Closet Tips: Organize Clothes on Shelves, Hanging Items, and More

shoe closet organization shelves clothes heels

Add order to your closets using our favorite closet organization ideas. Learn how to adapt strategies and plans to work for your home's closets and see what savvy tricks can help keep closets clutter-free.

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Primp Station

closet vanity area hanging accessories above
Dera Burreson

If you have empty wall space in your closet, take advantage of it! A wall-mounted desk will hold all your jewelry and accessories. Above, line the wall with hooks for hats and scarves, and place laundry bins below.

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Purse Display

women's accessories closet storage organization
Dera Burreson

Stacking your purses or clutches in a pile won't do them any good. Instead, protect your favorite bags and make them more visible with clear shelf dividers. Place prized bags in one compartment and group smaller items together in another.

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Closet Systems

closet organization storage clothing and accessories
Dera Burreson

Closet systems and bedroom closet organizers can help you make the most of your space. This plan implements several smart walk-in closet organization ideas: hanging bars, space to organize clothes on shelves, and drawers all help organize clothing and ensure everything has a place. This system is an excellent example of how to use space at the top of a closet and keep the floor clean.

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Shelf Space

kids closet with white shelves and baskets

You might think adding more shelves is the best way to organize clothes in a closet—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 things you have to store.

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Makeover Must-Haves

closet

Plan a closet makeover by measuring your current closet to determine hanging requirements and storage needs. Keep these measurements handy as you shop for bedroom closet organizers. Next, you'll need to clear everything out of the closet to install the new system.

Now is a good time to evaluate the content of your closet. One of the best ways to organize clothes in a closet is to keep clutter at bay by regularly going through items you can no longer use and donating them to charity.

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Double Duty

large walk-in closet with built-in laundry station

While ample closet space is a dream, too much space can be wasted, leaving room for clutter. On the other hand, finding a place for everything can be challenging in homes where space is at a premium. The solution for both scenarios? Double up. Determine what other function your bedroom closet can serve, such as a laundry room. Zoning is key in a dual-purpose space: Clearly distinguish where the closet storage ends and where a new function begins.

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Closet Armoire

closet

Don't have a lot of closet space? Freestanding armoires are perfect for customizable storage space to take the place of a closet. Although not technically a closet, these savvy pieces can borrow from clever small closet organization ideas. Here, wire shelving in ready-to-assemble cabinets mimics traditional bedroom closet organizers. The shelving maximizes storage space and allows for easy organization of foldable garments.

A tiered shelf stores shoes at the bottom of the cabinet, while sweaters and seasonal accessories are placed in baskets on the top shelf.

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Organize Your Closet with These Tips

Restore order in your closet. These these must-know storage secrets will help you clear out the clutter and find a spot for everything. Plus, see how a few DIY closet organizer ideas can yield custom storage for less.

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Kid's Closet Hacks

closet

Fabric storage bins help keep an open closet neat, organized, and presentable. Double rods on both sides of the storage tower provide extra space for shirt and pants storage.

To make it easier for kids to stick with your organization system, try this DIY closet organizer idea: Apply adhesive picture labels to the outside of the fabric bins.

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Small Space Used Wisely

Closet

Evaluate every inch of a small closet to maximize limited space. One of the best small closet organization ideas is to utilize over-the-door storage, which is great for shoes and belts—items that take up space in the closet that could be better utilized.

Bins and baskets allow quick, out-of-the-way storage for grab-and-go items like socks and underclothes. Uniform hangers, though a simple detail, help keep your closet neat and tidy.

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Changable Storage

mens accessories closet organization
Dera Burreson

Your wardrobe changes with the season and through the years; a closet that can adapt will support the shifts. When planning your closet, look for adjustable features. For example, you can rearrange these acrylic drawer dividers to suit any number of items, including scarves, belts, socks, and more.

