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How to Organize a Closet: Tips and Tricks for More Organized Space


It’s 6:30 AM, your alarm clock is buzzing, and it’s time to get up for another busy day. You’re already running through the mental checklist of getting yourself ready, getting the kids off to school, heading to work, and all of the appointments and unknowns that pop up throughout the day. Needless to say, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You get out of bed and head to the closet to pick out what you’re going to wear only to realize the sweater you’re looking for is still packed away with the rest of your cold-weather clothes, you can’t find your favorite jeans, and the jacket you want to try on with the rest of your outfit is by the front door because there’s no room for it in the closet. At this point, the last thing you’re thinking about is how to organize a closet to make this whole process so much easier.

Sound familiar? Disorganized spaces, especially our closets, cause stress in our lives and waste a significant amount of time. We often don’t even realize that our chaotic closet is starting the day off on a sour note. The thing is, you can clean, organize, and rearrange your space, testing out totes, baskets, and other quick fixes in every configuration you can think of, and odds are your closet will still return to a state of disarray. Why? Because even if you know how to organize a closet, if the storage system itself isn’t right for what you own, it’s never going to meet your organizational needs sustainably. A well-organized closet, on the other hand, is powerful. It can drastically improve your mood, your productivity, and how you feel about yourself, your wardrobe, and your home.

Why Closet Organization Matters

For most people, where there’s mess, there’s stress. A disorganized home ranked 5th as the biggest stress trigger for people across the United States. At the same time, research shows that an organized closet can reduce stress levels by up to 40%. If you’re like us, you’ll take any amount of stress reduction, no matter how significant. But a whopping 40%? In an area you can easily improve? Learning the best ways to organize closets is something you can’t afford not to do.

An organized closet also saves a serious amount of time. Research shows us that 67% of people can save 30 minutes a day with more organization than what they currently have. In the closet, this means finding what you’re looking for right when you need it, having an easier time getting dressed because you can see all of your options at the same time, and eliminating the need to run from room to room because you’re able to store everything in one place. Getting ready in the morning? All of your outerwear options are in the same spot, so you can swap out layers until you find the right one to finish your look. Packing for a trip? Not only is all of your resort wear right by your airport outfit, but your suitcase has a dedicated spot in the closet, right where you need it.

We all want to make the most of what we have, and the closet is the perfect opportunity to do so. Most closets are built with a rod and top shelf, leaving much of the closet space wasted. A thoughtfully organized closet with a floor-to-ceiling structure allows you to use every available inch vertically and horizontally, which significantly multiplies the usable space while also creating new space for storing and organizing all you own. So, adding a floor-to-ceiling structure almost always makes your space feel larger than it actually is. Also, when you can easily see everything you own and you have a storage system that prevents things from getting lost, you won’t end up buying yet another plain black t-shirt because you forgot about the three you already have. Plus, a high-quality storage system also helps protect and preserve your wardrobe in the long run.

Finally, a well-organized closet just makes your space look better by reducing the amount of visual noise and clutter. When your space looks good, you’ll feel good, too. Another way to make this whole process easier and much more sustainable? Work with a professional closet company to ensure your closet’s storage system is designed exactly for you, your wardrobe, and your needs. Take some of the pressure off yourself and let the experts get your project done. The quickest way to end up with a truly well-organized space is by working with a design expert who knows the best ways to organize a closet. Keep reading to learn how to take the first step in the closet organization process, how closet design experts will transform your space, and what you can do to ensure your closet stays organized for years and years to come.

How to Start Organizing Your Closet

Let’s start from the beginning. To maximize your closet’s organization capabilities and make sure it doesn’t succumb to chaos over and over again, your closet’s storage system needs to be right for you, what you own, and how you like to organize things. A truly well-organized space is also easier to keep organized. Before learning how to organize a bedroom closet, we recommend starting off by ensuring the closet system you have works exactly how you need it to.

Lit Closet

1. Assess Your Storage System

The root cause of closet-related stress is often the system or structure that’s in place. No matter how much decluttering, cleaning, and attempted organizing you do, if your closet structure doesn’t meet your needs, it’s going to continue to cause problems. This is often the case with builder-grade closet systems, or closets that were built with the previous owners in mind.

Maybe you like to fold most of your clothes, but your closet is designed to predominantly accommodate hanging. Maybe it’s designed with mostly shelves and you’re spending your time trying to figure out how to organize a closet with shelves, when really you just need more room to hang things. Either way, working with a closet design expert to ensure your closet has exactly what you need to support your wardrobe and your routines is the first step to ensuring you have a closet that can be easily organized and stay organized.

2. Research Custom Closet Companies

When it comes to choosing which custom closet company to work with, it’s crucial to research your options and make sure you’re partnering with professionals who actually know what the best ways to organize a closet are. Taking the time upfront to ensure you’re working with the right company will save you time and money down the road by helping you avoid costly remodels to get your space exactly right. Plus, you’ll have a more positive experience if you truly like, trust, and feel heard by the professionals you’re working with. For in-depth guidance on what to consider when choosing a custom closet company to work with, click here.

