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Closet organizing tips

I have to admit, I have a little problem with clothes.  I love pretty things.  Shopping for treasures at thrift stores is a treat for me.  But in order to find and wear all these treasures, I need to have a really organized closet.

So, this is what my closet used to look like.  Just a basic closet with a standard single bar and shelf.  That’s it.  How is anyone supposed to make that space functional?

How to organize a basic closet
This basic closet needs a makeover!

I decided to makeover my closet by adding new storage to organize my clothes, using simple, budget-friendly options.  Now I can find what I want to wear, when I want to wear it, and I did it all for about $350.

Read on to see which methods might work for you.  Also, download your FREE Clutter Control Checklist to maintain the beautiful order you create.

Closet Organizing Tips to Try

1. Shelves for Folded Items and Shoes

Closet organizing ideas

First, I added LOTS of shelves.

Narrow cubby-style shelves are great for storing bulky folded items, such as sweaters and jeans. They also house bins, to store small things like bathing suits, purses, or scarves.

Shelves mounted close together (above the drawers) make a very efficient space to store shoes. Boots get their own shelf on the bottom right.

The existing shelf across the top of the entire closet was raised slightly, to allow room for an additional hanging bar. This top shelf holds luggage and other pieces that aren’t used often.  Pro Tip:  Don’t put the top shelf up too high, or you won’t be able to use it.  The wall in front will get in the way of larger items.  Plus it’s harder to reach.

2. Multiple Bars for Hanging Items

Closet organizing tips

Next, I installed three bars for hanging items (two on the left side shown here, and one on the right, shown above).  Hanging clothes helps to prevent wrinkles, so I try to hang as many of my clothes as possible.  Even if you live in t-shirts, hanging them will keep you from looking rumpled.

Reusing the existing hanging rod, I cut it into three sections. With brackets purchased at the local home improvement store, it was easy to hang the bars where I wanted them.

This eliminates wasted space below shorter items that were previously hung in a single row. Shirts are on the top, with skirts underneath. Longer items like dresses hang in the taller space.

3. Drawers for Folded Clothes and Undergarments

A large set of drawers now takes up half of one side of my closet.  Pro Tip:  Make sure you can open the drawers when the closet doors are in place.  That’s why these are tall and narrow.

Drawers are great for storing under garments, folded t-shirts, shorts, and athletic wear.  Smaller items such as camisoles store well rolled up.  I like to store my t-shirts on end.  Held in place by bookends, this makes it easier to see what items I have, without digging through a pile.

4. Hooks for Accessories

Accessories are often overlooked in closet design, but they need a home, too.

To the left of the double hanging bars in the photo above, you see hooks are used for belts, scarves, and hats. This is a rack normally used for cups, repurposed for accessories.

Get a whole list of clever organizing ideas in our article How to Organize Your Fashion Accessories.

5. Sorting Methods to Make Things Easy to Find

How to organize a closet

Finally, each type of clothing now has its own place. Shirts, skirts, dresses, jeans, sweaters, t-shirts, and all have their own designated part of the closet.  Items of the same type get stored in the same place.  By keeping like items together, you know right where to go to find what you want.

In my closet, I also like to do additional sorting by color. Items that are the same color get grouped together. This isn’t necessary, but it makes it easier for some people to coordinate outfits.

Plus, it looks good.  To be honest, when I finished this makeover, I left the doors off for a few more days, just so I could admire how good it looked.

Money Saving Tip

An organized closet allows you to see and use your clothes better, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to makeover your closet.

You can repurpose items you already own, such as hooks, bins, boxes, and shelves.  You can even move an existing dresser or chest of drawers inside the closet, rather than buying something new.

In my closet, I reused the top shelf, and the original bar.  Most of the furniture pieces I purchased came from Ikea, where prices are very reasonable.  And just between us, I painted a scrap piece of wood white and installed it as a shelf, and you can’t even tell it was scrap.

Happy organizing!


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The checklist has daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly reminders for tasks that will help you win the battle with clutter.

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