Professional- Level Closet Organization Hacks

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Updated June 11, 2019
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We all want that giant, walk-in dream closet. You know, the ones that have a 3-way mirror and a chaise lounge in the center for when trying on clothes. But, likely, that’s not your closet situation, so we’ll have to work with what we have!

When you don’t have the actual space to have your dream closet, you can organize it, so it feels like your dream closet. We’ve provided these closet organization hacks that will bring a professional stylist level of organization into your apartment-sized closet.

closet organization hacks to create your dream closet

Closet Organization Tips (Step-By-Step)

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting organized and staying organized.

Step 1: Gather Some Sorting Supplies

Before you begin organizing, you’ll want to get some supplies together to make it easy, so your organization is well organized (ha-ha). If you are expecting to get rid of a lot of things, you should get some garbage bags or baskets and bins to sort as you go. You should have a basket or bag for donations, one for actual trash, and another (or two) for pre-sorting some items.

Chances are if you live in a small apartment, you use your closet for more than just clothes. As you go, you can separate clothes, shoes, and random items into different areas to get a head start on organizing it all later.

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Look into what donation facilities are accepting currently; Goodwill has a list of items they accept (or don’t accept). Also, local charities might be looking for particular items such as winter coats, boots, or other seasonal items you can watch out for as you pull things out of the closet.

And lastly, things are going to get messy. So set aside a day you know you are going to spend strictly on your closet. Also, do whatever you need to do to stay motivated that day. Crank the music, order a pizza, stock up on beer or snacks–whatever it is that will make this mundane task seem kind of fun!

Step 2: Take Everything Out of the Closet—Yes, Everything

Our first closet organization tip is starting with a clean slate. You will want to start by taking EVERYTHING out of the closet–empty all the racks, drawers, storage compartments. By starting with a blank, empty closet will make it that much easier to sort and put away clothes as you go.

Taking everything out of your closet might seem like a daunting, overwhelming task, but trust us, it will be the best way to hit everything at once. Plus, just because everything is coming out doesn’t mean it needs to look like a tornado went through your room. As you pull things out, sort them in the various piles we mentioned above—donations, get-rid, keep, and random non-clothing items.

girl removes pile of clothes from her closet

Step 3: Clean Your Closet

With your closet empty, you can get a good deep clean finished. Now is your chance to wipe down walls (or repaint), clean up garbage, dust, vacuum, mop—whatever you need to do to get your space spotless.

Step 4: Start Sorting!

Before you even start looking through the clothes, put them into sorted piles as you empty the closet. Make a pile for pants, jeans, shirts, dresses, accessories, hats, bags, etc. This can help keep you from getting overwhelmed and make sorting by category much more manageable, right out the gate.

When you start sorting, there are a few methods to make quick, sensible decisions when choosing what to keep or what goes. It helps to pick up the item, touch it, reminisce about it, and see how it makes you feel.

If you pick it up and smile and it’s a sentimental piece, or you just love having it, keep it. If you pick it up and you are more or less “whatever” about it, and you could live without it, or if it’s too similar to another piece, toss it. Refer to Marie Kondo’s 6 Rules of Tidying and ask yourself if the items “spark joy” for you.

Another quick way to decide is to ask yourself two questions: Have I worn this in the last year? Will I wear this in the coming year? If the answer to one or both of these questions is no, you might be wasting closet space hanging on to something you will likely never wear. Toss it!

woman using closet organization hacks to sort through clothes

Sorting Piles Based on Wearability:

Love it: make sure what you keep is something that you love and makes you feel confident.

Wear it often: I will continue to wear it in the coming years.

It fits: let go of those “one day they’ll fit again” pants.

No multiples: keep it simple; there’s no need to have multiple black cardigans.

Sentimental value: there are some things that you just can’t part with, but think it through, take a moment, and make sure you are keeping it for the right reasons.

Seasonal items: holiday sweaters, suits, cocktail dresses can and should be saved but can be stored appropriately so they can be accessible when you need them.

Step 5: Re-configure Your Space

If you cannot remodel a closet to fit your needs, like people who rent, then there are other ways you can configure the closet to completely utilize all that you have. One of the ultimate closet organization hacks is using bins, roll-out shelving and drawers, hooks, and hanging shelves.

Places like Target and IKEA are undoubtedly some of the most affordable and accessible places to get all your storage needs. IKEA is specifically designed for small spaces in mind and can offer all kinds of customizable shelving for closets without renovating your apartment.

Purchase matching hangers, storage bins, clothes separators, or whatever other ways you think you’d like to organize your clothes when you put them back in the closet. Clear containers can allow you to see what’s in your bins at first glance. Clothing separators can attach to your top shelves to separate piles, so they don’t topple over onto each other.

empty walk in closet with matching hangers

If your closet doesn’t have a top-shelf, install one! If you can hang things, and have floor space below, utilize it with bins storing seasonal items and shoes or small roll-out carts and shelving units for t-shirts, jeans, sweaters.

You can also make any necessary adjustments to it you want. For example, is your closet too dark? Consider installing more lighting, either permanent in your home or temporary touch lights, if you live in a rental. Some people even opt to remove their accordion doors and replace them with a curtain or something that takes up less space when opened.

Step 6: Get Organized in Categories

When it comes to organizing the closet, it’s best first to determine what you should hang versus fold. Items made of delicate fabrics (silk, velvet, satin) should be hung to avoid creases, wrinkles, and misshaping the item. Clothes that are larger or have structures like jackets, overcoats, blazers should always be hung.

This will be the most efficient way to store them and will keep them in good shape. Hang dresses, blouses, jumpsuits, trousers, and dress pants as well.

One of our best closet organization hacks is acknowledging that everything from t-shirts to jeans can be folded and stored. In addition, sweaters, pants, and even fancy evening gowns can be folded and stored if you are short on space. This creates space for everyday wear items in your closet and keeps these items set aside for when you need to wear them (seasonally or for special events).

One of the ultimate closet organization hacks is a method of folding t-shirts and jeans that allows for maximum space utilization and minimal wrinkles and creases. The incredible organizational master herself, Marie Kondo, displays how to fold and store clothing efficiently in this video.

Happy Organizing!

It’s always a good idea to declutter your closet and living space seasonally. Even if you live with limited space, you can move summer clothes to the front and winter to the back during warmer months, and vice versa in the cold months.

Make use of every inch of space you have, and make sure to donate things you no longer need! Hopefully, these closet organization hacks are helpful for your closet refresh!

If you liked these hacks, be sure to check out our other posts!

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