14 Ways to Organize a Walk-In Closet

Simplify your life with these walk-in closet storage solutions that free up space and restore order.

walk in closet

Caren Alpert

The extra space that comes with a walk-in closet is certainly an advantage to organizing your wardrobe. If it’s not designed well, however, you could miss out on the benefits. A poorly planned walk-in closet can lead to misplaced items, damaged shoes and handbags, and clutter on floors and shelves. Not to mention, you’ll lose time looking for items that inevitably end up shoved into a corner.

The good news is that there are plenty of walk-in closet organization ideas that will keep your clothes, shoes, and accessories in check. We'll show you how to customize your closet to fit your needs and maximize every inch of space. With organizing solutions and space-saving hacks, your walk-in closet will be your favorite place to, well, walk into. Learn how to organize a walk-in closet with our best tips.

closet with floral wallpaper

David Land

1. Create a Boutique Feel

A walk-in closet is a luxury and should be treated as such. Fully embrace the space by creating a boutique look. A pop of fun wallpaper, a plush seat, and an ornate mirror contribute to a beautiful and calming environment. Arrange shelves like you would see in a store by alternating shoes, hats, and bags. When you love the look of your closet, you’ll be much more likely to maintain its organization. Plus, you can think of it as your own personal getaway in your home—a place where you can relax and enjoy getting ready for the day.

Rods Shelves clothing hangers closet
Kimberly Gavin

2. Choose a Closet System

A custom closet system, available at local home improvement centers, is an easy way to update a typical 8x10-foot closet—and it can be installed in a weekend! Choose from a selection of drawers, clothes rods, shelves, and shoe storage to make the most of your closet. Customizable accessories, such as modular drawer dividers, can help you further organize your walk-in closet. Consider adding a small charging station to your walk-in closet so that cell phones and tablets recharge overnight.

metal closet racks for sweaters
Marty Baldwin

3. Separate Folded Items

Wire organizers help streamline walk-in closet storage and let clothes breathe. Ventilated shelves allow clothes to air out so they are less likely to harbor mold or pests. Many wire shelving systems offer snap-on shelf dividers that let you sort clothes more thoroughly. Remember to sort like with like, and keep stacks of clothes below 1-foot in height to ensure they don't topple over.

closet shelves

Brie Williams

4. Use all Available Space

While empty space can be a good thing elsewhere in your home, you'll likely need to utilize every square inch of your closet—especially if you share a walk-in closet with a partner or roommate. If you’re already taking advantage of a double-hang rod, introduced compact shoe storage, and have tidily folded your tops on the shelves, look up. The very top shelf, usually found above the top rod, is ideal for things you don’t use very often. Special occasion bags or shoes, holiday sweaters, or off-season clothes can be placed into labeled bins or boxes and lined across the shelf. Add a small step ladder to your closet so you can reach these items when you need to.

pink closet with woven basket
Marty Baldwin

5. Utilize a Hamper

Where there are clean clothes, dirty ones are usually nearby—and likely in a jumble on the floor. Make walk-in closet organization and laundry day easier by adding a hamper inside your walk-in closet. Choose a portable hamper with handles or wheels, or free up floor space with an over-the-door design. A divided laundry bag allows you to presort items before washday.

closet shelving show organization and clothing
Dera Burreson

6. Efficiently Store Shoes

Did you know that the average woman owns 40 pairs of shoes? Before deciding how to store your shoes, take a meticulous inventory of what you have. There are many shoe storage options for walk-in closets, from small cubbies to spacious pullout shelves. Keeping shoes visible, sorted, and easy to access encourages an efficient morning and cleanup routine. Slender shoes, such as flats and flip-flops, can fit two in a cubby. Tall boots can sit atop high shelves when out of season and on boot trays on the floor when worn frequently. A tall, glass-front cabinet pairs shoes in one convenient place that's easy to see. Acrylic shoeboxes achieve a similar effect and can be stacked on shelves or on the floor. Over-the-door and hanging shoe organizers are great ways to free up floor space and enlist vertical storage.

