Closet Organization Ideas

Get the organized closet of your dreams with our strategies for storing clothes, photos and art supplies. Plus, learn how to turn your closet into an office.

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Sort and Sell Your Clothing

First sort: Throw away any clothes that are soiled or torn beyond repair.

Second sort: Organizer Monica Ricci recommends to sort items one-at-a-time into piles based on the following criteria:

  • Love It: You wear it faithfully and like how it looks on you.
  • Hate It: You never wear it because it doesn't fit or you bought it because it was a bargain.
  • Like It: You wear it fairly often. It's also a key player in a few outfits.
  • Undecided: This is the pile for things you want to get rid of but are holding onto because they were gifts or were expensive purchases.

Once the closet is empty, follow these four-steps to determine what stays and what goes.

1. Set aside everything in the Love It and Like It piles.

2. Package everything in the Hate It pile for charity or resale.

3. Sort the Undecided pile piece-by-piece and separate the items based on Love it, Like it or Hate it. Decide what each piece currently means to you -not what it meant to you years ago. Be ruthless. Beware of the piece of clothing that cost a ton of money when it was new. The fact that it's in the Undecided pile means you haven't had it on recently or you're iffy on when you're going to wear it next.

4. Call your local consignment store for guidelines on resale and how the profit will be split - 50/50 is ideal. Also ask what happens to your clothes if they don't sell; most consignment stores will donate anything that doesn't sell within a certain period of time to a shelter or nonprofit organization.

Choose the Best Closet Organizer

After you purge your closet and before you hang everything back in your closet, evaluate the interior and determine your storage options. According to organizer Candita Clayton of Your Life Organized, one of the most common blunders - besides stuffing your closet with items you don't wear - is the lack of hanging bars and shelves, and inadequate storage for specific items like accessories and shoes. Clayton's first rule for a functional closet is creating flexible hanging space with adjustable poles and shelves that can accommodate a variety of pieces.

Take inventory of your:

  • short-hanging pieces, like blouses
  • long-hanging pieces, like dresses
  • shoes
  • handbags
  • folded clothing, like sweaters
  • accessories, like belts

With these numbers, figure out what will suit your clothing storage best. If the majority of your items are on hangers then be sure to incorporate rods at different levels for short-, medium- and long-hanging items. Install shelves or small cubbies for shoes and handbags and incorporate hooks for belts, scarves and jewelry.

Consider arranging your clothes by:

  • color
  • event (casual, work, formal)
  • type (shirts, pants, shorts)
  • complete outfits (with jewelry and shoes, too!)

Organize the Linen Closet
Are your sheets and towels a jumbled mess? Professional organizer Pam Hix has 10 tips to help you get your linen closet stocked, straightened and organized.

  • If linen storage space is limited, decorate the bathroom with towels. Hand towels and face cloths can be rolled and stored in wicker baskets or layered on a shelf in the bathroom.
  • Stacking towels with folded sides out, like they are displayed in stores, will make it easy to remove the towels one at a time. When towel edges face out, it's tough to grab just one.
  • Slip sheet sets inside their coordinating pillowcases. It keeps the closet neater and saves time when making beds because there's no need to go through a mess of odd sheets. Put a lavender sachet in with the linens to keep them smelling fresh while stored.
  • Keep two sets of sheets for each bed--one for the bed, another for backup. That way there is no wasted time folding, and extra sheets are not taking up space in the closet.

When putting away fresh linens, be sure to rotate them so that one set does not get more worn than another. Put the newly washed towels and sheets on the bottom, and always work from the top.

Store seldom-used linens by folding them wrong side out. This prevents dust from showing on the crease line. Little-used linens should also be stored away from the linen area that is used daily. It does not make sense to use a valuable storage area for something that is not used often.

Try hanging tablecloths on towel racks mounted on the back of the linen closet door to save space.

Keep toilet paper on the floor under the lowest shelf. Keep extra soaps, shampoos, toothpaste and other items in a basket on the floor next to the paper. They can be placed in bins and categorized, according to use, then labeled. Keep any items that are hazardous to children out of these low areas.

Store bed linens in the bedroom where they are used. They can be stored on a shelf or even tucked between the mattress and box spring.

Linens with a holiday or seasonal theme, such as flannel sheets, should not be stored in a linen area during the off season. They can easily be boxed up and stored in the basement, attic or even under the bed.

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