When you move into your first apartment and look around at the mostly empty space and blank walls, you look around and wonder how you'll ever fill the space. But you will, slowly but surely. And pretty soon, your new place will start to feel a little smaller, and a lot more cramped. When that happens, it's time to start brainstorming closet organization ideas.
Closet organization ideas to try today
After you donate a bunch of stuff to charity or sell it online to make a few bucks, it can feel like your closet doesn't seem to get any more manageable.
Here are 50 closet organization ideas that you can use to turn even the smallest closet into a neat freak's dream.
1. Get matching hangers
This is a simple place to start with your closet organization ideas. Not only will your closet look neater, but when you have uniform hangers that are all the same size and shape, you can fit more in your closet. Do you still have those cheap neon plastic hangers from your freshman dorm? It's time to upgrade. Your clothes will thank you.
2. Rack and roll
Get a rolling garment rack for your bedroom. It will open up space in your closet, and you can pick out your clothes for the week on Sunday night. That means less time stressing about it in the morning, which means you get to hit that snooze button a few more times.
3. Mirror, mirror
In a world where everyone is multitasking all the time, we should expect the same of the things in our home we use everyday. Do you have a full length mirror in your room? Invest in one with built-in storage for jewelry, scarves, accessories or anything else you don't want sitting on your dresser.
4. Store it under the bed
Remember how you put your twin bed on cinder blocks in your dorm room so you could have more storage under your bed? This is the more grown-up version of that. A bed with simple drawers built in to keep winter clothes, spare linens, towels or anything else close at hand and out of the way.
5. Make your desk do double duty
Ideally, you're not doing your work in the same room where you sleep. But when that's not an option, push the edge of your desk close to your bed so it can double as a nightstand. You already have a lamp for your desk, and your phone is already plugged in. Plus it's one less piece of furniture to clutter up your room.
6. Floor space is more space
Maximize your space by using the floor space in your closet for additional storage. Line the floor with moisture-proof plastic containers for clothing, heavy coats or shoes. Just be sure to measure out the height of the boxes so they don't stack too high and wrinkle the clothes hanging above them.
7. Store on the door
An oldie but a goodie. A simple hanging rack over the inside of your bedroom or closet door can be a gamechanger if you have more shoes than places to store them. But those organizers can hold more than just your fancy footwear. Use it in your bathroom to hold your curling iron, hairspray, makeup bags and more. You can use it as a pantry in your kitchen to hang spices and canned goods or store baby clothes in a nursery.
8. Or, ditch the doors entirely
If your closet has accordion or bi-fold doors, lose them. They're a pain to open, take up space when left open and will knock stuff off your carefully curated shelves and organization. Ask your building super or landlord to take them down and hold them in storage until you move out.
In its place, put up a tension rod and a neutral-toned set of curtains over the door frame. The flow will open up the room more, take up less floor space when left open, and you can cheat a little bit when your closet gets overstuffed because the curtain will close where the doors wouldn't.
9. Let there be light
Proper lighting in your closet space can be a huge asset in organizing. When you can see everything you own, you not only know where everything is but will save time, stress and mess pulling everything out to look for whatever it is you need.
If you can't install a wired lighting fixture in your closet, you can find simple lighting solutions online or at your neighborhood hardware store. And the lights don't need to go on the ceiling in the closet, either. Affix them to the walls so they are out of the way but in easy reach when you need to shed a little light on the situation.
10. Go portable
If the thought of doing a full closet renovation sounds too overwhelming or too expensive, there's an all-in-one solution you can pick up for about 40 bucks. A full portable wardrobe that you can slide into your closet can organize everything you need. It's endlessly customizable. And it's waterproof. You'll have to assemble it yourself but no hex keys or Allen wrench required.
11. Reach for the top shelf
You know how we talked about neatly and intelligently lining up your stuff along the floor of your closet? This one is the same, just above your clothes. This one will take a ladder and some hardware, a cordless drill and some shelving, all of which can be picked up for cheap at your friendly neighborhood big box store.
This is an ideal solution for the seasonal stuff you only use a couple of months of the year. Alternate your ski pants and swimsuits in the same boxes and you'll never have to worry where anything is.
12. Divide and conquer
Using shelf dividers in your closet will keep your stuff separate and keep your clothing in neat, tidy, even stacks, instead of the slumping, sloppy piles that look like a Gap outlet store display on December 27.
