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How to Organize a Closet

How to organize a closet and ensure that it stays organized. Many tips on how to stay tidy and organized with a free printable step-by-step guide.

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A well-organized closet remains a dream for a lot of people. They never manage to organize the closet the way we see it in movies, on Pinterest, or on TV. And even if we do get it organized, keeping it organized and tidy is also not easy.

Closet OrganizerPlans

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Here is how to organize a closet and ensure it stays that way:

Take Everything out of Your Closet

Take everything out and put it close by. While removing all your clothes from the closet may sound tedious, it bears loads of benefits. It helps you spot clothes you no longer need, so you can declutter. For example, the ones on the bottom that have become dusty and haven’t left your closet for years. It also helps you categorize items and think about the ideal setup for your closet instead of just reusing the previous system that might not be ideal.

Clean the empty cupboard before you start returning things.

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Get Rid of Clothes and Things you Don’t Love, Wear or Need

The most important thing you need to do when you organize a closet is to get rid of clutter. If you don’t, you will never really be organized. You might just reorder your junk but if you are still folding those jeans that you haven’t been able to get into since you were 16 then now is the time to get rid of them.

Divide everything into 3 groups: keep, donate, and toss.

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How do you decide what to get rid of? There are different methods to decide what to keep or what to toss. The more ruthless you are, the easier it will be to stay organized. How do you decide what goes where?

Basically, you keep anything you really love, want, and need. Donate anything that you don’t really love, want or need and trash anything else that cannot be used anymore. That includes clothes with stains, broken items, etc.

How do you know what you really love, want, and need? There are different “formulas” to help you decide.

Mari Kondo, also known as Konmari, is a Japanese organizing consultant who has a great show on Netflix called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”. Her method to decide what to keep is to ask yourself if something sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If not, toss it.

I usually say don’t keep anything you haven’t worn or used in one to two years. I admit I often stretch this to three or four when I really want something but seriously if you haven’t worn something in years then you won’t wear it. I admit it, I’m a hoarder. It is better to ask yourself what you haven’t worn in the last 3 to 6 months or during the last season if it is a seasonal item. To be truthful, if you haven’t worn something in season in the last 3 to 6 months you probably don’t need it but I still go with one to two years. Do what works for you and be as ruthless as you can.

What about those who have clothes for weight fluctuations? I admit I have enough clothes to be 10, 20, or 30 pounds lighter. All I need is to lose weight and I am all set with clothes 🙂 My weight fluctuates too much and I admit that I don’t get rid of clothes that I can’t get into right now but I am hoping that I will be able to soon. While I don’t get rid of them I do have some rules:

  1. I don’t keep clothes that I haven’t been able to get into for more than 2 years. If it hasn’t happened in 2 years then it might not happen as hard as it is to admit this.
  2. Also, I don’t keep anything that is too big. If you are planning a baby then you might want to keep bigger clothes but I’m not and I don’t want to make it easy to gain weight.
  3. If you have a lot of clothes that you can’t get into then put them all in a box and go to our 30-day weight loss challenge. Eat clean for 30 days or set another weight loss goal and you keep the box. If you don’t then donate the box. How is that for weight loss motivation? Just to be clear you don’t need to be able to get into the clothes within 30 days but you want to know that you are in the right direction. If you don’t make any changes, then the clothes that haven’t fit for years will not magically fit.

Imagine your Ideal Closet

Now that you know how much stuff you have and how much space you have to store it in, you can start planning.

Firstly, you need to imagine what your ideal closet looks like. I like to set up a Pinterest board and save some pins that I love. Find ideas that are relevant and suitable. If you have a tiny closet then there is no need to pin huge walk-in closets. If you have loads of clothes then don’t pin those unrealistic closets with 10 items of clothing all in one color. Any closet will look good if you only store a few items in it, but who has only 10 items and all in the same color? Also, your ideal closet needs to suit your personal taste and offer functionality. Make sure that you have a clear picture of your ideal closet arrangement before you start. This is necessary to ensure that you have the accessories you will need to organize your closet the way you want it to be. For example, if you want to put things in boxes you will need to buy boxes. If you want to store bags in a bag system storage then you will need to purchase that. Plan where you would like everything to go and what you will need to do.

To develop your plan visit Ikea or another store for storage solutions, browse Pinterest and look for inspiration online.

Again, don’t try to copy those closets where you see 10 items of clothing all in the same colors. It looks amazing but any closet will look amazing if you don’t store what you actually have to store. Look for ideas where people store quantities similar to what you have in your closet.

Plan a Place for Everything

If you have followed the steps above you should now have a clean empty closet and a pile of the things that you love, wear, or need.

Plan storage according to your closet’s design or available space. If you need any storage solutions then plan them now. Make a list of the things you think you will need to buy. If you are sure you will need them then go ahead and order them. If not, wait until you have all items that need to be placed in that storage solution to see if they will fit in your closet and if the items to be stored will fit.

Here’s how to go about it:

Group like items together:

Gather sweaters, belts, long-sleeve shirts, dresses, work pants, button-down shirts, shorts, jeans, etc., and decide the best places to store each group of items, e.g.:

  • Sort by seasons and have the current season in your prime location if you don’t have enough room to have all seasons out at once.
  • Buttoned tops are best hung across the hanger’s rods at the top of the closet. Also, hang pants in the closet.
  • As for skirts, shorts and pants, fold and place them on the shelves.
  • Stack thick items like denim and sweaters into the shelves.
  • Roll t-shirts, pajamas, and underwear into storage drawers or boxes.

Konmari method to fold shirtsPin

  • Roll socks in drawers, boxes, or baskets.

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Storing items in groups will help figure out the best way to store them and how much space you need for each type of item. And when it’s all nice and done, it also makes color-coding your wardrobe easier. If you don’t have the patience to color then don’t worry. It looks great and it helps you find items easily but it isn’t necessary.

Tuck away least-used items:

The clothes that you wear less often, such as Halloween costumes, are best stored at the very top of your closet.

Properly utilize prime real estate: Store your most used clothes at eye level, preferably at the front and middle of the closet, to create easy access. For example, if you get dressed for work very early in the morning, it’s practical to store your work clothes at the front of your closet.

​Shoes and accessories should be stored in a separate area from your clothing. Make sure you have a storage solution for scarves, belts, and other accessories. Keep the rule of prime real estate in mind. And again, those accessories you use less often should be stored in the back of your closet.


The nature of your closet is a great determinant of how you carry yourself through the rest of your day. An orderly closet means convenience as well as a lot of time saved. Apply the above-outlined simple hacks and enjoy your dressing moments ahead. If you don’t have a space for every item then you will never stay organized. Make sure every item has a place. Also, try to spend 2 minutes a day putting your clothes away every day. If you don’t then things will get out of hand again. 2 minutes a day isn’t that long but when you stuff things in your cupboard without bothering to put them in the right place then your tidy organized cupboard won’t stay that way for long.

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About the Author
Photo of NicoleMy name is Nicole and I created this website to share the tools that keep me organized and productive and help me reach my goals. I hope that you will find them helpful too.

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