How To: Organize Your Closet in 4 Simple Steps

ClosetCleaning How To: Organize Your Closet in 4 Simple Stepsphoto: we heart this

Time: January. Place: Your closet. You stare at a bright tumble of cardis shoved on a shelf, boots crumpled in a corner, and a snake’s nest of scarves slithering off hangers and puddling onto the floor.

It’s a scary place, your closet. But you are brave, so you push in closer, making your way towards your fur coats (fake, of course). Suddenly, as you squeeze past a faux mink, you feel cold air on your face – you are looking into another world, one of sugared snowflakes and evergreen trees and pure magic.

Well, it worked this way for Lucy in Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe%name How To: Organize Your Closet in 4 Simple Steps. For the rest of us, though, the closet area is often a decidedly unenchanted zone. Not to worry, though: you can definitely whip up a little organizational magic of your own and reclaim your closet space, in four simple steps.

1. There’s no way around it — you have to sort, cull and purge. Pull everything out until your closet is bare and start sorting into “keeper” and “loser” piles. Clothing in good condition, of course, would make a great donation to your local thrift store. And a savvy friend is an asset here – you may need a fashion enforcer to police the keeper pile. That way, when you are tempted to hang onto that chartreuse dress you’ve never worn, she can say, “Honey, no. Just no.”

If you are super sentimental, think of other ways to hold onto your memories, rather than clothes:

Take photos of your fave past their prime pieces
Snip off buttons and keep them in a memento box
Frame your vintage t-shirts for quirky and meaningful wall art

2. Once you’ve edited your clothing, use a deliciously scented cleaner to wipe down the walls, shelves, and floor. While you’re at it, you might want to pick up a closet sachet to keep your garments smelling fresh and clean: Casswell-Massey makes great little hanging sachets in cedar and lavender. It would also be easy to stuff a packet of cotton with dried lavender buds and tuck it on your shelf. Sometimes, it’s the little touches that help keep things nice.

Organize101 How To: Organize Your Closet in 4 Simple Steps

3. Now that you know what needs to go back into the closet, it’s time to figure out the best way to contain it all. Think about how you like to get dressed – are you a grab and go kind of person, or do you figure out what you’re wearing the night before?

You want to organize your closet in a way that actually works for you. Obviously, you want to group like items together, but maybe you could go from left to right in the order of your normal wear. So, if you do suits for work, start with button down shirts, then hang your pants, then hang your suit jackets/blazers.

A few of my fave organizing tips:
T-shirts can be folded flat with the design facing outward, so you can easily see what’s what.
Skirts work well on tiered hangers, so you can save space yet still assess what you are working with at a glance.
Grouping by color is another option that looks gorgeous and allows you to play the role of closet curator.
To keep boots organized and accessible, stick a rolled up magazine inside each one.

Lastly, there are some great closet accessories out there to help corral and arrange:
Slim hangers with accessory bars allow you to fit more in but maintain a streamlined look
S-hooks are quick, easy, and perfect for storing totes and scarves; just slip them over the rod in your closet
Shower curtain rings can be attached to a hanger and will keep all your scarves visible and neat
To keep boots organized and accessible, stick a rolled up magazine inside each one.

4. Take a photo – it will last longer! As the final step, take a photograph of your new and improved closet and tape it to the door. When you are rushing in the morning and tempted to start ripping out clothes with abandon, take a breath and look at that photo – do you really want to undo all that hard work? Didn’t think so.

Reward time: Now that you’ve freed up some space in your closet, it’s only natural to add a special new piece. I’ve got my eye on this White Star Compass Necklace from Fled Flare ands ModCloth’s Cocoa Shavings Coat. Both of these pieces should definitely would make a fabulous reward; they’re a little Lucy/Narnia-esque will add some magic to your wardrobe.

Readers – is an organized closet on you list of New Year’s resolutions?

Amity writes and teaches in Central PA. Her obsessions include: Rodarte (she can’t afford any Rodarte, mind you, but a girl can dream), espresso, books, vintage/thrift fashion and fountain pens. She thinks you should dress like a weirdo once in a while, just to shake things up.

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Written by amity


  1. Profile photo of Marilyn

    I tried to clean out my closet before Christmas to make room for all of the new clothes I had hoped to get (since I asked for work clothes for Christmas). They’re still kind of overflowing, so I’ll have to do it again soon!

  2. Profile photo of mandabear

    I need to organize my closet probably every single day. It’s hard and the purging part sucks but it’s nice to have an organized place for everything. I agree about having a friend help you out for a second opinion! My boyfriend is really good at helping me purge. He can throw things away MUCH easier than me and it helps the process go a lot faster.

  3. Profile photo of Kellie

    Great tips! I really need to do so purging and reorganizing! There is a great book called It’s All Too Much that I have found to be incredibly helpful with this process. I think that it is by Oprah’s organizer guy, Peter Walsh.

  4. Profile photo of hao9703

    @amity -Great post! I wish I found the concept of sort, cull, purge easy. It takes time to try things on and to make informed decisions. Many times how something looks in my mind is different than it actually does. The of the silhouette garmet is important to me.

    I am currently looking for tiered hangers to help me organize vests and dresses.

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