One closet, two lives? It’s a challenge but no impossible feat.
No closet is exactly alike, but there are surefire strategies, tested tools, and foolproof solutions that make organizing a stylish cinch.
Use Floor Space Creatively
Shoes aren’t the only things that can live on the floor. Take advantage of basement real estate with clutter-busting catchalls. Her baskets store hair accessories; his compartments keep ties and belts in easy reach.
Divide and Conquer
Distance can be a good thing; you both need a personal area so your dry cleaning and same-hued clothes don’t merge into one unisex mess. Don’t have built-in boundaries? Create your own zones by hanging damask drapes or decorative beads.
Make Room for Yours, Mine, and Ours
Closed storage keeps the closet well-dressed. Use overhead space for off-season items. Prevent confusion by labeling boxes “his” and “hers.” The “ours” box in the middle? That’s really hers too.
Obey the “Two Box” Rule
There is no room for avalanches in any closet, so stick to this trusty rule of thumb: Never stack more than two boxes high so that you are able to hold one storage container while sifting through the other.
Double Your Hanging Space
Squeeze more storage space by adding a double rod if your closet is deep enough. Measure the clothes you’ll be hanging and allow another six inches of clearance.
Adjustable shelves evolve with your changing wardrobe.
Measure Your Space
Only have one foot between the ceiling and shelf? These seven-inch high LINGO boxes from IKEA are the perfect fit. $6 for two, ikea.com for stores.
Not Just for Socks!
This drawer organizer works just as well for ties and belts too! $17, containerstore.com.
Claim an Open Area
Claim an open middle area for items that you use on a daily basis. Use a shelf for weights and have a hub for perfume and jewelry.
Velvety pads on these super-slim Huggable Hangers keep your clothes in perfect condition and create more space. Check out your local Big Lots store, where you can purchase their brand at just $8 for 20 hangers.
Hang as Much as You Can
Fold it: Delicate garments, especially those with beading
Fold it: Cashmere (anything)
Hang it: Dresses
Hang it: Skirts
Hang it: Blouses and dress shirts
Hang it: Pants
Jeans: Fold but be sure to align the seams to avoid that ‘80s crease down the middle switch out your winter wardrobes and get that heavy stuff out of your packed closet!
Clear and Present
In over your head with a collection of heels, flats, and flip-flops galore? The answer is finally crystal clear with these see-through shoe drawers. They stack securely with a simple click, and the drawer-like design lets you swap shoes without all the fuss. Crystal Clear oversized shoe drawer, $12, organize.com.
Proof is in the Pile
This tool keeps stacks perfect. Acrylic shelf divider, $15, organize.com.
Heels on Wheels
A new approach to keeping about 30 pairs in order. Silver shoe wheel, $65, rakkudesigns.com
If you need lots of organized space to store your shoes and purses,
invest in a wooden shoe rack that you can place on the floor under
your hanging clothes or stack together to make one big unit.
In the Bag
Have empty wall space? A bag rack keeps all your accessories in line. (Hang it at eye level.) Timbro expanding coat rack, $14, organize.com.
To Have and to Fold
Cheat with this FlipFOLD Laundry Folder, $20, containerstore.com.
Step 1: Open shirt facedown
Step 2: Start with right shoulder and crease half of the side of the sweater over and bend arm backward to make a V-shape.
Step 3: Repeat the process with left shoulder.
Step 4: Fold from the bottom up to the center once or twice depending on length.
Give an old shoe bag a new purpose: Turn it into a centralized household hub for spare bulbs, batteries, flashlights, and cleaning products. Up top is for heavier necessities like extension cords.
Multiple compartments in this over-the-door holder host linen and laundry room essentials. Store stain sticks, dryer sheets, and scissors (the items you grab most often) in the middle area so they’re accessible. To find a similar style, check out stacksandstacks.com.
Lavender is the new cedar. Its longer-lasting aroma leaves a fresh scent while deodorizing the fabric. $8, loccitane.com.
This vacuum-sealed storage solution will protect all your items from dirt, odor, and moisture. It also can triple your storage space. All you need is a vacuum and voilà! Space Bag vacuum-seal storage bags, $9, spacebag.com.
Before putting anything away for the season, make sure they are cleaned and any broken zippers or holes are repaired. The last thing you need when it comes time to wear the winter gear is to pull out a coat and realize some of its buttons are missing.
Apply the two-for-one rule: Buy one new blouse; toss two other pieces. Then determine what you’ll do with your unwanted clothes:
Check with local churches, hospitals, and women’s shelters in your area. Or donate to national organizations like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Dress for Success, and The Glass Slipper project. Make sure to keep your receipts to earn a tax deduction.
Bring like-new pieces to consignment shops, sell them at online auctions like ebay.com, or go to quickdrop.com where they can sell your eBay items for you. You can also try your luck on one of the many Facebook groups in your area for buying and trading.
Before bringing any new clothing in, check out online sites like swapstyle.com and freecycle.org which let you refresh your wardrobe by exchanging your items.
Style Your Space
There are no rules against applying your sense of decorating to the smallest area of the house. It might not end up looking like this one, but that’s all the more reason to spruce it up.
A Coat of Color
Paint one wall, all of them, or just add some stripes. The closet really deserves a pretty pick-me-up.
Little touches can make a big impact. Decorative knobs or antique coatracks can add some stylish and chic sensibility.
Add a rug for a comfy and fluffy foundation for your feet. Remember to measure the space before you buy to figure out what would be the ideal size for your closet.
Let There Be Light
For major wow factor, hang a pendant or chandelier. If you want to keep the elaborate stuff for the dining area, you’ll still need an adequate light source. Consider using low-voltage lighting, which is the most energy efficient option.
Seeing is Believing
A mirror keeps you from leaving the house looking like fashion roadkill and expands your space. The ideal size is a full-length one, and the optimum place to hang it is on a door or bare wall.
You can go green in the closet too. Seriously. Just put a little more effort and energy into organizing. Here are two ideas to get an organic head start:
Prevent mildew, moisture, and nasty smells with all-natural cedar aroma balls. $7 for set of 40, stacksandstacks.com.
This colorful hamper controls clothes, chaos, and is totally recyclable. Flip-Flop bins, $135 for set of two, vivaterra.com.
Think Outside the Box
Use an umbrella stand to hold odd items like a yoga mats.
Keep folded clothes or accessories neat with shelf dividers, like these from Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Use vertical space (both above and below the closet rod) to store more.
Who Needs Doors?
If you live in a small space, replace traditional closet doors that swing out with curtains or hanging screens.
Use stackable laundry baskets for easy sorting, that you can also carry or wheel to the washing machine.
Make more room in your closet by storing out-of-season clothes in boxes up high or under the bed.
Roll It Away
A rolling cart with coordinated boxes can be pulled in or out of the closet and used for clothing or office supply storage.
Use suitcases elsewhere in the house to store out-of-season linens, blankets, or sweaters.
Use Your Door
The inside of your door is a great way to utilize more space for organizing. A multipurpose over the door organizer can be used to make the most of the space, however you see fit. This one is from from West Elm, $79.
Here are some great closet organizing resources:
Comfy Closet Organizers – IKEA Wardrobe Ideas
35 Closet Makeover Tricks
20 Ways to Organize Your Bedroom Closet
Keep Your Closet Uncluttered All Year Long
Space-Savers for Small Closets
Creative Under Bed Storage Ideas