Top Organizing Tips for Closets

Take a step toward being more organized with these smart ideas for closets.


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Master Closet
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Conquer Closet Clutter

    If your closet is a disaster area, it's high time to consider installing a closet system. From simple to grand (and with price tags to match), there are closet systems to meet every budget. And even if you can't pop for a high-end outfit, you'll be happy to know that many inexpensive versions offer some of the same features and benefits. In the following slides, you'll find some of our best closet storage tips for clothes and shoes.

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Clean Up & Clear Out

    Plan a closet makeover by measuring your current closet to determine hanging requirements and storage needs. Next, you'll need to clear everything out of the closet so the new system can be installed. This is a good time to go through items you can no longer use and donate them to charity.

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Rotate Clothes

    The clothing items that take up the most room should be more readily available. Keep out-of-season clothes, shoes, and accessories in the back of the closet or in another closet; same for those "wish clothes" that don't fit but you can't bear to get rid of.

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Stay Organized

    Sort clothes by category or color to make it easy to find what you need. Insert garment organizers or use multicolored hangers to label your groupings. Also, professional organizers suggest turning all of the hangers in your closet the opposite way. Every time you wear an item, turn the hanger around. After a few months, you can clearly see what clothing items you could live without.

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Double Your Space

    Using double closet rods -- one over the other -- is the best way to squeeze more storage space out of a closet. Be sure to measure the length of each item you'll be hanging there and allow another 6 inches of clearance above and below each rod. Blouses, shirts, skirts, jackets, and kids' clothes will all fit on double rods.

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Create Closet Cubbies

    Organize your own closet -- or a child's -- with a combination of double hanging rods, drawers, and shelves. Drawers corral small items such as socks while cubbies hold folded items. Upper shelves can store out-of-season shoes and clothing in clear bins with lids.

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Set Up a Temporary Closet

    Can't afford the space or money to build a closet? Here's one great solution using drapery panels, easy-to-install hanging rods, and wire basket storage systems.

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Fill Narrow Spaces

    Look for any slice of space (in a closet or in your room), and use it to create more storage. This built-in closet next to a fireplace was too shallow for hanging clothes but is perfect for purses, tote bags, or even shoes.

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Shelve It

    You might think the more shelves, the better -- but this is not always true. The shelves themselves take up inches of precious storage space and too many of them can make it difficult to stack or remove items. It's best to design shelves that will fit the various items you have to store.

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Include a Mirror

    If your closet is also your dressing area, make it more functional by hanging a large mirror on the wall behind a dresser. Or consider hanging a floor-length mirror on a door.

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Shoe Solution

    If shoes flood your closet floor, develop a smart strategy for storing them. Keep the shoes you wear all the time accessible on shelves if you have room. Then store seasonal and special-occasion shoes in easy-to-see clear plastic boxes on the top shelf of your closet. Or simply reuse the original box and attach a picture of the shoes to the front of the box.

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Plan for Small Items

    Create storage for smaller items such as jewelry, scarves, belts, and socks. Narrow drawers should be further outfitted with divider trays to keep things orderly.

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Use Every Corner

    Whether you have a high ceiling or a cramped attic dormer, it pays to make use of every inch. Even when double rods aren't possible, you can fill the area with drawer units, shelves, or shoe cubbies. Also, make sure to take advantage of the back of the closet door and the valuable space above the top shelf.

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Plan Dust-Free Storage

    Whenever possible, create at least a few options for dust-free storage. Cabinets with doors are terrific but are the most expensive solution. Clear or canvas hanging bags designed to hold multiple garments are budget-friendly alternatives.

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