10 things to do when researching custom closet companies:

  1. Compare Google reviews across different companies.
  2. Look for active social media profiles to see if they’re responsive and up to date.
  3. Ask if closet design is their core competency.
  4. Think about the full experience you want to have and consider if they can deliver.
  5. Visit their showroom.
  6. Consider how much time you’ll need to dedicate to the project with each company.
  7. Estimate your cost of ownership and what the long-term return on investment will be.
  8. Think about whether the closet a company offers can adjust to your changing needs in the future.
  9. Compare warranties. Are they offering a true lifetime warranty or only a limited warranty on parts?
  10. Ask how they design. Are they using state-of-the-art 3D software or sketching it out on paper which can lead to costly mistakes?

3. Engage an Expert

Hesitant to get started? An expert will guide you through the process and make it way less overwhelming. In fact, working with a closet designer takes a usually daunting process and makes it fun. Designers not only know many different ways to organize closets, but they also know the right questions to ask about your needs, your wardrobe, and your routines to make sure you’re getting a custom closet solution that will serve you now and well into the future.

They’re also experts for a reason–closet designers know everything there is to know about the custom closet industry, so they’ll show you possibilities you might have never thought of yourself. When it comes to creating a personalized storage system, experts do everything they can to make sure their designs are exactly what their clients need.

How the Experts Help

You’ve planned, you’ve prepared, you’ve called in the experts. Here are the many ways a closet design professional will work with you to determine the best way to organize your closet so you end up with a storage system that is easy to keep tidy and truly improves your day-to-day routines.

Expert Closet Designer

1. Decide What to Store in Your Closet

When the space in your closet isn’t well-planned, stuff has to go. It forces you to constantly move items to another closet or area of the home, or even purge things to make room for anything new. Research shows that 80% of the clutter in most homes is a result of disorganization, not a lack of space. When the space is thoughtfully planned by a professional, you end up saving so much room that it feels like your closet got bigger when in reality, it’s just organized much better. This way, you don’t have to find other places in your home to store stuff you really want to keep in your closet, and you won’t feel pressured to get rid of anything you don’t want to. And, with everything in one place, there’s no more running from closet to closet looking for that coat or dress you were forced to store in the guest room.

It’s important to think about if your primary closet is going to be dedicated to just your wardrobe, or if you want storage for other items like blankets, bedding, towels, or luggage. Maybe you’d like to make room for a vanity so you can store makeup and beauty products in your closet as well. Our designers will walk you through all of your options and help determine how to best use the space, what all is actually possible, and how to organize the bedroom closet in a way that improves your routines and storage capabilities.

2. Determine How to Organize Everything

There are many different ways to organize closets, and each method is highly personal. What works for one person may not work for another. A professional closet designer knows the right questions to ask to determine the best organization and storage methods for you and your space. Do you prefer to have frequently worn items in easy-to-access places? Does your brain work best with a closet that’s organized by item type? Do you feel calmed by an aesthetic space that’s organized by color? Or, would you like to have a little bit of each? Your designer will walk you through the use case for every possible organization method to determine the best way to organize the closet for you.

What to Do With Everything in Your Closet

After you’ve talked to an expert and decided on a direction for your custom closet, below are some ways you can prep the space so it’s ready to welcome your new organization system.

Coats in Closet

1. Determine Criteria for What You Get Rid Of

Go through your wardrobe and think about whether or not there’s anything you want to gift, sell, or donate. It’s hard to get rid of things, so planning criteria ahead of time for what to hold onto or let go of helps you stick to the plan when the time comes. If you’re torn on certain items, we recommend creating a “maybe” pile to revisit with fresh eyes later in the process. Remember, a well-organized closet allows you to fit so much more in it, so we’re not saying you need to downsize. Rather, it’s important to revisit your wardrobe annually or a few times a year to ensure you genuinely want to keep everything you have and to prevent the build-up of unnecessary clutter.

Questions to Ask When Pairing Down Your Wardrobe:

  1. Have I worn this in the last year?
  2. Does it fit?
  3. Is it damaged?
  4. Was it a gift I feel guilty about parting with?
  5. Am I holding onto a past me or a past style that I’ve outgrown?

2. Sort, Prioritize, Declutter

Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to empty out your closet. As you remove things, be mindful about grouping like-items together. Keeping clothes with clothes, accessories with accessories, shoes with shoes, and so on will save time and make it a lot easier to load up your new closet system.

We know you’re busy, and prepping your closet might not be something you have time to add to your to-do list. When you work with Inspired Closets, you’re not alone in this part of the process. Our teams assist with removing the existing closet system as well as creating a plan for any needed prep (filling holes, painting, and more) so your walls are ready for installation. We also offer garment racks for you to store your clothes during installation so they’re safe and easily accessible. Your dedicated designer will talk with you about what you need from us to create a plan that makes the process as easy as possible for you.

