From a roomy walk-in design to a barely-there wall nook, a well-appointed closet is a valuable amenity in every household. A customized closet system is an easy way to elevate a basic closet by incorporating shelves, storage bins, and hanging rods. Streamline storage and add an extra layer of efficiency to your closet with an organization system for your pantry, clothes, cleaning supplies, and more.
Of course, it’s easier to organize your closet if you have less stuff to begin with. Start by doing a thorough closet clean out. To help with the process, be honest in asking yourself these questions:
If you’re still stumped or having difficulty parting with things, try one of these strategies: Flip all of your hangers the wrong way. When you wear a piece of clothing, put it back. After six months, get rid of anything you haven’t worn. Another way to test clothing that you’re hesitant to part with is to put it all in a sealed bag on a high shelf. If you haven’t looked for those items or wanted to wear them after six months, donate the bag.
Storage labels are key to optimizing closet spaces, especially in food pantries or multipurpose closets. Having to dig through miscellaneous boxes just wastes time and causes unnecessary frustration. Clearly note the contents of each container using picture, text, or color-coded labels so there's never a question of what's what. Using see-through containers also helps you evaluate contents at a glance. Adhesive food labels are especially helpful for kitchen organization. Use them to sort bulk items, personalize gifts, and note expiration dates. If you keep bins of holiday decor tucked away in a basement closet, be sure to label them by season or event.
Making closet organization simpler means a little planning ahead of time. When planning a multipurpose closet, design the space with function at the forefront. Divide shelves and cubbies by use, such as dedicating one area for sporting gear and another for pet supplies. Keep in mind the sorts of spaces items will need. Long-handled tools or sports equipment need a tall, narrow spot, for example. An area for pet supplies may need to fit food bins. Organize jewelry with drawer dividers that allow you to see what you have at a glance. Plan out where to store delicate items. If you have the space, enlist a freestanding shelving or drawer unit to accommodate your family's storage needs.
It can be a chore in itself to find the right place to store cleaning supplies. A clever hallway closet right off the kitchen is a great place to corral tall brooms, mops, and vacuums, as well as paper towels and cleaning products. Choose storage containers that can stand up to moisture and spills; if any item is a hazard to family members or pets, keep it out of reach.
Give a narrow closet an organizational boost with shelves you can install or customize. A slender niche neighboring a home office is ideal for file boxes, crafts, and gift-wrap storage—and is easily concealed when not in use. Look for stackable bins and boxes so you can store more on each shelf.
Small hall closets make daily access difficult, and they often become a cluttered catchall. Here’s how to organize a small closet: Take advantage of every inch of horizontal space. First, take inventory of what you truly need to have on hand at the moment. Then store items from least to most used, working from top to bottom. Corral seasonal and other rarely used items in stackable containers and place them on a high shelf. Organize essential coats and bags using hangers and hooks at eye level. Incorporate a foolproof storage method, such as cubbyholes or a multilevel shoe rack, to instantly free up floor space. Utilize any hanging space you have available to install hooks—think the underside of open shelves, the back of the closet door or cabinet doors, even on the sides of other furniture, such as dressers. If you’re renting, you can stick temporary adhesive hooks just about anywhere.
Make ironing easy. A recessed cabinet with an electrical outlet hides a wall-mount ironing board in this master closet, meaning there's no need to store a bulky ironing board and go to the trouble of dragging it out when needed. If it makes more sense for you, this setup also works well in a laundry room.
If you want a closet to really work for you, consider borrowing design ideas from other closets around your home. Take cues from kitchen pantry storage, for example. Shallow pullout shelves can keep accessories visible, while stationary top shelves are perfect for folded clothing. Apply this principle to buying storage supplies, too. Shop the kitchen, bathroom, and office supply aisles for storage items you can repurpose as bedroom closet organizers. Shower caddies, file organizers, tiered trays, and magazine racks can all be used for other items. A shoe rack does not have to be a shoe rack. Use one to hold rolled towels or clothes, paper towels or toilet paper, small purses or clutches, and more.
The best way to organize clothes in a closet depends on your personal preferences and needs. You might choose to organize clothes by type (all sweaters grouped together), by season (summer versus winter attire), or by occasion (office attire, formal clothing, athletic apparel, and more). And if you’re wondering how to organize clothes in your closet by color, group them by type or season first. Putting everything in your closet in color order may look pleasing, but then you’ll have sweaters mixed in with sundresses. Closet organization isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. Try out one system for a while, and if it’s not working for you, don’t be afraid to switch it up!
When kids are growing, it's important to use flexible storage systems that work for both you and them. Double bars made from tension shower rods can be installed without making holes in the wall and are the perfect size for short, slender kids clothing. As your child (and their clothes) grow, you can take out the bottom bar if needed. Maximize underused hanging room inside a young child's closet by installing flexible shelves that can hold toys today and folded clothes later.