13. Location, location, location
When organizing your closet, place the stuff you use/wear the most at eye level, so it's always close at hand. This is also an effective method of figuring out what stuff you use and wear regularly, which items you reach for less often and which things are destined for the donation pile.
14. They're not just for leftovers
Plastic vacuum seal bags are a gamechanger for those with limited closet space and a wardrobe that's anything but. You can use them for everything from heavy blankets and winter coats to summer dresses or your job interview suit. Pick up bags in a couple of different sizes so you don't overstuff the bags, making them too difficult to store.
15. A classroom classic
Remember when you were in kindergarten or first grade and you got your own cubby? You could keep everything in there — your coat, your mittens, your He-Man and the Masters of the Universe lunch box (and matching thermos).
There's a hanging cubby option for your closet that is perfect for T-shirts, socks, underwear and gym clothes — really, anything that needs to be stored but not necessarily hung up on hangers. This is a solid choice for anyone who has a bedroom too small for a dresser to fit. Maximize your bedroom space by storing foldable items in the closet.
16. Keep it out of sight but not out of mind
This one might seem extreme, but a storage locker that's reasonably priced and close by can solve a lot of your problems. Modern storage lockers are well-lit, safe, insured and climate-controlled, so there's no need to worry about keeping your clothes there and risking water damage or a musty smell.
Admittedly, this may not be the most practical or convenient solution for everyone. But some of us need our stuff and we need our space. But we can't store our stuff in our space.
17. You can go home again
You want to be taken seriously as a mature and independent adult. But the fact is, our parents will always think of us differently. And as ready as you are to stake your claim and take on this new chapter in your life, they'll miss you and want you to come home more often.
And since your old room is still there, it would be a shame to let it just go to waste. Keeping stuff at your parents' place isn't a sign of dependence on them. It's just practical. And they'll respect that. Because as long as you come home to pick up or drop off some stuff, you may as well stay for dinner. Did someone say leftovers?
18. Rethink your wall space
If you're lucky enough to have a small walk-in or reach-in closet, odds are you'll have racks on at least one of the interior walls in there. And if you don't feel comfortable enough hanging up more racks in the closet, then go with a simpler solution.
A set of matching hanging baskets can go anywhere. Hang a row of them on each wall, as high as you can reach (or even higher if you have a small step ladder). Linens, towels, your collection of commemorative scarves from your favorite soccer team … whatever you need. Simple, elegant and easy to install. Just make sure it's level!
19. Pack your bags
Instead of nightstands, end tables or sideboards, consider shopping around for a set of antique luggage. Using old suitcases as furniture accent pieces is a fun and minimalist way to decorate your home. And as an added bonus, they can hold your stuff!
And if you don't like the faded beige color, just paint them. You can go with a fun and colorful 1960s mod look or go with any color that fits your décor.
20. Shower power
The classics never die. Use shower curtain hooks on a hanger rod to hang your baseball hats, tank tops or other small clothing items. Maximize your space by hanging multiple items on a hanger.
21. S is for hangers
We've already discussed uniform hangers and how helpful they are in saving space. But if you're looking for a lifetime one-and-done solution, invest in a set of heavy-duty metal S-shaped hangers.
These nifty hangers allow you to hang up to three pairs of pants, jeans or dozens of scarves on one hanger. But your pants won't wrinkle and the hanger profile still stays slim enough to fit even more in your closet.
22. Pegging the problem
Consider hanging a pegboard on the wall in your room or inside your closet. Costume jewelry, hats, accessories, belts and even neckties can be hung up with no risk of anything slipping or falling on the floor … again.
And as an added bonus, it's endlessly customizable! Can't fit everything on your board? Move the pegs and try a different configuration.
23. Give 'em the hook
Or, if pegboards and fancy hangers aren't your bag, use clothespins on hangers to hold your purses. Get it? Bag? Because we're talking about purses? Is this thing on? Head to your favorite art supply store, and pick up a bag of classic wooden clothespins. Pin them to the rod on your hangers (your good new ones, or the cheap plastic ones you can't bear to toss).
24. Consider a capsule wardrobe
But if you insist on staying clothed, think about downsizing your options. Having less stuff makes storing the stuff you have much easier. A capsule wardrobe is based on the idea of simplicity and utilizing a small number of items to create different variations and looks. Three pairs of jeans, five T-shirts, three Oxford button-down shirts, a couple of jackets, a pair of sneakers and two pairs of casual or dress shoes — and you can style yourself.
