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9 Closet Hacks to Organize Your Space

Simple steps to declutter and make sense of your clothes and shoes

Woman clearing out her wardrobe
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Before you cram another item into your overstuffed closet, consider this: A survey conducted by a closet-organizing company found that 1 in 4 women thought their closets were disorganized and almost half admitted they could not find items in their closet at least once a month.

“The closet is the first and last place you go in your day,” says Shaniece Jones, founder and chief organizing officer at One Woman Army Management. “When you open your closet and can’t find things, not only are you wasting time, but there is a sensor going off in your brain that says Chaos.

Whether you have a tiny closet or a spacious walk-in, these nine hacks will help you create more room; bring order to your clothes, shoes and accessories; and (finally) get your closet clutter under control.

1. Clear out the clutter

Before you buy a single basket, drawer divider or shoe rack, take the time to complete a thorough closet edit.

“Editing your belongings before organizing is crucial,” says Jamie Hord, cofounder of Horderly Professional Organizing.

You may be surprised to find a long-forgotten sweater, dress or pair of shoes. You’ll probably also find unworn items with the tags still attached and pieces that haven’t fit — or been fashionable — since Friends was airing new episodes.

Toss articles that are stained, ill-fitting or outdated. Your reorganized closet should be filled with garments and accessories you wear and love.

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2. Swap out your hangers 

Joan Crawford isn’t the only one for banishing wire hangers. Jones isn’t a fan, either. She advises replacing both wire and plastic hangers. “Velvet hangers are the number one choice,” she insists. Thanks to their slimmer profile, the velvet kind saves a lot of space, and the fabric helps keep clothes where they belong, so no more finding your favorite silk shirt in a puddle on the floor. Note, however, that velvet hangers are too slight for bulkier items like blazers. Jones suggests using wooden ones for heavier clothing.

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3. Double up on hangers 

Instead of hanging a blazer and skirt, or a jacket and pants, on separate hangers, attach clips (even inexpensive wooden clothespins will do the trick) to secure the skirt or pants to the hanger, and place the blazer or jacket on top. Using one hanger saves space and keeps your coordinated articles together.

Spend more time in sweats than suits? Your zip-front hoodie and favorite sweats can be paired and hung in the same fashion.

4. Toss the shoeboxes 

Stop stockpiling shoeboxes on the closet floor. The flimsy opaque ones will lose their shape over time, and it’s impossible to see which shoes are inside. Jones also points out the risk of toppling the entire stack when you want to wear the shoes in the box at the bottom. A better option is clear drop-front containers. You can securely stack them inside the closet, and they allow you to see your shoes and pull and replace them through the front panel. ​

Shoe rack hanging on a wooden door
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5. Don’t overlook over-the-door storage 

Too often, the real estate on the back of the closet door isn’t used. “You can use over-the-door organizers for such a variety of items, like shoes, handbags, accessories, hats, gloves, scarves and other grab-and-go items,” Hord says.

Make sure to choose clear plastic or mesh organizers so you can easily see what items you’ve placed inside each compartment.

6. Hang your hat 

Removable self-adhesive hooks are ideal for hanging items like bags, belts, bras and baseball caps, says Jeni Aron, a professional organizer and founder of Clutter Cowgirl. Install hooks on the back of the closet door or on the walls of a walk-in closet, to add instant space.

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7. Raise the bar 

Basic closets may have only a single shelf and closet rod. “[This setup] doesn’t utilize all of the space in the closet,” Jones says. “You end up stuffing the closet, you can’t space things out, and you’re not able to create an organized space.”

A simple improvement is to add an adjustable closet rod. By hanging shirts on the top bar and pants or skirts on the bottom, you’ve doubled the amount of organizing space with a single product. 

woman puts container with socks and pantyhose in wardrobe drawer
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8. Bring out the baskets 

Baskets are an attractive option for corralling (and concealing) smaller items. Use them to store socks, underwear, scarves, makeup, belts and bags; but resist the urge to use baskets as a catchall, cramming them full of disparate accessories.

“In order not to lose stuff, create themes,” Aron suggests. “Label each basket so you know what’s inside.”

9. Step in style 

Every closet should have a stepladder for reaching out-of-the-way items.

“Accessibility is key,” Aron says. “If you can’t reach the very top shelf, keep a stepladder in the closet, so you’re not tempted to throw clothes on the floor of the closet because it’s too much effort to reach the top shelf.”

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