Smart Organizing Tricks for a Clutter-Free Closet
Before: A Blank Slate
In her guest room, lifestyle blogger Sarah Gibson of Room for Tuesday had a lucky problem to solve: a large, unused closet with French doors. The obvious solution: transform the space into a prep station. A space without any structure meant the possibilities were endless. Rather than simply installing a bar and some hangers, Gibson opted for a ClosetMaid system, and she used the company’s online Space Creation tool to customize a unit that fit both her space and her storage needs. After tackling five other closets around her home (take a peek inside the closet she designed for her husband), Gibson knew exactly what kind of storage her home lacked.
After: Stylishly Sorted
Outfitted with a custom system, Gibson’s overhauled closet now stashes all of her go-to pieces for the season. The biggest lesson her closet teaches is to tailor your closet for your specific wardrobe. “I don't wear dresses often—pretty much never. Therefore, I didn't need a lot of long hanging space. I opted for two shorter hanging spaces that provide adequate storage for blouses, sweaters, and tops,” she says. And remember, an organized closet actually begins with the shopping process. Rather than buy five cheap pairs of jeans that will clutter the drawers, Gibson prefers to invest in a single quality pair that will last for years. “I ask myself a lot of questions prior to purchasing something. If I'm spending money on clothing, it needs to be something I'll love for years to come.” For even more smart shopping tips, consult our top 10 shopping lessons.
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For all the items you want neatly stowed out of sight, invest in a few fabric bins. Gibson fills hers with hats, wallets, bags, and even bathing suits.
To buy: Household Essentials Storage Box, $14; amazon.com.
It’s much easier to remember to wear jewelry when it’s stored where you can see it. Since Gibson started displaying her bracelets and perfume on the top of her dresser, she claims she hasn’t forgotten to wear either.
To buy: Acrylic Jewelry Stands, From $15; containerstore.com.
Before: Functional, Yet Uninspiring
When Atlanta-based home and DIY blogger Erin Spain decided to revamp her long, L-shaped closet, the space’s white walls and open shelves were blank canvases for her creativity. To the right of the door, the large shelving unit offered a spot to stash shirts and pants, but without organizers to corral items, clothing was piled haphazardly. Hidden in the back of the closet, garbage bags full of clothing the family intended to donate sat waiting to be brought to the collection bin. The spacious walk-in closet held plenty of potential for both a more effective organizing strategy and a complete style refresh.
After: Neat and Chic
Long before all of the organizing tricks draw attention, pretty improvements—especially the fawn wallpaper lining the walls and the backs of the shelves—catch the eye. “Most people don't see our closet, so I felt like it was an easy place to go more dramatic without being afraid of what it might look like in the end,” Spain says. Luckily, she loves the results and considers it “practice” for incorporating bold designs into other areas of her home. The next time you’re feeling shy about painting your living room a vibrant hue, take Spain’s advice and paint a closet first.
To make the space more orderly, Spain used fashionable gold hooks to suspend necklaces and purses. “I like to keep things in plain sight, but without allowing it to look too cluttered,” she says. This trick can also be used to store hats, scarves, and umbrellas out in the open. And for less attractive accessories: “I love using baskets to corral things like belts and other small accessories,” Spain says. Reserve fabric or woven baskets for storing socks, and let open wire baskets show off printed silk scarves.
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The elegant ghost chair in the corner of the room not only ups the space’s style, but it also provides a perch for Spain when she puts on her shoes (or when she needs a moment alone). The chair introduces an interesting silhouette, while the transparent design cuts down on visual clutter.
To buy: Flash Furniture Ghost Chair, $65; amazon.com.
Simple gold hooks keep jewelry untangled and purses within reach. For less than $3 a pop, these hardworking hooks are tiny room transformers.
To buy: Grayson Hook in Brushed Brass, $3; dlawlesshardware.com.
Fawn wallpaper may be a splurge, but the texture and pattern are guaranteed to steal the spotlight.
To buy: Tan Fawn Wallpaper, $140 per roll; wallsrepublic.com.
RELATED: How to Fold a T-Shirt
With dresses, blouses, and button-downs all vying for hanging space in your closet, T-shirts often don’t make the cut for their own hanger. Fortunately, if folded correctly, these casual tops are prime candidates for drawer or shelf space because they don’t wrinkle or crease as easily as crisp dress shirts do. To make sure these tops are always ready to wear (and keep them looking neat on open shelving), follow our no-fail folding technique. It may take a couple tries to learn the steps, but once you have the method memorized, you’ll never want to go back to a sloppy jumble of shirts again.
Before: Full of Potential
When L.A. blogger Sarah Yates Mora of A House in the Hills moved into a new home, she suddenly found herself the proud owner of her very first walk-in closet (a happy circumstance that she describes as “life-changing”). With the shelving units already in place, most homeowners would consider their work done, but Mora decided to personalize the closet to make it look and function exactly how she wanted.
After: Ultra-Glam Organization
While Mora says she appreciates the beauty of a closet full of neutrals, her wardrobe reflects her love of color. By sorting her clothing by both hue and type, she can quickly find the piece she’s searching for. (Don’t miss these 7 other closet hacks that will help you get ready faster.) Open shelving lets purses stay on display, reminding Yates to switch up her bag every now and then. Pieces that aren't regularly incorporated into her wardrobe get stashed in drawers, leaving mainstays front and center. Visit A House in the Hills to rummage through the rest of the closet.
When filling the top of her dresser, Mora took inspiration from jewelry shops and nestled bangles and necklaces in a variety of trays. Turns out, there’s a method behind the luxe design. “Keeping accessories accessible is important to me because I find that if they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind, and I’m more likely to go without or buy pieces I don’t really need,” Mora explains. To organize your own jewelry using this boutique-inspired method, you can buy a jewelry dish, or simply search your house for spare trays, plates, and bowls you can devote to the cause.
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One of the best ways to keep your wardrobe looking fresh without constantly buying new clothes is to care for the pieces you already own. One of Mora's favorite ways to care for her boots is to invest in boot inserts. When you consider the cost of your favorite footwear, a $13 shaper seems so worth it.
To buy: Dial Boot Shapers, $17; amazon.com.
Take a peek inside the drawers, and you’ll see that Mora uses transparent drawer dividers to separate jewelry and other accessories. Clear compartments mean never having to hunt for a necklace when you’re getting ready in the morning.
To buy: 6 Compartment Drawer Organizer, $6; target.com.
To keep her rings where she will easily find them, Mora borrows another trick from the jewelry boutique: velvet ring trays. These plush organizers may seem indulgent, but caring for prized possessions is a worthwhile investment.
To buy: 2 Black Velvet Ring Trays, $15, amazon.com.