How To Organize Your Entire Closet From Top To Bottom

Earlier this month on The Greer Guide, I covered exactly how to clean out your entire closet by answering 10 necessary questions. And this week, it’s all about taking the next step: organization.

The right organizational systems make it easy to see, reach, and utilize everything in your wardrobe, plus, they can make your closet into one of the prettiest and most exciting spaces in your home.

 So let’s dig in, shall we?

Clothes first

Evaluate your space.

Unless you designed the closet yourself, the layout can throw you for a loop.

Do not worry though! You’ve got this, and you’re already on your way to making it a stunning space.

To organize your clothes according to the current space, look at your closet as if you’d never seen it before, that way you don’t automatically organize it in the same way(s) you’ve done in the past.

If you’re easily distracted, it’s best to pull all the clothes out of the closet during this step and put them on your bed. If you can stay focused on a new plan with the clothes in their current setup, leave them there.

Consider individual sections.

Items need to go with like items (i.e., shirts with shirts, sweaters with sweaters, dresses with dresses, etc…).

This allows you to clearly decide what you want to wear for the day. If you wake up and say, “It’s a dress kind of day!” then go directly to that section without distraction. 

Do not sort by formality or season. This blocks your creativity by putting you in a mindset of “I can only wear these pieces at these times.” Instead, put pieces like pencil pants next to jeans and long-sleeved blouses next to sleeveless tops.

Find the best place for every group of items to fit.

And be logical in this step. If you have a double-layer side for hanging and another side with only one higher row for hanging pieces, choose the higher side for dresses of a variety of lengths. This will prevent your midi and maxi dresses from bunching up or collecting dust on a shelf below the row.

If you’ve got shelving in your closet, fill the shelves with sweaters, not thinner garments. The fluffiness of the sweaters will allow you to still see all of them easily. Thinner tops like silky blouses should be hung alongside dressy t-shirts.

Sketch before you implement.

In case you’re interrupted by another task or kids mid-project, do a super simple sketch of where you want everything to live in your closet.

Put each item in their section.

Whether it’s hanging or folded, get each item into its desired section. Don’t worry about everything being pretty yet, just throw it in. Pieces will be moving in the next step.

Organize by color.

Color-coding is essential to seeing what you have and creating a beautiful space. And who doesn’t love a beautiful rainbow?!? So make your closet into one!

Follow the ROYGBIV sequence to bring natural order to your wardrobe. It goes like this: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. For light neutrals like tan and white, add them by the orange/yellow section. For black and grey, put them after violet.

For patterned pieces, choose the most prominent color in the garment and put the piece in that color’s section.

Specialized items

For items that serve a specific purpose like workout gear, ski attire or pajamas, you do not need to include them in your everyday oh-so-pretty clothing organization. You will naturally reach for them or find them when you work out, go on a vacation or go to bed. Because of this, you can fill the dark space in the back of your closet with these items or move them to the bottom drawer of your dresser.  

Jewelry

Take a look at the open spaces in your bedroom, bathroom and closet to determine where an organizer could fit. On the wall? On top of a dresser? In front of your clothing in a hanging organizer?

My necklaces hang right above my folded sweaters, so I can easily see and use each piece.

My necklaces hang right above my folded sweaters, so I can easily see and use each piece.

You can add jewelry to just one of those spaces or all three if you have room. Just make sure you’re able to see and access everything easily.

For a free wall, try a hanging organizer. For a large dresser or empty shelf in one of those rooms, try a freestanding organizer.

Want a comprehensive look at how exactly to organize your particular combination of jewelry items? Head here to read the article on how to organize your jewelry in 5 simple steps.

Shoes

Like the clothes, shoes can throw you for a loop when organizing in a space you didn’t design. Shoes can take up a lot of room, so it’s important to get creative with exactly where you put them.

Remove shoes from cardboard boxes.

The boxes only create a barrier.

Don’t worry about them collecting dust — this shouldn’t be an issue if you’re using them consistently.

Plastic containers

If all of your shoes currently live in plastic boxes, check out the floor space and evaluate – If you remove the shoes, do you have floor space or shelves to make all of your shoes visible? If the answer is yes, remove all of the shoes from the plastic boxes.

If you answer is no, you don’t have room, you’ll need a system to quickly identify what’s in each box. To do this, take a picture of each pair of shoes in each plastic box. Print the picture and stick it to the front of the box, so you can easily see what’s in the box.

Ideal storage

If you have room on your floor or shelves, that’s awesome! Because this is the best way to store shoes. For this method, place each pair of shoes front to back. This saves room and allows you to see every detail of the shoe, so you can match the shoe seamlessly to the rest of your outfit when getting dressed.

Place one shoe forward and one shoe backwards to create more space amongst shoes and easily create outfits incorporating the design details of the shoes.

