35+ Closet Organization Ideas for Making the Most of Your Space

These closet organization ideas will help you tidy up your clothes so you can easily find what you’re looking for when you’re getting dressed. (And who doesn’t love a beautifully organized closet?!)

Organized closet with IKEA BOAXEL system, closet organization ideas

If I could only choose one part of a room to organize, the closet would most definitely be it. The longer I work on organizing, the more I’ve realized that if I home in on closet organization, it’s a whole lot easier to keep the rest of the space neat and tidy too.

Since closets– and particularly clothes closets– are so important to overall organization, I thought I would put together the top closet organization ideas that have helped me over the years.

Organized pantry with decanted baking items, pasta, and spices

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Brilliant Closet Ideas to Keep Your Clothes Organized

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Now, not every one of these tips will work for every closet. But I tried to include a mix of ideas that will work in…

  • small closets and big closets
  • ideas that are free and ideas that are an investment
  • ideas that include big changes as well as ideas that only involve small tweaks

My hope is that no matter what size space you have, you will be able to find several closet organization ideas in this list that work for you.

Let’s jump right in!

1. Declutter clothes that you don’t love or wear often.

My biggest, ultimate, #1 tip for organizing just about anything is DECLUTTER LIKE CRAZY!!!

Hiding everything we own in pretty bins is not organization. That’s just rearranging our clutter. If we really want to get organized and stay organized long-term, then we have to get rid of the stuff we no longer use or love.

With clothing, I think it’s helpful to take everything out of the closet so you can start with a blank slate. Taking everything out also allows us to see exactly what we have. We can then make smarter decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of.

Decluttering clothes on a bed

If you have a ton of clothes, it may just not be practical to take everything out at once. Try taking out everything in the same category, sorting through it, and then moving on to the next category.

For example, you could start by taking out all of your pants. Decide which pants to keep and which ones you can donate or sell. Then move on to sweaters, then blouses, then shoes, etc.

The fewer items we have, the easier it will be to keep our closet organized. So I try to be really brutal in this part of the process!

I’ve also realized that getting ready in the morning is so much easier when all of the clothes in my closet are ones that I actually love to wear. No more sorting through all of the “meh” clothes to get to the ones that fit well and make me feel confident when I wear them!

If you only apply one of these closet organization ideas in your own house, make it this one!

2. If the closet is decluttered and is still overflowing, consider rotating clothes.

Some people just really, really like clothes and have a lot of them. And that’s okay! (I feel the same way about throw pillows, so I get it!)

If you have gone through and decluttered your clothes and your closet still feels packed, consider rotating your clothes.

If you live in an area that experiences both warmer and cooler weather, you can rotate clothes by season. Keep only warm weather clothes out in the summer and cool weather clothes out in the winter.

Or if you are in a season of life where your size changes frequently, you could rotate your clothing by size. During the 4-5 years that I was either pregnant or nursing, my size needs changed every few months. I rotated my clothing according to what size fit currently.

You could also just decide to put away a certain percentage of your clothing for a few months to make some extra space. Think of it as a style challenge. Try to come up with outfits using only the clothes that are still in your closet!

Then in a few months, get out the items that had been put away and put away a different selection of items. It will feel like you’ve gotten a new wardrobe without having to spend any money!

Bins in a closet for rotating clothes, organized closet

When rotating clothes, the items that are being taken out of rotation can be stored…

  • in an extra closet
  • under the bed
  • in a storage area like the basement or garage
  • in a spare room.

If our closet isn’t completely stuffed, it will be much easier to see what we have and designate a spot for all of our items, keeping the space organized.

3. Maximize closet space with a closet system.

One of the most effective ways we’ve made the most of our closet spaces was to install a closet system.

For example, our current primary closet started out with only wire shelving. And it left us with a ton of unused space…

Closet Before Photo, closet ideas

After doing some research, we decided to install a new closet system from EasyClosets. This helped us use the space in our closets more wisely.

Organized closet system installed in a primary closet, empty

Closet systems can be an investment, but they save so much frustration and hassle in the long run. Every piece of clothing has a spot and is easy to get to.

Clothes organized within closet system

Along with the EasyClosets system, we’ve also used…

4. Add a second rail for a more organized closet.

Installing a complete closet system may not be a possibility in your space. But simply adding a second rail to your closet can double your amount of storage!

