How many times have you looked at your closet and thought “I don’t have a thing to wear” or “I’m wearing the same outfits all the time”? Then, implementing some of these clever ideas on how to organize a closet can help you get los of new ideas.
You’ll be able to shop your own closet and create dozens of new outfits from what you already own.
How to organize a closet
The irony is that we usually have a lot of clothes, but we’re just not wearing them. I read that on average we only wear about 20% of what we have!
One of the reasons for that is that it’s often too hard to find new outfits. You may be in a rush and want to wear something new, but it’s impossible to find new combinations.
That may be due to how you organize your closet. Clothes may be hidden or out of sight. Particular types of clothes may be hard to find. Combining clothes becomes a chore instead of a fun activity.
That is why you need to learn how to organize a closet.
5 reasons Why it’s important to organize a closet
First of all, does it really matter if your closet is organized so long as all of your clothes and shoes are in there? Well, I’d argue it does for the following reasons:
1. You’ll save money
Have you ever bought a new t-shirt or pair of black pants, for example, only to get home and then find you have very similar items already in your closet? By re-arranging your wardrobe, you’ll be able to see exactly what you have so you won’t buy duplicates.
2. You’ll rediscover old favorites
Have you lost track of what’s in your wardrobe? By re-organizing, you will probably find some clothing lurking at the back or the bottom of your closet that you had completely forgotten about. By re-incorporating them into everyday use, you can create new outfits.
3. You’ll wear more of your wardrobe more of the time
By putting some clothes storage ideas into place, you can see exactly what you have, so you will wear much more than 20% of what you own.
4. You’ll create a wider variety of outfits
Everyone knows someone who seems to have a different outfit on every time you see them. I bet if you peeked into their closet, you would see that it is super organized.
5. Your clothes will last much longer
By storing everything correctly, you’ll find that your clothes retain their shape and last much longer, meaning you’ll be able to wear them for many more years to come. For instance, you’ll want a nice wide, supportive hanger for your blazers to ensure they retain their shape at the shoulders.
The suit hangers (below) are well recommended if you have blazers and coats that need to keep their shape. Reviewers say they are sturdy and have an appealing finish.
Quality Luxury Curved Wooden Suit Hangers
How to organize a closet: Before you start
Before looking at how you should organize your closet, it’s important to make sure that you want to keep everything that is in your wardrobe.
If you can bear the temporary chaos, pull everything out of your closet and ensure that you love, and will wear everything in there. Don’t keep anything that doesn’t fit.
By paring down what you own, you will find your closet reorganization is much more efficient and you are likely to be able to do much more with less.
Specific ways how to organize a closet
So, now that you’re (hopefully) convinced about the merits of re-arranging your closet, exactly how should you do so?
There’s no one right answer. Everyone has their own preferred way to organize. Take a look at the ideas below and think about what will work best for you and your lifestyle.
You may already use one of these methods of organization. If so, I’d love to hear about how you organize your own closet. You can let me know in the comments at the bottom of the article.
There are 7 different ways below that you can choose to organize your wardrobe.
1. Organize your clothes by season
This is a particularly useful tip if you are working with a smaller closet space. Separate your clothing by season and only have in your closet what is suited to the season you are currently in.
So, depending on where you live, you may have a spring, summer, fall and winter capsule (there are more tips here on how to create the ultimate capsule wardrobe). Or you may have a warm weather and a cold weather wardrobe.
Keep what you are wearing this season in your closet and find somewhere to store the rest of your clothes. For example, could you utilize space under your bed for the clothes you don’t need right now, or put them out of reach at the top of your wardrobe?
For more storage ideas read our article on the best vacuum storage bags to store your clothes and save space.
2. how to ORGANIZE a closet BY THE days OF THE WEEK
When you have a busy week, it can be overwhelming to keep on top of everything you need to do, let alone create a stylish outfit for each day.
While weekly hangers are often used to organize children’s clothes, they work just as well for grown-ups! You can arrange the outfits that you need in one section of your closet for the whole week so you can easily pull out what you need each day.
White Loft Weekly Clothes Organizer
3. how to Organize a closet by clothing type
If you struggle to easily see what you own and put together outfits day-to-day, then organizing by item type could be the best way for you.
Separate your blouses, pants, skirts, dresses and jackets. That way, you can easily pick your separates to create stylish outfits.
To get really organized, you could even use wardrobe dividers to make sure everything stays where it should be in its own section.
TraGoods Clothing Rack Size Dividers
4. Organize by activity
Everyone has different “hats” that they wear and you’ll have different clothes for these different roles in your life. Hang all your work clothes together, then all your casual items, then your dressier clothes. You can have a separate section for your workout clothes.
