A well-organized closet can be transformational for both your bedroom and your morning routine. Whether you have a tiny closet that feels as though it is bursting at its seams or you're lucky enough to have a walk-in closet filled with space, the right organizational system can double your storage real estate.
But, the hardest part of staying organized is getting organized in the first place. It's important to pick a system that works for you and your needs, and just as important to keep up with it. It will be so much easier to find exactly what you want to wear if your closet is clean and organized.
To keep you get started, we asked two expert organizers to give us their best tips to keep every piece of clothing in order.
Meet the Expert
Pamela Meluskey and Larisa Bright are the founders and principal organizers at Settled, a luxury home organization firm.
Categorize Your Drawers
It can be tempting to just toss everything you don't want to hang in a drawer, but Meluskey says you should start by organizing your dresser. "Try a funnel approach when planning your dresser," Meluskey suggests. "Select one overarching category per drawer, and then segment within each category with drawer dividers."
Invest in drawer dividers so it's easier to keep everything in its place.
Hang by Category
Sometimes a small and a large closet have the same problem—how do you find everything when it's all hung together? Bright says to start with a system. "Hang clothing by category first—sleeveless, short sleeve, long sleeve, sweaters, jackets," she explains. "Then within each category, segment by color, beginning with white."
Install Shelves in a Small Closet
Sometimes, you need more space to fold clothes or you simply don't have room for a dresser in your bedroom. Consider adding permanent shelving in your closet for a streamlined, crisp look that is perfect for bulkier items that can't really be hung easily. You can easily DIY custom shelving or hire a pro to create your perfect closet space.
Use the Backs of Doors
Just because you have a small closet doesn't mean you need to struggle to store all of your clothes and shoes. If you don't have a walk-in closet, always use the back of your doors. This will expand your storage space and keep things off the floors—especially shoes.
Don't store anything overly bulky so that your doors can easily open and close.
Streamline Your Hangers
One of the easiest ways to extend your space and transform the look of your closet is to ditch those free hangers and invest in streamlined, matching hangers.
"Streamlined hangers are the most effective way to transform the look of your closet," Meluskey says. "Thin, non-slip velvet hangers are a fabulous way to double your hanging space and ensure your clothing doesn’t slip off."
Swap Out Clothes (If You Need to)
"If you have the space, there is no need to swap out seasonal clothing, but if you're tight on space, a seasonal swap is key to maintaining order in your closet," Bright explains. If you dread swapping your clothes, make it easier on yourself every season, Bright says.
"Just ensure you have a strategy for the swap out ahead of time," Bright suggests. "For example, your shorts shelf or basket will always be swapped seasonally with sweaters. This keeps you from having to reinvent the wheel (or closet layout) every season."
Invest in Vertical Storage
You don't need to hire a professional closet installer to extend your space. "Think vertical," Meluskey suggests. "Free-standing units, like buildable Elfa drawer units from The Container Store, can add tons of storage into a very small footprint."
Removable vertical storage is also a great solution for renters who really need extra storage but don't want to risk that security deposit.
Go Vertical for Shoes
Few things make a professional organizer cringe as much as a pile of shoes at the bottom of a closet. Instead, add a vertical shoe shelf to store your favorite pairs where they are easily accessible, and you'll never have to search for a matching pair.
If you have a few pairs of rarely-worn special occasion shoes, you can store them in boxes at the top of your closet or under the bed so they aren't taking up precious real estate.