Kids' shared closet with two rows of hanging clothes, closet organization ideas

In our boys’ closet, adding a second rail gave us more room in their shared space. It also allowed our younger son, Caleb, to be able to reach his clothes more easily.

The second rail in the photo above was added with the IKEA ALGOT (BOAXEL) system. But they also sell inexpensive extendable rails at places like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Amazon.

5. Create organized closet zones.

Clothes will be easier to find if we separate them by type. All dress shirts together, all casual shirts together, all short sleeved shirts together, all pants together, etc.

Men's clothing organized into zones in an organized primary closet

Creating zones in the closet helps to streamline the space, keep it looking tidier, and makes it easy to put things away on laundry day too!

6. Make the most of the space under hanging clothes with a dresser.

Oftentimes, the space that is most wasted in a closet is the area underneath the clothing! There are several ways we can make the most of this space.

In our boys’ shared room in our townhouse, we put a dresser underneath their clothing so we weren’t wasting that valuable area.

kids' small closet with dresser inside to maximize space, closet ideas

Bringing in a cube unit could also work. (IKEA’s KALLAX cube unit even has insert options for drawers and cabinets!)

7. Bring in a rolling cart for extra storage in the closet.

Another one of my favorite closet ideas to utilize the space under clothing is to bring in a rolling cart.

I love rolling carts because they are so versatile. AND they can be easily moved out of the way when necessary.

Rolling cart used to organize a small closet

In this closet, I used the rolling cart to hold…

  • jewelry on the top shelf
  • socks and tank tops on the middle shelf
  • bathing suits and small accessories on the bottom shelf

8. Store hand-me-downs in the dead space in the back of the closet.

If you have a deep closet with a lot of space underneath hanging clothes that is hard to reach, using stacking drawers to hold hand-me-downs could be an effective use of the space.

hand-me-downs stored in the back of a closet, closet organization ideas

Stacking drawers are great. Unlike lidded bins, you don’t have to unstack and re-stack everything when you want to get to one of the bottom bins.

Utilizing otherwise unused closet space for hand-me-downs keeps them close by. It’s easy to switch out clothing when the kiddos are ready to move up to the next size.

9. Use leftover wall space to store makeup or small accessories.

As far as closet organization ideas go, I’m a big fan of making the most of vertical space! If your closet has an extra spot on a blank wall and you need more storage, consider adding a hanging piece to create additional room.

In our current closet, I used acrylic spice racks to hold my makeup on an empty piece of wall. I can sit right in front of my full-length mirror and get ready in the morning.

Makeup organized in spice racks on the wall of a closet to maximize vertical space

If you’re working with a smaller spot, Command hooks + a wire bin could be the perfect solution for storing bathing suits or tank tops.

Bathing suits in wire basket hung on the wall of a small closet with Command hooks, closet ideas

10. Make the most of the closet’s top shelf.

If you’re short like me, using the top shelf of a closet efficiently can be a challenge since it’s so hard to reach!

In our last house, I solved this problem by putting lightweight bins with folded sweaters and sweatshirts on the top shelf. That way, I could just pull down the bin, grab what I needed, and easily put it back. (Rather than keeping stacks of sweaters sitting directly on the shelves, which would be harder to get to the one I wanted without messing up the whole pile.)

Using organized bins on top shelves to organize sweaters in a primary closet

11. Use matching hangers for ultimate closet organization.

I may or may not be just a teensy bit type-A when it comes to our closets. 🙂 One thing I’ve found that makes such a big difference in helping the closet to look neat and streamlined is using the same type of hangers throughout the entire closet.

In our boys’ closet, we use all white hangers

Child's clothes hanging in an organized closet on matching hangers

And in our primary closet we use non-slip velvet hangers

Adult clothing in organized closet with matching velvet hangers

In our coat closet, we use heavy-duty wooden hangers

Organized coat closet with matching white wood hangers, closet ideas

Different people have varying preferences on which type of hangers they like best, but no matter which type you choose, I highly recommend keeping all hangers in a closet the same.

12. Corral small accessories in bins for an organized closet.

If you have a lot of shelves in your closet like we do, one way to keep the shelves looking neat and tidy is to tuck away items in cute bins!

This gives the space a more streamlined look. And it makes it easier to pull down an entire bin to find what you’re looking for, rather than searching through messy piles of items.