5. Organize by frequency
Even with the most beautifully organized closet in the world, you will still have clothes you wear more often than others. Think about organizing your closet by how often you wear them. Make sure your favorite pieces are always accessible. Your occasionwear could be stored at the back or top of your closet to make room for your everyday outfits.
6. how to organize a closet: Organize by color
Color coding your closet can not only make it look more aesthetically appealing, but can help you to pick out your outfits, particularly if you are a very visual person.
7. Organize by outfit
You could put your outfits together so they are just ready to pull out the closet as one ready-to-go outfit to save time each morning.
Another idea to do this if you don’t want to organize your closet by outfit is to take out the entire outfit you will wear the next day and place it outside your wardrobe on a mannequin the night before so it is all ready to go.
How to organize a closet: Closet organizer ideas
Now that you’ve figured out whether you’re going to sort your closet by type, color or season, exactly how are you going to organize it?
Where are you going to put everything? Below are some of the best tips and tools for keeping your closet perfectly tidy – and ensuring that everything you own is visible and easy to access.
1. Fold bulky items
You may have a huge closet with room to hang up every single item you own. However, if you do need to conserve some space, fold your bulkier items such as your sweaters and jeans. If you don’t have enough shelving, you could always opt for hanging shelves.
GRANNY SAYS 3-Shelf Hanging Closet Organizer
2. Matching hangers
Nothing makes your closet look instantly messier than a motley collection of plastic hangers that you’ve picked up along the years from stores or dry cleaners.
Instead, invest in matching hangers which will ensure your clothes hang in a uniform way and that they retain their correct shape.
ZOBER High-Grade Wooden Suit Hangers
If space is of a premium, opt for slimline hangers like the non-slip hangers (below).
IEOKE Non Slip Velvet Clothes Hangers
3. Use drawer dividers for your underwear
Rather than just throw all of your underwear into your drawers, use drawer dividers to organize your underwear, bras and socks. You’ll find your bras retain their shape better and you won’t spend ages searching for matching socks.
You can also use this type of organizer to roll your t-shirts and store them so they don’t crease before you wear them.
Simple Houseware Closet Underwear Organizer
4. Hang your scarves
A scarf can instantly add some pizzazz to your outfits (see how to wear scarves). To make sure you can find yours easily, don’t fold your scarves, hang them!
DecoBros Supreme 23 Loop Organizer Hanger
5. The same goes for your belts
Rather than using drawer space, you can also hang your belts so you can quickly add them to your outfits (see how to get the most out of your belts).
6. Use connector hooks
If you really don’t have much closet space at all, you could use connector hooks so you can hang similar items, or outfits which go together on the same hanger.
Mlici Connector Hooks Hanger Extenders
7. Store your shoes efficiently
Shoes can quickly take up a lot of closet space. Here are our ideas on how to store shoes. If you have seasonal shoes you don’t wear all through the year, or you really don’t have much closet space, you could use under-the-bed storage.
Woffit Under Bed Shoe Storage Organizer
8. Use vacuum storage
Another way to save a lot of space is to use vacuum storage bags. These work well if you organize by season as you can vacuum pack the season you don’t need right now.
Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags
9. Utilize the bottom of your closet
If you have hanging space but don’t tend to put anything at the bottom of your closet, why not use this under-utilized space? Don’t just throw everything in there though or you’ll never be able to find anything. Instead, opt for an organizer you could place your shoes and handbags into.
ClosetMaid 5062 All-Purpose Organizer
10. Fold your jeans upright
Do you usually store your jeans folded? Then, when you want a pair from the bottom, you can end up dislodging everything. Instead, have you thought after folding your jeans upright so you can see what you have and reach them easily.
TOOVREN Grid Closet Organizers
11. Pack away what you don’t need now
You have already seen some options for storing away what you don’t use often. As well as vacuum storage, you could think about storage bags you can pop in the top or bottom of your closet.
BALEINE 3PK Premium Oxford Closet Storage Bags
12. Hang your jewelry
You’ll find it a lot easier to accessorize if you can easily see what you have. You could hang the jewelry hanger (below) in your closet or on a hook behind your door.
MISSLO Dual sided Hanging Jewelry Organizer
How I (Sylvia) organize my closet
I organize by activity, then by item and then color.
I find this the easiest as I always know where to find things, and this makes it very easy to mix and match clothes.
How image consultant Yvone arranges her closet
For me it was time to think out of the box when looking at clothes storage ideas, or out of the closet as it were.