closet drawer with earrings

Marty Baldwin

7. Plan for Accessories

Accessories come in all shapes and sizes, which calls for a personalized storage system to accommodate every little thing. If your closet is also your dressing area, create a small vanity with a mirror for a mini grooming station, and place a jewelry tree or jewelry box on top to ease your morning dressing routine. Drawer organizers are another jewelry storage idea if you feel more comfortable keeping items out of sight. Purses can hang neatly on hooks and hangers, and small clutches fit perfectly in shoe cubbies. Place seasonal items such as scarves, gloves, and hats in lidded bins. Adhesive storage labels take closet organization to the next level and cut down on search time.

walk in closet

Caren Alpert

8. Cue Customization

If you choose to install a closet system, be sure to pick one that grows with you. Track systems allow for change or additions in the future as your wardrobe or lifestyle changes. The initial design should be spaced out from floor to ceiling, leaving your current things with some room to breathe. Then, as you accumulate more items or as your lifestyle changes (say you land a new job that requires a suit and tie on a daily basis) you’ll be able to comfortably add more shelving and hanging space.

closet vanity area hanging accessories above
Dera Burreson

9. Use Blank Wall Space

Most wall space in a walk-in closet is covered with hanging clothes and shelves but, occasionally, you’ll see a bit of blank wall that could be turned into storage. If you have open wall space, find decorative hooks and use them to hang your most-worn accessories like hats, bags, and scarves. Below the hooks, place a narrow console for smaller items such as sunglasses and jewelry. A set of hampers will fit nicely under the console, truly maximizing a walk-in closet.

large attic closet center storage
Anthony Masterson

10. Add Closet Lighting

Good lighting is often overlooked when planning a closet makeover, but it's an important feature to consider in clothing closets so you can see colors accurately. Look for a ceiling-mount light that will provide extra illumination in walk-in closets. Lamps are also great lighting options. If your walk-in closet has a window, install a light-blocking shade for privacy and to prevent clothing items from fading.

bags and sweaters in a closet cabinet

John Granen

11. Store Large Items

Another advantage of a walk-in closet is that it gives you room to store bigger, bulkier items that typically don't fit elsewhere. Reserve a high shelf or two for a carry-on suitcase or weekend bag. This way you won't need to trudge up to the attic or down to the basement every time you take a quick trip. You can just reach up, grab a bag, and start packing right in the same room.

drawer in a closet

Marty Baldwin

12. Create a Clothes Care Drawer

With extra space, you’ll have room for things that you might not have stored in a walk-in closet before. Reserve a basket or drawer as a fabric care section. Steamers, sweater shavers or stones, lint rollers, stain remover, a sewing kit, and shoe shine polish and brushes can be tucked away in one spot, ready for an outfit emergency. Consider adding an eyeglass repair case or extra shoe laces or heel caps in the kit as well, giving a home to things that might get lost in a junk drawer.

clothes hanging in a closet

Better Homes & Gardens

13. Plan Outfits

Most walk-in closets contain multiple sections for hanging clothes, with a combination of short and long heights. Use a small section to prep your clothes for the week. Find, create, or print out labels and attach them to dividers to symbolize different days of the week. Then, choose your outfits and hang them behind each divider. This takes the stress out of coming up with ideas on busy mornings and keeps your clothes organized and ready to go.

walk in closet with shelves
Jay Wilde

14. Hang a Double-Rod Organizer

Maximize your closet's height with a double-rod closet organizer. Organize shorter clothes, such as blouses and tank tops, on the upper bar, and pants and skirts below. Trim down on wasted space by designating a place for empty hangers, such as at the end of one bar. Reserve shelf space for folded garments, such as T-shirts and sweaters, that don't necessarily need to be placed on a closet rod.

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