25. Switch it up
If you can't fit all of your clothes in your closet, then do the easiest thing imaginable and simply move your bed into your closet instead. That one simple trick frees up your whole bedroom so you can turn it into the walk-in closet of your dreams!
We're kidding, of course.
26. Set a lofty goal
If you have storage space under your bed, but your closet is still bursting at the seams, just loft your bed. It's like a bunk bed for grown-ups. Then turn that extra storage space into another closet. Find a small curtain that matches your bed sheets or buy an extra bed sheet and make one from that. And as an added bonus, you'll have so much more room to do activities!
27. Store more by staggering
Having one large shelving rack installed in your closet gives everything a uniform, clean look that works in most cases. But if you have more stuff than grooves for your hangers, try getting two smaller shelving units and staggering them to increase your storage space. Jackets, dresses, suits and pants can be hung from the higher rack, and you can install a lower rack for shirts and tops.
28. Tension rising
This is a great one. Get some bathroom curtain tension rods, and mount them low on the walls in your closet for your shoes. Use one tension rod for all your high heels and use two perpendicular rods for all of your flat dress shoes and sneakers. That frees up floor space for your store-flat boxes or whatever else you have lining the floors.
29. Lug your luggage
Get some heavy-duty hooks, and mount your suitcases on the walls above your closet door. Your luggage isn't something you'll need every single day, so they'll be out of the way but always within arm's reach.
30. You'll be hooked!
A single dual hook on the inside of your closet door is all you need to stay organized and neat. Pick out your outfit for the following day, and leave it on the hooks ready for you in the morning. That means less time rifling through your things that will just wind up in a pile on the floor or in a heap on your bed.
31. Slide to the left, slide to the right
If you don't want to use the walls of your closet for baskets, bins or other storage solutions, install a sliding track insert on the wall that you can pull out for easy access. A couple of drawer roller tracks attached to a piece of wood that can be adapted for anything you need. Use them to store your small items like handbags, ties, scarves and belts.
32. Sleep easy
If you need more storage options in your bedroom, and you're in the market for a new bed, look into getting a headboard with built-in storage. Nothing looks more impressive or handsome than leather-bound books in a bookcase over your bed, but it'll still look great if you use it for your photos, memorabilia or clothing. And if the literary look isn't for you, you can find some smart options with slide-out storage.
33. Air your dirty laundry
When you come home at the end of the day, is there a trail of clothing from your front door to your bathroom? Nothing wrong with that. We all do it. But how long do those clothes stay there? That's a bigger problem.
Store your stuff and keep your place tidy by hanging your hamper on the inside of your closet door. It's out of sight and out of mind, but everything is in one place for laundry day.
34. Sleep on it … literally
We've discussed storage options for under your bed, above your bed and as a part of your bed. But if none of those strike your fancy, here's one you'll love. Store your spare linens under your mattress. Sandwich your neatly folded sheets and pillowcases between your mattress and your box spring or bed frame. Your linens are always where you need them when you need them, and you can do it right now without having to buy or assemble anything new.
35. Whatever floats your boat
Floating shelves are a great addition to any room, regardless of how they're used. Shelving options with no visible brackets add depth and texture to a space while also providing some functional storage. Just make sure you hang it level and always be mindful not to put anything too heavy on it.
36. Make your case
If you're feeling crafty, here's a way to express yourself creatively and create some funky new storage. Use drawers from old dressers (find some at second-hand stores or yard sales), stack them up along the wall and secure them in place with a couple of screws and you have a totally unique, functional bookcase that is also a conversation starter.
37. Slide on down
We've already established bi-fold doors are awful. If your shoes are lined up along the floor in your closet, they'll get caught in the doors and make a mess roughly 400 percent of the time. But if the thought of curtains doesn't appeal, keep the tracks in place and install a sliding door on your closet.
Why access your entire wardrobe and overwhelm yourself with options before you've even had your first sip of coffee? Only access the clothes you need, and keep the rest right where you need them. Sliding doors are easy to install and you can get a pair with built-in mirrors.