Organized closet with bins for small accessories

In our closet, I use bins to hold, belts, small luggage items, purses, bathing suits, and other small accessories.

13. Make pants easy to access with a simple closet organization built-in.

One thing I’ve realized is that the easier I can make an organizing system for my family, the more likely they will be to stick with it!

I loved the pants organizer that we installed in the primary closet in our last house for just that reason. It was easy to slide pants on and off the bars without messing with hanger or worrying about folding them correctly.

Pants organizer from the IKEA ALGOT system in a small primary closet, closet ideas

The pants stayed unwrinkled and crease-free, so I did less ironing too!

Organized pants hanging in a small organized closet

This organizer in our house was part of the IKEA ALGOT closet system, but many other closet systems offer a similar option.

14. Closet ideas: Get shoes up off the floor.

As a general organizing rule, I like to keep items up off the floor as much as possible. I’m not always able to make it happen, but when I am, it makes everything look so much tidier. It’s also easier to keep the floor free of dust and grime.

Shoes organized using the IKEA ALGOT system, closet ideas

A shoe organizer from the IKEA ALGOT system helped to keep our floor clear in our last house. In our current house, we store our shoes on shelves to keep them up out of the way.

15. Store shoes by type.

And speaking of shoes, just like clothes, I find that it’s helpful to organize them by type to make it easier to find the pair we’re looking for.

In my closet, I try to keep all heels together, all flats together, all sandals together, all boots together, etc.

Organized shoes lined up on shelves in a primary closet

My shoe collection is fairly small, but if you have a lot of shoes, you could even arrange them by color within the different shoe types for a pretty and streamlined look.

Men's shoes organized by type in an organized closet

(Donnie’s shoes are also arranged by type– boots on the top shelf, dress shoes next, then athletic shoes, then flip flops.)

16. Use stacking bins to make more room for shoes.

If you want to make more room for shoes without installing a closet system, these large stacking pantry bins could be a good option.

Shoes organized in stacking pantry bins within a small closet

We bought these bins when we were first married just for this purpose, and they worked well for us for many years. (They have been great for organizing different items all over the house too!)

17. Fold sweaters rather than hanging them.

No one likes to have those weird nubs in the shoulders of their sweaters that hangers can cause! Folding sweaters solves this problem.

If you have drawers in your closet (or spare room in your dresser), file folding sweaters makes it easy to see exactly what you have.

Sweaters folded in an organized closet drawer, closet ideas

If your dresser has more shelf space than drawer space, stacking your sweaters may be a better bet. Keep the sweaters that you wear most often on lower shelves within easy reach and put the items you wear less often up high.

Folded sweaters stacked and organized in a closet on wire shelves

18. Stack jeans and pants to save hanging space, especially in a small closet.

If you’re working with a small closet without much hanging room or drawer space, consider stacking your pants and jeans.

Jeans stacked and organized in upcycled bins in the bottom of a small closet

In my friend’s closet, we took two large boxes that she already owned, turned them on their sides, and used them to support the pants piles. This allowed her to get to all of her pants easily while making the most of the otherwise unused space under her bottom shelf.

19. Hide the ironing board.

One of my most favorite closet organization ideas that we’ve implemented in our current closet is our folded ironing board that is hidden behind a faux drawer front!

Ironing board hidden behind drawer front, folded, closet organization ideas

Whenever I need to iron, I simply slide out the board, unfold it, and I am ready to go! It’s convenient because it is right in my closet, and I don’t have to worry about storing a big, clunky ironing board somewhere else.

Folding ironing board in an organized closet, closet ideas

We found our folding slide-out ironing board at EasyClosets.

20. Closet Organization Ideas: Hide the hamper.

We were also able to hide our hamper in our current closet, keeping it out of the way and more appealing to the eye than a big bin.

Hidden hamper in organized primary closet, closet ideas

Again, the built-in hamper is part of our closet system from EasyClosets.

21. Keep a spare set of sheets in a basket or bin.

I actually discovered this one of my closet organization ideas by accident. Since our linen closet is so tiny, I started keeping our extra sheets in the bedroom closets, and I ended up loving it because it is so convenient!

I keep two sets of sheets for each bed in the house– the set that is currently on the bed, and a set in a bin in the closet of that room. When it’s time to change the sheets, I just grab the bin, put the new set on, and then wash the old set and put it into the bin for next time.