Place one shoe forward and one shoe backwards to create more space amongst shoes and easily create outfits incorporating the design details of the shoes.

Scarves

Scarves can be folded like sweaters on a shelf or hung from a hanger or closet rods. Hanging is preferable, because it was allow you to see more of the colors strewn throughout the scarf, so you can match it to your look easily later.

Scarves folded next to sweaters for easy access and styling.

Scarves folded next to sweaters for easy access and styling.

Belts

Hook all of your belts onto one hanger by their buckles or wrap them into individual circles and stack them on top of each other on a shelf.

Hangers

Loose hangers shouldn’t live between hangers with clothes on them, because they easily get lost in those random spots and take up unnecessary room. Instead, designate one area of your closet for loose hangers to live.

Every time you take an item off a hanger, put it there immediately to avoid deviating from your new system.  

A good place for hangers in the back of the closet, because unlike clothes, they won’t be forgotten there. You’ll reach for them when you need them.

Empty hangers also aren’t the prettiest part of your wardrobe, so leaving them out of the spotlight maximizes the beauty of the space.  

Empty hangers should have a space of their own.

Empty hangers should have a space of their own.

New hangers

While having all the same type of hangers isn’t necessary, it’s an extra step in making your closet feel fresh. When upgrading your hangers, try velvet hangers.  These will make your closet more visually appealing and save space, because they aren’t as chunky as the classic plastic hangers.

If you’re petite, try velvet hangers made for kids rather than the regular size. The narrowness of these specialized hangers will ensure that your long-sleeved shirts don’t get peaks at the edge of them.

Old hangers

If you don’t upgrade hangers, make sure to follow these steps:

  • Take the foam off any hangers that have it covering the top. The foam will deteriorate over time and can permanently damage clothes.

  • Remove all dry cleaning bags from over clothes. Clothes need oxygen to be well preserved and over time, the bags will hinder this airflow.

  • Remove and recycle old dry cleaner hangers if you have enough hangers to hang all your clothes without them. Dry cleaner hangers take up space and take away from the beauty of your closet.

Dirty clothes

While this may seem like common sense, it’s important to keep in mind not to hang clothes that are dirty or wrinkled back up with all the fresh pieces.

You’ll end up pulling out clothes to wear that you thought were clean only to find a stain at home or when you’re out of the house and can’t change (never fun). 

Instead, invest in two hampers: one for washer-compliant clothes and one for dry clean only pieces. Put the hamper somewhere easily accessible (master bathroom, bedroom or closet), so you don’t put them on the floor and cause clutter.

Put dirty clothes in their proper hamper right when you take them off after a long day.

Like all the steps before this one, putting clothes in a hamper rather than on the floor will also improve the look and energy of your closet.

Iron-ready clothes

Put all clean clothes that need to be ironed in a single, visible space in the closet.  Having a concentration of them will make them hard to miss and create an easy reminder.

Additional details

Lighting

Especially in older closets, you may run into this issue.

If your closet is too dark to see everything easily, invest in stick on lighting for the back wall or behind clothes. You can check out easy stick-on lighting at Home Depot or Target.

Full length mirror

This is an essential with a capital ‘E’ part of your wardrobe! No closet is complete without a full-length mirror. This is the piece of the puzzle makes it simple to conceptualize your look, see your outfit head-to-toe, and serves as the final checkpoint before you head off into the world to say, “Damn! I look goooooood.” Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond or the Container Store are easy places to find this tool.

Finishing touches

You’ve reached the end of the organizational road! Woop woop! High fives aaaaall around. At this point your closet should be lookin’ pretty darn snazzy, but there are a few additional steps you can take to make the space extra special

Add a rug

This is after all a room in your house, so why not treat it like one?!? You can fit it in with the aesthetic of the rest of your house or go rogue with it. Get glamorous, whimsical, eccentric or playful with whatever you put down. No matter what you choose, make sure it’s something that will make you feel good each morning.

A rug will add the perfect pop to your closet and make it just as special as every other room in the house.

A rug will add the perfect pop to your closet and make it just as special as every other room in the house.

Other inspiration

There are a number of ways you can make the closet a bit cozier. My favorite is art. Add personal touches and personality through pictures, vision boards, your kids’ painting or knick-knacks to all corners of the closet.

This part is all about indulging in what makes you feel good, so go for it! Don’t hold back with making the closet into your most personal space in the house.

And if you take one thing away from today’s blog, let it be this:

Out of sight, out of mind is never truer than in your wardrobe. If a piece isn’t easily accessible, it can’t stay top of mind. So bring everything out to play!

Now as always, I would love to hear from you! What’s your favorite way to organize or jazz up your closet? Leave me a comment below and share your style story.

Xx.

R