Like your bathroom cabinet or kitchen pantry, your closet says a lot about you. We’re not just talking about the stories behind the items hanging in it—the way you choose to organize and display clothes and accessories is just as telling about your personality. (Type A people, we’re looking at you.) Do you hang items by style and color, or haphazardly layer jackets on bent wire hangers from the dry cleaner? Are your favorite accessories on display and easy to access, or stowed in the back of drawers under layers of tangled accessories?
As we begin to transition our homes and wardrobes to winter, the addition of bulky coats, knits, and cold-climate accessories can wreak havoc on a well-organized space. If you’re ready to unpack your winter wares, take note. We turned to Khloé Kardashian’s closet designer, Lisa Adams of LA Closet Design, and leading fashion bloggers to find out the insider tips they swear by to keep an organized, Pinterest-worthy closet. Yes, there is a right way to fold your sweaters, and no, you’re probably not making the most of every inch of storage space, according to Adams.
Follow these insider tips and tricks for a well-organized closet you’d be proud to show off.
Know Your Storage Style
The best-organized closets aren’t fiddly or overly styled—they’re designed to suit the owner’s storage habits, whether good or bad. For example, if you don’t have time to fold certain items, open shelving displays will be hard to keep tidy long-term. Instead, consider your organization habits and arrange your closet accordingly. Alicia Lund, the blogger behind Cheetah Is the New Black, says she allocates drawers and decorative baskets to toss accessories into rather than worrying about folding and sorting each piece. “I have special baskets and drawers dedicated to the heavier winter items,” she tells MyDomaine.
For those of you who cringe at the thought of folding scarves and matching socks, Lisa Adams has zero-effort solutions you can adopt. “Scarves look très chic hanging on acrylic or brass towel bars—it’s an insider trick!” she tells us. “I also like to put thick winter socks in winter boots to manage storage and double up as fillers to maintain the boots’ shape while not in use during summer months.”
Reallocate Hanging Space
Summer and winter wares vary in bulk and length, so it’s important to assess how you allocate closet space when the seasons change. “The most common mistake I notice is that people don’t take away summer clothes when they add winter clothes, so the closet is overstuffed,” says Lisa Adams, who is responsible for Tyra Banks’s and Brad Goreski’s pristine walk-ins. “There is usually not enough medium- or long-hanging [space] in the closet, so coats drape over lower-hanging rods used for shorter-hanging items.”
If you struggle with limited hanging space, Adams says there’s one area of the closet you’re likely not utilizing: the back. “If you have more depth than width in your closet, I would suggest hanging bulky coats front-to-back on an extended rod,” she says.
Likewise, if you’re not able to put all your summer items in storage, she says the back of shelves is an often underused area. “[It’s] a great use of space for seasonal folded items. When the season arrives, pull the back row to the front, and front to back. The back row is great for thermals, turtlenecks, etc., and front row for tank tops, colored tees, etc.”
Color-Code Folded Items
Winter calls for denim and sweaters, which means you’ll need to dedicate extra space in your closet to folded items. The issue? Folded clothing displayed on exposed shelves can look messy in an instant; rummaging for that knit at the bottom of the pile can leave the rest in disarray. Lund says she avoids this issue by organizing them according to a code. “I fold my denim and sweaters, stacking them by wash and color so I can easily see what I have,” she says.
Another simple way to make folded items look neat is to update your technique. Madelynn Furlong of Wide Eyed Legless says she folds clothing like retail stores to mimic the pristine look. “Display them with the folded end facing out so you see a neat edge and none of the clothing seams,” she explains. “I have found that when things are folded neatly, I can better see them, and it makes dressing that much easier in the morning.”
Don’t get carried away by over-stacking perfectly folded clothes, though, says Adams. “I keep folding stacks low and consistent, so one item isn’t folded differently or larger in the stack—this will immediately make it look messy!” she says. “I also organize the stacks by clothing type, fabric, and color—the idea is to look at the stack and know what you have to make dressing easier and more fun! [Keep] thicker textures on the bottom of the stack, with lighter fabrics at the top.”
Use Drawer Inserts
Courtesy of IKEA
According to Adams, if you don’t use drawer inserts and dividers to segment your closet, you’re making a common mistake. “I like to have drawer inserts that can be taken out and replaced with accessories of the season,” she says, adding examples like “thicker scarves, gloves, and beanies during the winter, and beach hats and cover-ups for the summer.”
She also notes that inserts will help you maximize every inch of drawer space, including the depth and height, which are often underutilized. “If you have deep drawers, think about two-tiered drawer inserts to maximize the height,” she suggests.
Style a Clothing Rack
Do you ever feel like you have a wardrobe bursting with clothes but nothing to wear? It’s all about how you visually merchandise your closet, according to Style MBA blogger Sara Azani. Her go-to tip to ensure new winter purchases don’t get lost in the abyss of your closet is to use a clothing rack, a noticeably on-the-rise trend we’ve noticed in a lot of stylish bedrooms. “I keep a clothing rack of unworn or new items I have recently purchased which help inspire creativity,” she says.
Your closet serves a practical purpose, but as Azani points out, it’s also important to give it the same styling attention you would other parts of your home. After all, it’s the place where you ready yourself for the day ahead. Do you really want to start each morning by fumbling through messy drawers and searching for missing socks?
Azani says she buys matching containers to give her closet a uniform look, even when the contents are thrown in. “I purchase small linen storage boxes that you can find at IKEA or CB2, and [I’m] also a big fan of shoe boxes, especially [by the brand] Alaïa, as they’re made of leather and are an effective alternative for storing smaller accessories,” she says.
She also dedicates shelves to displaying her favorite shoes. “Each shoe has a unique story, and so it’s not only a great storage item but an interesting piece to look at,” she says. “I think of it as my art display and am able to enjoy it every day.”