I have always arranged my closet by activity and color. I have lots of smart casual clothes and only a few special occasion and business clothes.
But why can’t I wear those for other purposes? And why am I keeping good clothes for only special occasions? And what about clothes that I had designated for summer wear only when some of those tees and tank tops can be worn under cardigans or jackets in cooler weather.
I decided that I would re-arrange everything in my closet by outfit combinations.
I removed everything from my closet and selected 1 item I wanted to create an outfit around. I chose a velvet blazer that I wear with crepe pants for an evening out. But that jacket can also be worn in the daytime.
I hung everything together that I could possibly wear with that jacket and ended up with a pencil skirt, plaid pants, indigo jeans, black jeans, crepe pants, 4 blouses and 2 tops for a minimum of 10 outfit combinations. I then added a duster length cardigan which could be worn with everything in that grouping, giving me another 10 outfits!
Then I added scarves and necklaces. By the time I finished, most of my closet was organized this way and it felt brand new. It also exposed which pieces aren’t versatile or are stand-alones.
Here are some more closet organization ideas to try:
- Change the order in which you hang your clothes. Take what’s in the back of the closet and move it to the front. Forgotten clothes will now be visible.
- If you have a walk-in closet that has shelves and hanging bars, switch it up so that everything is now hanging or folded in a different place.
- If you arrange by activity now, change that and arrange by season or color.
- Stop arranging by type. Arrange by outfit combinations – which is what I did.
No matter which technique you choose, all of these ideas will give you a fresh look at what’s in your closet. Give it a try, you will be surprised at how many new outfit combinations you can create.
How do you like to arrange your closet? What are the best ideas you’ve discovered on how to organize a closet? Let me know in a comment below.
More ideas on how to organize a closet:
- The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Capsule Wardrobe That Works For You
- The Best Vacuum Storage Bags To Store Your Clothes And Save Space
- How To Store Shoes – Lots Of Ideas To Get Organised!
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Great ideas. I’m fortunate that I have a large walk-in closet so I hang everything. All pants including jeans on plastic skirt hangars. (All the same design). All tops including sweaters on velvet hangars. (All the same). By hanging everything it reduces the time spent pressing
clothing. Hate wearing wrinkles. Tops are hung by sleeve length then sorted by color. All vacation/resort wear in a different closet. I also keep a list of what I wear on these trips so I can alternate outfits usually using a color theme. I keep accessories/underwear/jewelry in close proximity to dressing room to reduce time it takes to get dressed. I have a shoe closet where casual shoes are sorted by color. Heels are on separate shelves.
I keep a medium notebook and pen in my closet. When I travel, I write the date and destination. then I make a list of clothes with shoes and jewelry that I pack. Often when deciding what to pack, I try on outfits. I will write those combinations in the book even if they don’t get to go. These outfits become my go-to uniforms for the season.
Also, I keep a page for reoccurring events, like bridge club once month. I note the outfit, so I don’t repeat it for the season. Also becomes a list of go-to clothes.
Also note new monthly items purchased: Jan – blue turtleneck (matches blue plaid pants.)
So many great ideas!! I keep a very organized closet. First, only Fall/Winter OR Spring/Summer clothing lives in my closet!! Then items are together by type for example blouses, skirts etc. Then by either sleeve length or skirt length from shorter to longer. I don’t wear any pants or jeans. Then I organize by colors of the rainbow in each section!! The patterns go with the color of the background. I place patterns as the last items in the colors!! This works very well for me!! BUT, I do combine outfits by using a item and building on that!! My evening clothing is stored separately!!
Excellent advice. A year ago I reorganized my clothes in my closet and dressers by color. Totally transformed the way I got dressed in the morning. I wonder why it took me so long (I’m 59!) to figure this out. I guess we never stop learning!
This is fantastic information. I typically have my closet by type and then by color. I’m in the Midwest, so seasons are always changing so season doesn’t work so great. And function is so fluid with “business contemporary” I feel like I’m limiting myself. One thing I did was take an inventory of my clothes, categorizing by color, type, season. I have been logging what I wear each day for months so I really know what I don’t wear, and what I absolutely love. I even made a basic algorithm to spit out new ideas at random (still needs some tweaking). I’m going to try you idea of picking some favorite items and making all the outfits I can with it!
