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

How To Organize Your Closet

Organizing is a key part of developing your style and taking ownership of the space where all your clothes live: the closet. It's easy to let this space slip, because apart from you, possibly me, and maybe your partner, no one sees your closet. It is the fashion equivalent of a junk drawer, but unlike the junk drawer, you have to go into it every single day. 

Any space you have to enter every day is an important one to keep tidy.

In the closet, there are three things you need to do to make your clothes easy to utilize and sift through every morning. I have a clear way of organizing my closet and my client's closets, but for this article, I also wanted to contact a certified specialist who focuses solely on bringing order to you closet, home and office.

Suzanne Holsomback, a professional organizer in Austin, TX, gave me her thoughts on the importance of order, "There are a few reasons why an organized closet is essential. One is that clutter is stressful and anxiety inducing. If one of the first things you do in the morning is enter a stressful place or a place that causes frustration (Ah, I can't find my other boot), then you whole day will be influence by that initial stressor. " 

I could not agree more, which is why my first rule of closet order is:

#1 You must be able to see what you have to use what you have. 

As Suzanne said, one boot should live next to its soulmate (the other boot). Ideally, both shoes should be visible, but both shoes should definitely be easily accessible (i.e. live on the floor under your clothes, not in the hall closet). When you're putting together an outfit, and you're not sure what shoes to wear, you can look down and voila! the perfect shoes appears. 

This rule is important for two reasons. First, as the old says goes "out of sight, out of mind." If your jewelry is stashed under your bed or collecting dust in the bottom drawer of your vanity, you definitely aren't using it. Second, when every piece lives together, you can visualize and create a succinct, stylish outfit.

To make pieces more visible, add stick-on hangers to your closet wall or hang them from an available rack. This is where my accessories live in my closet...

When I walk into the closet, they are front, center and impossible to forget. 

When I walk into the closet, they are front, center and impossible to forget. 

I can easily grab a bag to match any outfit.

I can easily grab a bag to match any outfit.

Everything coexists making an outfit easy to create. 

Everything coexists making an outfit easy to create. 

#2 Organize By Item

If everything in your closet is mixed up, it's easy to pull out an unidentifiable black object only to learn it's not the black skirt you meant to reach for, but rather last year's Halloween costume. 

Here are your categories to organize by: pants, shirts, skirts, sweaters, jackets, blazer, heavy coats, dresses. 

Not only will you not get confused what your reaching for, but you will also be able to go to each section to pull exactly what you want to create your outfit. 

#3 Organize By Color

Often times, we dress by mood, "What do I feel like wearing today?" Although you have your favorite outfits, you may lean towards one over another on any given day. Different days, life events and professional occasions call for us to be multi-faceted, thus our clothing must represent that. 

If I'm heading to an important meeting, I automatically skip my yellow dresses and head straight to the navy and black ones. When I'm all giddy for fall (which I've been a lot lately), I head to my blush and nude tops to pair with tan booties. If I want to wear a powerful color I know looks best on me, I head to the coral dress section. 

Categorizing them by their color makes it easy to create your vision without getting distracted, frustrated or lost in a sea of clothes. Each color pops thus each color is easy to grab.

Want more style and less clutter in your life?

I would love to talk with you 1-on-1 to create a personalized plan of action to help you with your closet woes, style goals and wardrobe wants. 

Surviving the Wild: A Common Flaw in Your Wardrobe and How to Fix it

Happy November! I can't believe the holidays are almost here, and it's finally cooling down in Austin [insert happy dance]. I absolutely love sweater weather because it's the perfect time to style some of my favorite layered combinations in my closet and my clients' closets. 

My clients are my greatest inspiration. When I see and hear their style struggles, it only makes sense to write about the answers. This week, I'm tackling a big mistake I often see. And this one is so important because it stops women from reaching their goal and my goal for them: the ability to wear 100% of their wardrobe. 

 This big mistake is...

not being able to see everything in your closet. 

 

Now yes, in states where there are four seasons, it's difficult to squeeze in all the cold weather gear alongside the sundresses and summer essentials. It's often necessary to have more than one closet. You need too many winter items and too many summer items to keep them all in one closet. 

In a more temperate climate like Austin, you can use the same type of items any time of the year. You should be able to see every single thing in one closet.

If this suddenly made you think about those tops shoved up in a corner somewhere or a box of miscellaneous items under the bed, here's three things you can do to bring your wardrobe front and center for you to see. 

1. Roaming the Plains

Bring everything out in the open. All of pieces that are stashed all over the house — in the top corner of your closet, behind the luggage, mixed in with the kids' laundry — bring them out. Take a good long look at them, so you can see what you have. 

Raquel Greer Gordian offers a look into her own wardrobe organization.
Raquel Greer Gordian displays a closet inspiration picture from Pinterest.

2. Stick to the Pack 

Arrange everything in the way that's most logical: with the things like it. Jackets with jackets, sweaters with sweaters, maxi dresses with maxi dresses. 

3. Survival of the Fittest

We are all guilty of holding on to things, but it's time to let go. Apply this rule to the basics, not everything of course! Pieces that are one-of-a-kind are lucky. They are the lone wolf. They can automatically stay. 

With items like black flats, white shirts, grey pants, tan cardigans, think this: There can only be one.

Style should not be a distraction, it's the physical manifestation of who you are. The more clear and direct you are with your style, the easier it is for other people to understand you. Only the things you really love can make up a wardrobe you love to live in. 

Want help with the big task of cleaning out your closet and styling your wardrobe? Schedule an Image Breakthrough Session to see how Greer Image Consulting can help you build a wardrobe that is uniquely and beautifully you. 

Now I would love to hear from you! Were you inspired by these tips and tricks? Let me know in the comments below what your personal experience is with this common problem!