Bed sheets in wire bin in an organized primary closet

(Our spare set of sheets is in the wire bin on the bottom shelf.)

22. Store purses within other purses to conserve space in the closet.

Purses are oh-so-cute, but they can also take up a lot of space. Storing purses within larger purses saves room AND helps the bags stand up nicely on the shelf. Win-win.

Store purses within other purses to save space, closet ideas

23. Use a towel bar + shower hooks to organize necklaces.

This is one of the closet organization ideas I’ve used the longest. I saw this trick on Pinterest nearly 10 years ago and have been using it ever since! (I wish I knew who I first got the idea from– it was before I had a blog, so I’m not sure!)

In our closet, I just use a regular old towel bar, which I had Donnie cut down for me a little bit so that it would fit my space. Then I grabbed some S-hooks that are typically used to hold a shower curtain, and they are the perfect combo for keeping my necklaces organized. (And it makes a pretty display too!)

Necklaces organized on a towel bar with shower s-hooks for closet organization

24. Use a tiered tray to organize smaller jewelry.

I am not a huge jewelry person, so this little three-tiered tray is perfect for corralling my smaller items. I keep stud earrings on the top shelf, dangly earrings on the middle shelf, and bracelets and watches on the bottom.

Tiered tray for organizing small jewelry in an organized closet

25. Add labels to keep your closet organized long-term!

I always love a reason to add pretty labels, and closets are no exception!

In our master closet, I used a label maker + clear labeling tape to make small labels for the lips of the drawers so it’s easy to see what goes where.

Labeled drawers in organized closet, organizing bras, underwear, and socks

I also like to use labels on bins in our closets, particularly if certain members of the household need an extra reminder about where things go. 😉

Organized shoe bins with labels in a closet, closet ideas

26. Closet Ideas: Consider clothing dividers.

I found clothing dividers especially helpful when my kids were tiny and I would keep a few different sizes of items hanging in the closet at the same time.

Hanging clothes organized with size dividers in closet

I don’t use them in our house currently, but they could be helpful if kids (or adults!) need a reminder of where different types of items go in their closet.

27. Keep a full-length mirror close by or in the closet if possible.

It’s always been helpful to have a full-length mirror in or near the closet when I’m getting ready!

In our current closet, I had an empty wall spot for one…

Full length mirror in an organized primary closet, closet organization ideas

In our guest room, which has a small closet, I was able to get a full-length mirror that hangs on the closet door, which works well and hardly takes up any space at all.

Full length mirror hanging on closet door, closet ideas

28. Keep a small trash can in the closet.

I use the closet trash can surprisingly often! It is great for tossing things like clothing tags, makeup applicators, tissues, etc.

Small trash can in an organized closet

29. Divide up closet drawers with bins to keep them organized.

Not every closet has drawers, but for those who do, I like to keep them tidy by dividing up the area with bins.

My favorite ones are IKEA’s SKUBB boxes, which come in three convenient sizes.

Organized clothes folded into IKEA SKUBB boxes in drawer

Expandable drawer dividers could be another good option.

30. Consider file folding to save space in closet drawers.

If you are struggling to find enough space to store all of your clothes, and you’re not file folding, it could be the answer for you!

Learning to file fold (aka the KonMari Method) can feel intimidating, but it is actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it.

Organized clothes file folded in a drawer using the KonMari Method

I demonstrate how to file fold a bunch of different items and answer a bunch of file folding FAQs in this post.

31. Nest bras inside one another.

Bras can be tricky to store, but I have found that nesting them inside one another keeps them tidy without crushing them or damaging the shape.

Bras organized in a drawer in a primary closet, closet ideas

I file fold my sports bras, using a SKUBB box to keep them corralled.

32. Use a valet rod to choose clothes for the next day.

It’s always helpful to plan ahead! Save time in the morning by choosing your outfit the night before and hanging it on a valet rod so it is ready to go.

Green Dress Hanging on Valet Hook in an Organized Closet

(Valet rods can also be useful for hanging items while you steam them to remove wrinkles.)

33. Keep ties tidy with a simple organizer.

Ties can be unruly, but a simple hanging organizer can keep them in place, making it easy to see all of your options.

Organized ties, closet organization ideas

If you have drawer space available, a drawer divider like this one could be useful for storing ties as well.

34. Hang scarves neatly to keep them in easy reach.

We’re a lot more likely to actually wear our scarves if we can see everything we have!