38. Show appreciation with a donation
We all know the hanger trick: switching the orientation of your hangers so you can keep track of what you wear and what you don't. When you decide it's time to start clearing space, keep a hamper in your closet just for clothing donations. When the basket fills up, make a run to your nearest donation center. And don't forget to get the slip so you can deduct your donation on your taxes!
39. Make IKEA Your DIY BFF
IKEA. You know it. You love it and you love to hate on it. But if you look beyond the flimsy particle board and laminate dorm room furniture, you'll find some really impressive, modern and modular storage options.
But do you know the best part about IKEA? No, not the meatballs. The other best part. It's the customization. There are blogs dedicated to taking parts from one product and pieces from another to create something absolutely perfect for any size space. Trust.
Pro tip: Find what you want online and search to see if it's in stock. Then bypass the showroom and go straight to the warehouse section of the store. It'll save you three hours and a few hundred dollars in impulse purchases.
40. Organize your drawers (and your drawers)
Another great way to store fewer items in your closet is to make the most out of your drawer space. To that end, invest in a set of drawer dividers to keep your bras, underwear and socks neat, organized and easily findable when you're rushing in the morning because you hit the snooze bar one time too many.
41. Start from scratch
Sometimes, a clean slate is the best place to start. If your closet is cramped, crowded and consistently cluttered, pull everything out and reassess the situation. Take a look at your empty closet and restock it, item by item more mindfully. Reorganize your stuff by color, season or frequency of wear. You'll be amazed at the night and day difference between what it looked like before and after.
42. Maintain a space for maintenance
How often have you pulled out a beloved article of clothing only to see it's covered in cat hair? Or you pulled the hem on your pants? Keep some drawer or shelf space free for your lint rollers, pin cushions and emergency sewing kits. Remember, clothes you don't wear are just clothes that take up space.
43. Develop a signature look
Homer and Marge Simpson have worn the same exact outfits for more than 30 years and those looks are as timeless now as they were in the 80s.
44. Fold, file T-shirts
If you're a T-shirt and jeans kind of person, you may think you can get away with owning more of each because it's all you wear. While that may be true, you can still find yourself running short on space sooner than expected.
So, when you fold your T-shirts (you're not hanging your T-shirts up in the closet, are you?), don't lay them flat in the drawer and stack them up. That can lead to smushing your shirts down so you can force the drawer closed. And that can lead to wrinkles. Instead, file them in your drawers with the folded side facing up. This way, you can store more in less space.
45. Sort, stack and store
Bulkier items like sweaters and heavier things like jeans in the winter will hold their shape, even when not hung up on hangers. So keep those items folded and stacked neatly on shelves that are within reach. This move frees up space for other, more delicate clothes or frees up space lower in your closet so your cute fall boots can stay upright.
Bonus tip: Cut up a foam pool noodle or use two-liter soda bottles in your tall boots to keep them from flopping over and creasing between wears.
46. Hat trick for organizing
Hat boxes are a chic, throwback way of organizing any closet, no matter how small. They come in an endless variety of fun designs. Or you can customize them yourself with scraps of fabric or even patterned wallpaper to match your bedroom décor.
47. Make pre-fab absolutely fabulous
If you have the money to invest, you can track down some incredible all-in-one prefab closet storage options. The lowest cost options run between $75 and $100 and can make a world of difference. You'll have an Insta-worthy closet in no time.
48. Corner the shelving market
We've discussed racks and shelves, above and below. But shelves placed in high corners of your bedroom or closet can make your favorite shoes and accessories easily reachable.
And as an added bonus, they can even become a part of your room's décor. If you like to appreciate your expensive shoes as a work of art, then why not put them on display for all to see?
49. Keep it clean
What was it your mom used to say? “A place for everything and everything in its place." Yes, you'll come home from work exhausted and sometimes you won't want to use your day off to organize your closet.
But if you do it once and keep it neat and tidy, you won't have to do it again. Developing good habits is essential to any closet organization ideas and is key to long-term storage success.
50. Burn all your clothes and join a nudist colony
Just think about it. No more rotating wardrobes. No more deciding what stuff to donate. No more stressing over what to wear. Just remember to lay down a towel before you sit on the furniture.
We're joking here. Or are we…
Use these closet organization ideas now, benefit later
Closet space is one of the major selling points when looking for an apartment. Unfortunately, that dream celeb-level walk-in closet may not be an option just yet. But with these closet organization ideas, you can make your closet space look as timeless, classy and fashionable as the clothes you store inside it.
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