3. Put Things Back in a Thoughtfully Organized Way

Once your closet is installed, really take the time to ensure you’re putting things back according to the organization plan you created with your designer. Making a point to be thoughtful during this step will help in the long run by making it easier to keep your closet organized as time goes on. Plus, your new beautiful, totally custom closet will make this task simple, satisfying, and fun.

Closet Storage Tips from Our Design Experts

Ever wonder what the experts think the best way to organize a closet is? Below are some industry insider tips from our designers that can make a serious difference in your closet organization and day-to-day routine.

Learning Center Article Video Poster

1. Pay Serious Attention to Your Lighting

It may not be high on most homeowners’ closet to-do lists, but the lighting in your closet matters. Good closet lighting can massively improve your space–it lets you easily see everything you have, it can make your closet feel bigger, and different lighting types and temperatures can affect your mood. From ambient to accent, strip to puck, lamps to sconces, there are a lot of different lighting options for your space and each option will have a different impact.

When asked how to organize a deep closet in particular, our designers say that using strong closet lighting to eliminate shadows and dark spots can make the space feel completely brand-new. Working with an expert always ensures you have the lighting that best suits your space. Interested in learning more about how to start every morning off on the bright side? Click here to read our library article all about closet lighting.

2. Opt for Custom Storage Just for Your Shoes

One of the most common organizational pain points is shoe storage. Because shoes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, storing them can become a much bigger challenge than storing other accessories, especially because the one-size-fits-all shoe organization solutions out there might work for your flats and sandals, but they usually don’t accommodate boots, sneakers, or stilettos. Most people have different types of shoes for every occasion, plus multiple styles and colors of each type. When you have a lot of something, it’s easy for them to pile up, get haphazardly tossed in different places around the house, and become a chaotic, time-wasting mess.

Our recommended solution? Custom shoe storage. Our Shoe Shrine® is the definition of custom, changing with you as your shoe collection grows over time. Sleek, lightweight shelves can easily be adjusted to the height of each pair of shoes, maximizing your overall space. Because your shoes are neatly organized, completely visible, and all in one place, getting dressed is a lot faster and a lot less stressful.

3. For Small Accessories, Stick to Drawers

When it comes to storing small items, organizers and custom features are some of the best ways to organize closet drawers. Pull out the drawer, see everything you have, and find exactly what you’re looking for. Drawers are preferred for protecting things like necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, watches, sunglasses, cufflinks, tie clips, hair accessories, and more from getting tangled, scratched, or broken.

4. Use Storage Accessories Designated for Belts, Ties, and Scarves

Did you know that you can install dedicated racks designed specifically to organize ties, belts, and scarves in your closet? Storage accessories created especially for these long, often awkward-to-store items will prevent them from tangling, getting damaged, or getting lost. These accessories can also be discreetly mounted to the sides of cabinets and pulled out and put away as needed, saving you a lot of space.

5. Store Your Makeup In the Closet

If you have a walk-in closet with a mirror, good lighting, and a vanity or built-in dresser, keeping makeup in your closet and tackling this step of your morning in the same space can save time. It’s also a bonus when you can plan the day’s chosen shade of lipstick or blush along with your outfit. Wondering how to organize a walk-in closet makeup station? Use countertop organizers, dedicated drawer storage, or both to keep your makeup tools and products clean, sorted, and easily accessible. If you plan to do your makeup in your closet, also make sure you have a small waste bin nearby for easy cleanup.

Tips for Maintaining Your Closet Organization

Now that we’ve discussed how a truly organized closet starts with having the right structure in place, let’s talk about how you can keep the space tidy and maintain organization. The most important thing is keeping your closet clean and tidy. Having a clean closet is not only good for your health and hygiene, but it also helps to preserve your wardrobe. All of this has a significant impact on your mood and mental health as well, which is why it’s crucial to stay on top of dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and anything else you may need to do to keep your closet fresh, clean, and inviting.

Closet Island

When it comes to frequency, don’t wait until spring cleaning rolls around to pay any real attention to the state of your closet. Make the process easier on yourself and stay ahead by doing a light biweekly cleaning (if you’re already vacuuming and dusting your bedroom, you might as well tackle the closet, too), a deeper seasonal cleaning, and an annual true deep clean.

Our recommended closet cleaning tools:

  1. Broom and dustpan
  2. Vacuum
  3. Liquid cleaner (make sure what you’re using is safe for closet materials, we recommend non-abrasive household cleaners)
  4. Cleaning cloth (we recommend a lint-free, damp cloth)
  5. Boxes and bags for trash and/or donations

Start and end your day on a positive note in a well-organized space that looks good, feels good, and you truly love. Regular closet clean-outs help to maintain everyday organization, but true organization starts with a storage system that works exactly how you need it to. A custom closet designed specifically for you and what you own is your best and most sustainable chance at closet organization success. Ready to take that first step? Work with our design experts to determine the best way to organize your closet. We’ll help simplify the process, save you time, eliminate stress, and ensure you end up with a closet you truly love.

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