saving hangers and creative shelving solutions.

Choose organizational systems suited for your closet type and dimensions. An elegant wardrobe closet needs different tools than a tiny slanted ceiling reach-in.

Use Walls and Vertical Space

Don’t limit yourself to floor space – utilize walls, doors, and vertical space when planning.

  • Install shelves high or low to hold items not used daily.
  • Double up hanging rods or a hanging wall system to double capacity.
  • Use door-mounted racks, hanging shelves, or wall hooks creatively.
  • Consider building storage to the ceiling or adding a loft area in a walk-in.

Plot Flow and Accessibility

Think about how you move through your closet when sketching layout options. Place most used items so they’re visible and convenient to grab.

If it’s a shared closet, ensure each person has distinct storage zones. A wardrobe closet with their sides works perfectly.

Also, factor in the heights of shelving and rods – ensure shorter housemates can comfortably reach them.

The Key to a Great Closet

Storage Solutions and Closet Organizers

With your ideal layout in mind, it’s time to outfit your closet with storage solutions suited to your belongings, space, and style. Shop shelves, bins, baskets, and more to create a custom system that maximizes every inch.

Hanging Items

Your hanging rods and shelves above are prime real estate for clothes worn frequently.

  • Sturdy wood hangers keep delicate fabrics safe while taking up minimal space.
  • Group clothing genres together – dresses, blouses, pants, suits, etc.
  • Install a second rod for double hanging capacity.
  • Use hanging cubbies or a door rack for folded pieces like sweaters, jeans, and tees.

Shoes, Glorious Shoes

Entire books have been written on shoe storage solutions. Find the approach that best suits your collection:

  • Entryway benches with integrated shoe storage instantly tidy up piles by the door.
  • Clear plastic bins keep sneakers, heels, and sandals visible but protected.
  • For walk-in closets, build floor-to-ceiling shelving sized explicitly for your shoe boxes.
  • Over-the-door shoe holders maximize space. Just be sure they’re firmly anchored.
  • Small shoe organizers with multiple tiers work for closet floors or shelves.

Accessories Galore

Jewelry, scarves, hats – don’t let these small items get lost in closet chaos. Dedicate exceptional homes for each accessory variety.

  • A wall-mounted or over-the-door jewelry armoire displays your pieces beautifully.
  • Necklace and scarf hangers ensure they don’t get tangled up in drawers.
  • Clear accessory trays corral all those little things like rings, hair clips, and sunglasses.
  • For walk-in spaces, create a glam vanity area just for accessories.
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Closet Organizer Drawers

The Nitty Gritty: Socks, Pajamas, Intimates

Don’t forget those less glamorous clothing items! Give them tidy homes, too.

  • Multi-sectioned drawers keep socks, underwear, and other small items in their place.
  • Pretty boxes, baskets, or fabric bins hold PJs, slippers, and loungewear.
  • Try under-bed storage containers for off-season intimates and athleisure wear.
  • In a walk-in closet, devote a whole dresser or set of cubbies for the nitty gritty items.

Maintaining Closet Organization

You did it – your closet is now a serene, beautiful oasis where everything has a place. But the work doesn’t stop once it’s organized. Maintenance is crucial for keeping clutter from creeping back in.

Daily and Weekly Tidying

Get in the habit of quick daily and weekly tidying sessions. It takes just a few minutes but keeps your closet looking magazine-worthy.


  • Hang up any clothing placed on shelves or floors. Don’t let piles accumulate!
  • Return accessories like sunglasses to their designated homes.
  • Sweep the floor to keep debris-free.


  • Return out-of-season clothing bins to proper storage areas.
  • Dust shelves and rods to keep your space fresh.
  • Rehang clothing that fell off hangers. And consider investing in non-slip velvet hangers!
  • Check for clothing that needs to be laundered and placed in the hamper.
  • Clean closet floors with your favorite wood or tile floor cleaner.
Maintaining Closet Organization

Reevaluate Every Season

When seasons change, reassess what clothing should stay accessible and what should get swapped into storage bins.

This is an excellent chance to:

  • Donate or consign any pieces you didn’t wear over the season. Pare down!
  • Identify new parts you need for upcoming months. Shop intentionally.
  • Reorganize bins and storage so oft-worn items are even more accessible.

Add Slowly and With Intention

The cardinal rule of maintaining an organized closet is being extremely selective when adding new pieces. Some tips:

  • Generally, go by the “one in, one out rule” – only buy new if you purge old.
  • Before buying an item, be sure you have space for it within your existing organization scheme. Don’t mess up your system!
  • Only purchase pieces that fill a specific gap, like a coat style you don’t already own. Avoid impulse buys.
  • Consider doing periodic full closet cleanouts yearly or every other year to combat closet creep.

Wishing you all the joy and peace of mind an organized closet brings! Please share any closet organization tips or insights in the comments below. I love hearing your stories!