How to Organize Clothes

Put organizational systems into play that keep clothing smartly sorted and neatly stored so each piece is always ready to wear and your closets and dressers stay clutter-free.


1. Edit Your Wardrobe

Clothes retain their good looks longer when stacked neatly or hanging freely. So create breathing room in closets and drawers by donating apparel that hasn't been worn in a year, that no longer fits its owner, and is decidedly never coming back into style. Install closet systems, over-the-door racks, and drawer organizers to keep your remaining garments in apple-pie order.

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2. Put It In Plain Sight

Unlike dressers or armoire drawers, bookcases and open shelves let you quickly see and retrieve what you need. Move a bookcase into a closet to hold stacks of foldable items like sweaters, sweatshirts, and blue jeans. Equip a few shelves with colorful labeled baskets that corral socks and delicates.

3. Divide and Conquer

Create a closet-rod reminder system that tells you what goes where so you can speedily find what you're looking for and then return it to its proper space. Storing like-minded items together streamlines storage and stops you from stuffing too much in one spot, which in turn prevents other garments from falling off hangers or becoming wrinkled. Look for eye-catching closet and drapery-rod clips to display vivid handwritten tags that define different clothing sections.

4. Manage and Maintain

Employ stylish and matching storage pieces to create a closet system that stows apparel and the tools needed to keep clothes looking their best. You're more likely to replace lost buttons, stitch a falling hem, and/or press a blouse when a mending kit, button jar, and iron and board are near at hand. Being able to tackle these quick fix-ups ensures that no flawed or rumpled garment languishes unused in your closet.

5. Dress for Success

Hang your best garments on wood hangers (larger hangers help clothing pieces hold their shapes) before compiling a week's worth of outfits handily separated by day-of-the-week dividers. The benefits of this presorting system are threefold: it lets you pre-check garments, gives you time to clean spots or repair flaws before Monday rolls around, and makes it easy to dress and dash on busy mornings.

6. Tap a Door

Use over-the-door hooks, shoe bags, and multihook racks to temporarily hold freshly ironed outfits, contain ball cap collections, and hold heavy items, such as robes or coats, that are worn daily. Or, add a pegboard to the front or back of a door so you can use hooks to organize smaller accessories such as scarves, neckties, and belts.

7. Consider All Options

Shop retailers dedicated to home-organizing gear, and big box store's laundry and storage aisles for customizable closet systems, specialty racks and hangers, storage bins and baskets, shelf and drawer organizers, and hanging compartmentalized bags to optimize clothes storage. Personalize storage systems by using vintage hat boxes, suitcases, and wire planters to beautifully corral rarely used clothing, fashion accessories, and out-of-season apparel.

8. Think Freestanding

Increase clothing storage by moving in antique armoires and capacious wardrobes, which you'll find at every price point and in every style. Outfit the cabinet's interior with modern bin storage systems and closet rods situated at heights that suit both hanging clothes and the clothes' wearer. Tuck in shoe racks and storage bins as space allows. Post colored sketches on door-hung bulletin boards that remind you how to pull together your favorite looks.

9. Customize for Kids

Little ones have smaller clothes, which means you can fit more clothes inside a closet. Opt for multitier systems featuring dual rods, with the lower one used for play and church clothes sorted by day-of-the-week closet dividers. Stencil, paint, or sketch an image of what's inside each drawer or bin so kids can readily identify what's stored where.

More tips for organizing kid's closets.

10. Go Low

Underbed organizers -- such as plastic boxes, fabric bags, wire racks, and wooden drawers -- provide a variety of clothing organization and storage options. Ideally suited to hold folded sweaters, jeans, extra robes, or balled up socks, they can also be used to hold out-of-season clothing. Look for options with shoe-organizer inserts; moving shoes out of your closet can create neater environs and may open up space for storing more clothes. 

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See How It's Done: Clothes Closet Organization
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