Does your walk-in closet “spark joy,” or does it bring you anxiety instead? After a Marie Kondo Netflix binge, you’ve likely evaluated your own walk-in closet organization methods, and they may not measure up.
If your closet seems small and cluttered, getting your belongings in order and maximizing closet space doesn’t need to be a daunting task. We connected with professional organizers to find the best ways to organize clothes in a closet, with plenty of storage ideas to make luxury a reality in your small space.
3 Simple Steps for Amazing Walk-In Closet Organization
1. Clean Out the Closet
The first step towards walk-in closet organization is to completely clean the closet out, removing every last item. Work from the bottom up to tackle shoes and other clutter that has likely accumulated over the years first, and finish with the hanging clothes.
Once everything is out of the closet, wipe down all your shelving and vacuum the floors to truly get a fresh start in this space.
“It’s very important to separate your feelings when you are purging your wardrobe. Focus solely on the facts: Does it still fit well? Does it match your current style? Is it still in good condition?”
Sarah Boughan | Organized Living
2. Declutter and Decide What to Purge
As you pull pieces out of your closet, ask yourself three questions:
- Have I worn it in the past year?
- Does it fit?
- Is it damaged?
While you’re sorting through your clothing, you should place each item into one of three piles: keep, donate and throw away. Keep the main staples in your day-to-day wardrobe, donate items in good condition that either don’t fit or that you haven’t worn in a few months, and toss pieces that have seen better days.
Having trouble deciding what to part ways with? We have some expert advice on how to get rid of stuff around the house that can help you get motivated to declutter.
“When decluttering a closet, homeowners should ask, ‘does this fit my current lifestyle?’ People often hold onto items that are not representative of the life they lead. For example, if a homeowner is holding onto suits yet has worked in a casual work environment for years, they should pare down. Also, clothing should be in the size that currently fits.”
Barbara Reich | Resourceful Consultants
3. Redesign and Add Storage to Maximize Closet Space
“Start by defining your vision for your wardrobe – this will guide your decisions and help you keep focused on the big picture. Do you want to get ready faster in the morning, avoid the laundry pile up, or just have a beautiful closet to admire?”
Kristen Ziegler | Minima
Once you’ve decluttered, consider reworking your layout and storage systems to maximize space in your closet. Try to dedicate at least one wall of the closet entirely to clothing rods. By taking advantage of your closet’s height, you’ll make the most of your storage space. Sarah Boughan of Organized Living suggests adding double hang rods to store shirts, jackets and pants. She also recommends considering a space to keep long hang items, such as dresses, coats or robes.
The key to organizing a small walk-in closet is to take advantage of prime real estate, and plan to hang your most frequently worn clothes in the most prominent spots of the closet. To organize your closet (and make sure it stays that way), Resourceful Consultants’ Barbara Reich advises homeowners to, “put all like items together. Within each category, organize by color. For example, put all long-sleeve blouses together, then all black long sleeve blouses together.”
While you’re hanging everything up in your newly organized closet, remember Joan Crawford’s infamous quote, “No wire hangers, ever.” It’s time to part ways with your wire hangers from the dry cleaners and upgrade. While wire hangers can be space-saving, they are too flimsy for heavy clothing, tend to tangle and can damage garments. Instead, go for matching hangers made of wood, plastic or velvet, depending on your personal preferences. Minima’s Kristen Ziegler advises, “Invest in matching hangers for a streamlined look (we love the Joy Mangano Huggable Hangers) and hang clothing from dark to light.”
Whether you opt for built-in shelving, decorative baskets or clear storage containers, make sure your accessories are accessible. Showcase your shoes with a shoe rack or tension rods on the floor of your closet. Keeping your shoe rack underneath hanging clothes is a great way to maximize closet space. If space allows, you can also display your favorites on open shelves.
7 Walk-In Closet Organizing Tips & Storage Ideas
1. Use hooks to create extra storage for hanging items.
Hooks are a great addition to add storage to the back of a door or empty walls. You can also tie scarves and belts around a hanger so you have easy access to these accessories, while making the most of your hanger space. Reich recommends using uniform hangers to eliminate visual noise.
2. Use old shoeboxes to build compartments inside drawers.
DIY your drawer organization for a creative and inexpensive storage system. You can use items building up clutter, such as old shoe boxes, to compartmentalize your drawers. We also recommend rolling shirts to maximize drawer space. Ziegler advises, “Fold clothing in drawers using the ‘file fold’ method where clothing is folded upright like papers in a file cabinet. It’s easier to see everything, and it maximizes space.”
3. Store out of season clothes in plastic containers or comforter bags.
Keep out of season clothes out of the way in plastic containers or comforter bags. Store them away on a shelf, under hanging clothes, or even under your bed, to save valuable closet space.
4. Use ice cube trays to organize jewelry.
For a cost-effective closet storage hack, use compartmentalized household items, such as ice cube trays, to organize your rings and earrings.
5. Repurpose pool noodles as boot inserts.
Another budget-friendly storage idea for your walk-in closet is to cut pool noodles and insert into boots to help keep their shape. Standing boots help maximize closet space and make your shoe collection look neater.
6. Hang a mirror to make your closet appear bigger.
Hanging a mirror is an easy DIY upgrade for a small walk-in closet. With endless styles to match your personal taste, the reflection of a mirror makes a small space appear larger and more open. It’s also a practical addition so you can see how you look while you’re getting ready.
7. Store miscellaneous accessories in bins.
Keep gloves, hats and other accessories in bins to add some personal style to your closet, while making efficient use of shelf storage space. There is a variety of bin types you can choose from, such as cloth, clear plastic, crates and baskets. Adding labels to the bins will help you find exactly what you’re looking for on any given day.
Apply These Closet Organizing Tips to the Rest of Your Home
Once you start utilizing a few of the best ways to organize a walk-in closet, getting ready in the morning is sure to “spark joy” once again. And now that you’ve tackled the organization of your walk-in closet, you should feel confident about taking on the rest of the house.
Check out our home decluttering guide for professional organizing tips to declutter your entire house, one room at a time.