Closet Case: How to Organize Your Closet

Try these closet organization tips and tricks to tidy up your space.

By Simone McKenzie


Nothing screams overwhelming than a cluttered closet overflowing with piles of clothes, shoes, and broken hangers. You’ve had your fill and decided it’s time to tackle that closet and rein in the chaos.


Mess, dresser with scattered clothes, shoes and other things


Tools of the Trade

To begin, you’ll need a few items: three large container bins, sets of velour or fabric covered hangers (you can reuse the same hangers, provided they’re sturdy), and vacuum pouches to hold off-season clothes.


Start by emptying the entire closet. As you’re emptying the closet, place an item in one of the three bins marked 1) to keep, 2) to donate and 3) to discard.


Young caucasian woman in the wardrobe


In the to keep bin, you’re going to place clothes you wear frequently. These are items you’ve worn over the course of the year. They’ll also include staples that passed the tried and true test. These are clothes that prove reliable on days when you don’t know what to wear.


In the to donate bin, you’ll place clothes that you haven’t worn in two years. These could include clothes that looked great when you tried them on in the store but somehow haven’t had the occasion to wear. They may include that bright colored jacket that you’re waiting for the special occasion to wear. Remember, if you haven’t worn it in two years chances are you’ll never wear it.


Next is the discard bin. This will include clothes that have holes or are damaged and well past their prime. This batch will also include stretched out sweaters that lost their shape.


After emptying out your closet separating your clothes according to the three bins, you’ll want to see what kind of storage you have.


Organize by What You Got

Most closets come with a shelf and a metal rod for hanging clothes. If possible, install a second rod below the existing rod for extra storage. If it’s not possible to install a second rod, work with your existing closet structure.




As you’re going through the to keep bin, you’ll want to group clothing by type. For example, you’ll separate clothing by garment type by grouping tops together, pants together, jackets together, etc. While sorting clothes by garment type, you’ll also want to sort by color. For example, your pants will range from light to bright to dark colors.


From the to keep bin, replace the old hangers with the fabric covered hangers and start hanging clothes by garment type.


Hanging clothes


If it’s sweater season, you’ll want to neatly fold sweaters and stack them on the shelf neatly. The bulkier pile should be placed on the bottom while lighter sweaters are placed on top. If it’s not sweater season, you can place bulky sweaters in a vacuum pouch and store the flattened items under your bed.


Seasonality Is Key

Consider having a container to hold your accessories such as scarves, belts and ties. Opt for a clear container that you can easily see through and can be stored on the top shelf.


A well organized closet with custom shelves and bins


With storage, seasonality is key. You’ll want to store out of season items away and keep current season items in view.


Don’t overlook the use of the closet door. You can hang a shoe organizer on the door, for example.


Once you’re done organizing you’ll want to maintain your now orderly closet. Every two weeks weed out the nonessentials by asking yourself, when am I going to wear this? If the answer is no time soon, then you won’t want to add it to your current season of clothes.





Images used with permission, courtesy of and

Next: 5 Tips for Storing Winter Clothes