Ease the process of organizing your closet (and your daily dressing routine) by clearing out coats, luggage, and other cumbersome items.

By Katie Bandurski and Jessica Bennett
Updated April 17, 2020
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No matter how big they are, closets never seem to have enough storage space. Whether yours is overflowing with clothes you never wear or packed with miscellaneous storage items, a quick refresh can help streamline your closet storage and make room for the things you actually wear. Start by clearing out these 11 items, including out-of-season attire and space-consuming accessories. Once they're out of the closet, you can either store them elsewhere in your home (such as in the basement or an entryway closet) or get rid of them altogether. Take just a few minutes to relocate or toss these items now to make your closet feel more spacious and organized. (Trust us, you're not going to miss them.)

walk in closet storage space clothing and shoes
Credit: Kimberly Gavin

1. Excess Hangers

Clunky hangers can occupy valuable closet space, so don't hold on to more than you need. Designate a hanger for all of the items you like to hang, then ditch the rest. (You might also consider replacing bulky plastic hangers with a more space-saving design.) If you buy something new, make it a rule to get rid of one item before hanging the new one.

closet shelving show organization and clothing
Credit: Dera Burreson

2. Out-of-Season Items

Warm, waterproof boots are essential when winter weather hits, but in July, your bulky boots are taking up precious storage space. The same is true for your sundresses and strappy sandals in December. Stash out-of-season items in the basement, attic, or spare room, or under your bed rather than the closet, and switch out items as the weather changes.

detail of clothes in wire basket sitting on closet shelf
Credit: Anthony Masterson

3. Anything That's Not Your Style

Whether you wear all black, prefer skirts to pants, or have a thing for sparkles, you probably know your own style by now. Rid your closet of items that don't match your personal brand. As a bonus, maintaining a distinct style can make it easier to get ready in the morning since everything you own already goes together.

Hanging storage bag for clothes
Credit: Jay Wilde

4. Bulky Coats

Coat closets exist for a reason. House bulky parkas, umbrellas, and outdoor accessories like hats and scarves in your entryway or an extra closet outside the bedroom. This will not only free up space in your clothes closet, but also stop dirt, salt, water, and other debris from tracking into your sleep space.

closet with hanging clothing mounted tall mirror
Credit: Dera Burreson

5. Items You Haven't Worn in a Year

Whether it was a gift or clearance rack steal that was impossible to pass up, we all have those items we never wear. Purge any clothing item that is too big, too small, stained, or threadbare. As a general rule, if you haven't worn an item in a year, it's time for it to go.

Organized closet with jackets, shirts, and shoes
Credit: Megan Chaffin

6. Luggage

Instead of storing luggage in your closet, stash it under your bed or in the basement or attic. Before you pack it away, however, take advantage of the empty space inside and use that suitcase to store out-of-season items or extra linens.

above view drawer organized shoes hats
Credit: Jay Wilde

7. Outdoor Accessories

Clear hats, scarves, and mittens out of your closet and store them by the door instead. A small basket or the drawer of an entryway console table works well for storing outdoor accessories in a convenient spot. Then you can bundle up right before you head out the door.

jewelry holder
Credit: Laura Moss

8. Jewelry

Pretty jewelry can double as art if it's displayed correctly. Keep necklaces on a tree and rings in a decorative dish, but keep them out of your closet. Closet space is typically tight, so you might knock valuables over when pulling out a dress or grabbing a bin from the top shelf. Storing jewelry on a vanity is a much safer (and more easily accessible) option for small accessories.

floral wallpapered walk-in closet looking into bedroom
Credit: David Tsay

9. Your Wedding Dress

You might be holding on to your wedding dress for the next generation or for sentiment's sake, but it's best to store it somewhere other than your closet. Most gowns need special storage and take up a lot of space. Wrap the dress in a garment bag, then place away from the light in a hall closet or under the bed.

doorway through closet with wallpaper ceiling
Credit: Kim Cornelison Photography Inc

10. Pet Accessories

Keep any animal toys or beds out of the closet. And if you have a walk-in closet design, keep your furry friends out too. This helps protect your clothing from pet hair, odors, or potential damage. Dog hair and black pants do not mix, nor do a cat's claws and leather boots.

Organized closet with baskets
Credit: Jay Wilde

11. Food Gifts

Keeping food items or gifts, such as fancy chocolates, in your closet invites a host of pesky problems. Moths, mice, and other critters can be lured in by the scent of food and cause damage to your wardrobe. Always store food items in the kitchen, even if the package appears tightly sealed.

Comments (5)

November 5, 2020
LOL. Clean out your bedroom closet by moving stuff to other places. Uh, now why would such items end up in the bedroom closet in the first place? And who the heck stores food in their bedroom closet?
July 24, 2020
All I learned from this is that I need to find a huge amount of extra MONEY, so I can buy a *house* with tons of closet space, an attic, basement, etc. Boy it would be great to read articles for real Americans.
May 17, 2020
I agree. Pets should be thrown out.
May 10, 2020
All of NYC is stifling a chuckle: Walk-in closets? That's bigger than a kitchen!
May 9, 2020
Learned nothing I probably need to donate again. Looooooking at my walkin closet designated for coats only and jumbo zip lock bags of warmer weather clothing in boxes needing to be swapped.