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Space Management

closet organization

If your bedroom is small, consider placing your dresser inside the closet. While this move takes up floor space, you have plenty of vertical space for more storage. You can organize clothes on shelves above it and still maximize a closet's vertical space.

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Space Calculation

clothes closet organization bins shelves stepstool shirts

Small closet organization ideas rely on careful space planning. Use a combination of cubbies, shelves, and rods to accommodate any number of organizing ideas. Make a list of your storage needs and match it with the right storage solution. Map out the placement and size of shelves and rod lengths, and move on to the fun part: installation and organizing!

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Folding Clothes

closet storage

You might find that folding is one of the best ways to organize clothes on shelves in a closet. Meryl Starr, a professional organizer in New York and author of The Organizing Workbook, recommends these tips for folding clothes.

Shelves should be about 12 inches deep, roughly the depth of a stack of clothes. You don't want a lot of wasted space in front or behind.

Ventilated shelves promote airflow around folded clothes, reducing the possibility of mold, mildew, and pests.

Group like with like (jeans with jeans, etc.). Same-size items stack more neatly. Put clothes you use most in the center at eye level.

Don't stack higher than about a foot; leave at least 6 inches between the top of the stack and the next shelf for easy reach.

Add drawers to collect smaller items. If you don't have drawers, use a basket or two. Position drawers below eye level, so it's easy to peer in.

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Storage for Shoes

closet shelving show organization and clothing
Dera Burreson

If you love shoes and deciding how to store them is your main closet woe, try these tips from John Trosko, a professional organizer and co-author of The Experts' Guide to Doing Things Faster.

Slim shoes, such as flats and flip-flops, can be stored in a cubby. Use spare slots for belts, scarves, and clutches.

Drawers give the closet a polished, built-in look, while handy closet door storage works for folded clothes. Bulky items like sweaters and purses can go on the open shelves.

Eke out another sliver of storage by putting a shallow basket on the shelf below the top row of hanging clothes. Use it for things that fold up small, such as tights, tees, or socks.

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Hanging Clothes

closet

Hanging clothing inside a closet is an easy way to keep clothing organized, especially if you have a lot of dress clothes, suits, or dresses. Try these tips for managing hanging clothes in your closet.

For the double-hang area, put the shortest clothes on the top rod and hang the bottom one as high as possible under them. Use space near the floor for a shoe rack or storage bins.

Organize garments by category and separate them with hanging labels; the more specific the types, the better. For example, subdivide your shirts into short- and long-sleeve, or casual and dressy. Bonus points: Organize by color within a category.

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Slanted Shoe Rack

shoe closet organization shelves clothes heels

Storing shoes on slanted shelves makes it easier to see the shelf contents. Before installing slanted shelves, consider how many pairs of shoes you need to store and what size they are. You might want to space the shelves differently or decide on uniform spacing based on the height of your most high-heeled shoes.

Boots will need more height than flats. If you have a lot of tall boots, consider storing them elsewhere, such as beneath a hanging rod. Look for inserts that will help boot shafts stay upright at organizational stores.

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Pull Down Bar

Closet

Movable clothing rods inside your closet or armoire provide easy access to clothes when choosing outfits. The metal rod can be pushed up to keep clothes out of the way or pulled down to shoulder height for more convenience. Built-in drawers hidden behind wardrobe doors also help with closet organization.

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Accessory Storage

Closet

If you need an idea for how to use space at the top of the closet, hat boxes or high-quality gift boxes are an easy storage option. Whether you need a place for belts, scarves, hats, or other smaller items, stylish boxes provide the perfect-sized space and help keep little accessories in their place and out of the way.

If space is limited, try this small closet organization idea: place hooks on the door as a quick and easy hanging solution for handbags, scarves, or other accessories.

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Built-In Drawers

Closet drawers

Consider built-in drawers for storing sweaters, undergarments, and accessories. Shorter drawers might only store a stack of four T-shirts or two sweaters, which is beneficial because you don't have to dig through a large pile to find what you're looking for, but a series of shorter drawers might not offer the same amount of storage space as larger, taller drawers, because when you have more drawers, it means you need to have more room for the tracks and other drawer hardware.