We are organized fashionistas! Like most of you above, I have reorganized my closet a couple months ago. To keep my reply short, winter and summer blazers, jackets, dusters are separated by season and color. (Some are interchangeable). Blouses, shirts, and tees are used all seasons and organized by color. Turtlenecks and tanks folded in drawer. Pants and Jeans on layered pant hangers. I use hangers that are very thin and sturdy and take up little space in the closet. Handbags on an overhead shelf (which can be seen but I have to get on a stool to reach them or use a grabber). Scarves are on the hanger pictured above. Jewelry separated by metal or color in my dresser drawer. Shoes are hanging on back of closet door. I too use Pinterest or other sources for outfit inspiration but I’m going to spend some time and take pics of the outfits I create with my clothing because I am a visual person. One thing I have done is made a chart of the pieces I can use from my wardrobe to recreate the picture I’m looking at from Pinterest, etc. Stay healthy ladies. Enjoy your outfits.
A good idea, I have now organised my wardrobe into winter and summer (although I wear my summer tops all year round), but I spent a day actually putting things together and photographing them (like Lady J) and it really helps, I have more room, as I discarded things that didn’t work for me any more and combined others in a new way, I also am much clearer about anything I need to add. I have kept a ‘scrapbook’ of images I like on Pinterest to refer to should I need more inspiration, the upshot is that I have bought clothes in the past I know suit me (and didn’t!) and now I have a clear idea of the way I want to look, no more muddled shopping plus more space!
What I do is I take my purple velvet jacket I got sumlarbto onebin picture I have matching pants. I can wear beautiful light pink blouse in spring. In winter I with black shirt underneath black boots and accessories. In fall I wear with purple assorities. I don’t wearbin summer because it is velvet. I can wear purple velvet blazet with black pants black cami to work. What I do is I take old cell phone no longer working I take picture outfit with accessories. I make my own look book. A look book is what companies do once a year so customer can see different ways wear clothes. I take picture whole outfit front in back. That way I can see many outfits I can come up with including shoes, purses, scaft and other accessories. Because it is in old cell phone. I can see what looks good or what I can change. I got full length mirror from Walmart for $5.00 . it does come with tape or hanging device. But it gets job done. I just need be able see total outfit. I got my clouset broken down costs , gowns, dresses, church suits dresses. I have walk in closet think Carrie Closet from sex in city.
Makes sense. I am going to try it. My challenge is that I retire almost two years ago and have trouble weeding out my wardrobe. I love some of the pieces that I know that I will never wear again. I used to go to a lot of evening, dressy events. No longer. I also used to wear a lot of dresses for business. No longer. Now, I seem to live in slacks. I’m working on it, sending clothes to Goodwill, but its a slow process. I may look into a plus size consignment shop.
I know that the Dress for Success type non-profits are always looking for Plus-size nice clothes. They help people coming out of prison, abuse situations, poverty, etc and doing interviews for jobs who don’t have the right clothes yet. There are several of these kinds of non-profits.
Fantastic tips! I’m definitely going to try outfit grouping in my closet of traditionally organized pieces. This is brilliant. Thank you, Yvonne.
I still organize by color in groups (cardigans/blazers, tops, pants, and skirts). Scarves and jewelry are also arranged by color.
I feel like it helps me create new combinations that way, and it always feels like I have a new outfit.
I like this idea. It’s a good way to incorporate new purchases! In order to wear all my clothes, I move whatever is not seasonal, right out of my closet. Then when I wear something, it goes to the back of the closet, so I don’t see it. I take clothes from the middle and make outfits with whatever is there. And then afterward it is put in the back. Gradually, everything rotates toward the middle again. This way I wear everything and if I don’t wear something, it is donated.
What I enjoy most about this blog is that it features ideas from a variety of people. Single person blogs become predictable and boring fairly quickly. For me your guest writers are a big part of your strength…….just wondering why Yvonne’s full name was not given?
Great article. I gave it a try and am inspired by all the new outfits I came up with….finally finding ways of bringing underused items into my regular rotation. and making me aware of “missing links” that are preventing me from completing certain outfits, and realizing that I should eliminate others (yay, more space). Actually trying all the outfits on to see if they really worked gave me very different result than just doing it in my head — a very worthwhile exercise. It took me half a day, but left me feeling as if I have an entirely new wardrobe!
Thanks C.L. Great to know you enjoy the multiple perspectives. Not having her full name was an oversight on our part. Just added it.
Oh how I wish I could take your advice, but it doesn’t work with me. As soon as I hang a particular item in a different place, I can never find it anymore. Taking everything out of my closet and rearrange it by outfit would take me weeks. Literally. And just laying items together on the bed (or on Polyvore) doesn’t work either. I have to put them on together. A pretty time consuming task.
Fortunately I have a pretty darned good memory of what clothes I own.
Excellent post! So many great ideas and tips. Thank you for sharing your wisdom Yvonne and thank you, Sylvia, for sharing her post with us.
Love all these great tips!