I kept my scarves organized on a pants hanger like this one for a while, and it worked well…

Scarves organized on a pants hanger, closet organization ideas

And I currently use a simple scarf organizer like this one, which does the trick!

Scarf organizer, closet ideas

35. Keep a donate bin in the closet.

Finally, getting rid of clothes that we no longer love or use often will be a lot easier if we have a set process in place.

I keep a small donate bin in the back of my closet. Whenever I come across an article of clothing I don’t want anymore, I simply place it in the bin. When the bin is full, I know it’s time to take a trip to the donation center to drop off my items.

Donate bin in organized primary closet, closet organization ides

(You can spot my donate bin on the floor in the back corner of the closet. 🙂 )

So those are my most favorite closet organization ideas! Having neat and tidy closets has really been a huge game changer in our house– for small closets and big closets alike– and I hope it will be in yours as well!

Closet Organization Ideas: Frequently Asked Questions

Small closets can be a challenge to organize, but they’re not impossible! Several of the ideas in this list would be especially helpful for small closet organization, including decluttering like crazy, rotating clothes, utilizing the wall space, and maximizing the use of the space underneath the hanging clothes.

This answer will depend largely on the space you have available and your own personal preferences. If you have a lot of closet space but not many drawers, you may want to hang the majority of your items. The reverse is also true– if you have small closets but a good amount of dresser space, you’ll probably want to fold more.

I have found that hanging is faster for me, so I hang all dresses and all tops other than my t-shirts/workout clothes. I don’t love the look of hanging pants, so I fold my jeans and other casual pants. But that doesn’t mean that is the only “right” answer! Organizing is far from “one size fits all,” so use the strategies that help keep your space tidy and easier to use, and leave the rest behind.

Product can be helpful, but it is totally possible to create an organized closet using what you already own. Decluttering is the biggest, most important step in closet organization, and that doesn’t cost anything!

When we were on a tight budget, I used cardboard boxes to organize items on the top shelf of my closet, and they worked well. They could also be flipped on their sides and used for organizing stacked clothing items in the bottom part of the closet.

I’ve also repurposed bags I’ve gotten when purchasing items at stores or baskets that have held a gift at the holidays to store closet items for free.

Move a dresser, cube unit, or small bookcase that you already own into the bottom of the closet to make the most of the unused space under the hanging clothes.

There are tons of ways to organize a closet without spending any money at all.

I know this isn’t an exhaustive list. Let me know your favorite closet organization ideas in the comments!

Thank you so much for following along! Have a great week!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

13 Comments

  1. at home with ashley says:

    So inspiring! Another benefit of folding your sweaters is that they last longer! Since they’re so heavy, they get stretched out of shape on the hangers from all their weight.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Yes, so true! Hope you’re having a great week, Ashley! <3

      ~Abby =)

  2. So do you have an outlet in your closet to use that hidden ironing board? 🙂 Because I love that idea, but our closet doesn’t have a plug.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Yes– we had to have an outlet put in the closet by an electrician, but it was a quick job and so worth it!

  3. Michelle Hansen says:

    Great post! SO many incredible tips here!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Thank you so much, Michelle! Have a great week!

  4. Kristen H says:

    I love these ideas, especially of rotating your clothes. I have a lot, and it’s hard for me to get rid of them.

    Also, your idea for hanging necklaces on a rod is similar to mine – I put them on a necktie rack on the wall. They stay untangled and I can see all of them when I’m getting dressed.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Ooh I love that idea for necklaces too! Thank you so much for sharing, Kristen!

  5. Thank you for including the type of IKEA boxes you use in your drawers to corral similar items. Love the idea of a valet rod! I use large command hooks to hang my outfit for the next day. (If you shop after Xmas sales, the hooks are often included in the Clearance section.) Like you, I organize similar clothing together, but go one step further and hang by colors: white, ivory, pink, red, coral, orange…ending with black. It makes getting dressed much easier.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Love it. Sounds like you have a great system, Tanja! Thanks for sharing.

      Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Decluttering my clothes is really the hardest part of me, having a thought that what if I’ll e needing them in the future and such. Even though it’s hard to let go of those clothes, I need to do it.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Just think how good it will feel to have it all decluttered! You can do it! 🙂

      Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Josephine says:

    Thanks so much for the tips!!!

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