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Lighting

Attic closet solution

Whether your closet is big or small, good lighting will make it even more functional. Look for ceiling-mount lighting that doesn't need hardwiring as a quick update for a reach-in closet. You can use lamps in a walk-in closet for extra illumination, which is beneficial for dressing areas.

If your walk-in closet has a window, install a light-blocking window covering. That way, you can keep out the natural light when not using the closet. Constant sunlight might cause some clothing to fade.

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Double Bars for Kids

closet organization

For a narrow and short space, utilize this small closet organization idea: stair-step rods for kids' clothing storage. Since their clothing is short and slender, you can hang one rod higher and further back and another bar lower and more toward the front to get a double layer of storage. Consider tension shower rods, which can be installed without making holes in the wall and are easier to change as the child gets older.

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Double Bars for Adults

closet storage ideas
Style: "mb closet"

Using double closet rods—one over the other—is the best way to organize clothes in a closet and squeeze in more storage space, especially if you have taller ceilings. Measure the length of items you'll hang 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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Closet Mirror

Closet System

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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Built-In Ironing Board

closet organization

Cut down on your ironing time with an ironing board that's always ready to go. Hang a wall-mount ironing board near an outlet and store the iron nearby. Simply fold down the board when you're ready to iron. There are also ironing board cabinets that can be recessed into a wall.

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Wire Drawers

Closet

Learn how to organize with wire drawers. This storage option makes it easy to see what you have in your closet. The metal pull-out bedroom closet organizer here has drawers with various depths to fit into different sized spaces and provides a more organized form of storage than simple cubbies would provide.

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Laundry Sorter

laundry closet

Want to streamline laundry? Try this DIY closet organizer idea: place hooks on the back wall of your closets, above your laundry basket, for hanging bags. Now you have an instant sorting center. Rather than tossing everything into the basket, use the bags to sort delicates or undergarments, so you're ready to wash on laundry day.

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Velvet Lining

vanity closet area with jewelry drawer storage
Dera Burreson

While most bedroom closet organizers focus on large items, a well-organized closet also pays attention to the small things. Utilize shallow drawers and velvet drawer organizers to keep your jewelry in order. With smart jewelry storage, you'll say goodbye to lost earrings and tangled necklaces.

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Bench Storage

white storage bench with purses inside functional organization

A bench is handy for keeping bulky items, like large handbags or briefcases, out of sight. Both built-in benches and furniture pieces will do the trick. They're also a perfect spot for storing extra blankets. Plus, a closet seat serves as a perch for folding laundry or putting on shoes

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Shoe Solution

Savvy Shoe Storage

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. 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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Multipurpose Shoe Holder

closet organization

Clever pocket-filled shoe holders are a versatile bedroom closet organizer and can be used for more than just footwear. Lingerie, leggings, and other small, foldable extras fit nicely into the pockets and because the pockets are translucent, everything remains easy to find.

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Piping

closet storage

Head to the hardware store for this DIY closet organizer idea. Use PVC pipe to organize scarves and ties. Measure the height of your drawer and cut pieces of pipe to size. Arrange pipe pieces in the drawer. Roll up your scarves and ties and place them inside the pipe.

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Luggage Tags

closet storage

Labels are one of the best ways to organize clothes in a closet. For this label idea, head to the travel aisle. Luggage tags aren't just for travel—they also work well as a bedroom closet organizer. Loop the tag around the handles of a basket or bin, and insert a label into the tag's pocket.

Putting labels on boxes and containers stored up high is especially helpful, and a clever way for how to use the space at the top of a closet. That way, you won't have to guess what's in the box, and you can pull down the right one on your first try.

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Garment Organizers

Garment Organizers

Sort clothes by category or color to make it easy to find what you need. Insert garment organizers (available at organization stores) or use multicolor 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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