If you’ve found yourself staring in your closet thinking you have nothing to wear, even though dozens of options are dangling right in front of you, you’re not alone. Sometimes all we really need to do is declutter our wardrobe to keep our belongings feeling fresh and exciting.
“We always remind our clients that ‘it gets worse before it gets better,’” Jamie Hord, the founder of Horderly, a company that specializes in decluttering, organizing, and unpacking, tells Bustle. “This mantra is usually shared at the beginning of our organizing process because one majorly important beginning step is to do a complete pull-out and sort all items within the closet.”
While storage and organization items are a necessity, Hord suggests starting this process by taking all your items out of the closet and sorting them into piles based on category. “Touch each item and decide whether to keep, toss, or donate it. Once we know what the client is keeping, we help determine what deserves prime real estate and what can be stored higher or lower in the space.”
Thanks to Hord’s professional organizing skills, overstuffed dresser drawers and outfit decision fatigue are about to become a thing of the past. Below, use these five hacks for organizing your closet — and products that’ll help you keep it that way, from shoe organizers to storage cubes.
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1. Practice The One In, One Out Rule
One key to the Horderly organizing process is to follow the “one in, one out” rule. “If you buy something new, let one thing go. This will help ensure your space stays tidy and doesn’t overflow with new items. Additionally, if you know you like to buy new things each year, make sure to leave room to grow when you initially organize your space,” Hord explains. Below, find space-saving products that can accommodate new items.
“These hangers are great because the slim design allows you to fit more on each hanging rod, and the uniform design will give a clean, cohesive look to your closet,” Hord says.
Top Review: “I changed out my old plastic hangers for these ones for my portable closet. It did save me space and it looks more uniform instead of having different types of hangers,” one reviewer wrote.
These fabric storage cubes are a great way to add more storage space to any closet, especially if you don’t have room for a dresser.
Top Review: “I decided to trade out the bulky dresser for some Ikea Billy bookshelves and fabric cubes. I used the black, grey, and beige cubes. Two fit on each shelf of the Billys perfectly with about 8" of shelf left over,” one reviewer wrote. “I have a few Closetmaid cubes in the bathroom and while those seem a little bit sturdier, these are perfectly well made for storing clothes and I will not hesitate to order these again when I redo the kid's room. Each cube fits three large bath towels or four pairs of men's jeans or ten women's size medium T-shirts.”
These cascading hangers help you make more use of the vertical space in your closet, allowing you to fit more clothes on a single hanging rod. It’s perfect for fashionistas and people living with minimal closet space.
Top Review: “I love these! I’m currently using 15 in my closet. My closet is small, and these work so much better than I expected. My clothes aren’t wrinkled, and the hangers are sturdy. I have heavy shirts and sweaters on every space, and they feel like they can take more. They are also easy to take up and down,” one reviewer wrote.
2. Try Seasonal Swaps
For people with limited closet space, Hord suggests trying a seasonal swap method. “Storing current items in prime real estate and off-season items either up high in your closet, or elsewhere in your home, may be the right solution for you.” All you need are a few protective storage cubes and you’re ready to declutter your closet.
These storage bags have over 42,000 five-star ratings thanks to the high-quality fabric and long-lasting durability. Made of odorless, non-woven fabric, these organizers help promote ventilation to keep all your out-of-season clothes fresh while they’re packed away.
Top Review: “These are fantastic storage bags! I purchased these to organize a messy linen closet and they have been amazing. I’ve been able to store 2 standard-size and 2 king-size pillows in one bag! That alone has saved so much space! I’m so happy with this purchase. I keep searching around to see how else I can use them. They are lifesavers,” one reviewer wrote.
Compression bags are a great way to store massive amounts of clothes without taking up a ton of space. They can easily be hidden in suitcases or slid underneath a bed until you need them again—plus, they’re reusable so you can easily swap your clothes from one season to the next without a hassle.
Top Review: “I bought these to replace some Ziplock brand ones that we had that all had tears at the seams. These Amazon bags seem to be made of much better plastic and should be much more durable,” one reviewer wrote. “I was able to fit a king comforter in one bag and 2 king-size pillows in another. Happy with my purchase and happy to be saving so much space.”
Make good use of your under-the-bed storage space with these container bags. They’re made with a clear vinyl top, so you can easily see what’s inside, and zip closed to help prevent dust from entering while the bags are stored away.
Top Review: “I have a queen comforter, quilt, 4 pillow shams, and a sheet set with room to spare. They open wide so it is easy to pack. It doubles nicely as a cat bed,” one reviewer wrote.
3. Label Your Items
Another key to keeping your closet organized is labeling the items in your closet. “Labels help hold us accountable and ensure that all items remain in their proper home,” she says. Creating definitive sections in your closet for certain items — from hats to jewelry to dress shoes — can make sure you never lose track of these items and are able to remember you have them (as opposed to leaving them in an unmarked box and forgetting that they exist).
“If you’re using bins, don’t forget to use bin clip labels to identify which items are being stored in the respective bins,” Hord says. This set comes with 20 plastic basket clip-on labels, 32 adhesive sticker labels, and two white chalk markers for when you want to change up what’s stored in your bins.
Top Review: “These clips are the perfect size and very easy to put on. And comes with extra labels so you can change them out when you need to. Pick yours up today life changer.
If you don’t have access to a label maker, sorting your clothing into designated sections and using hangers meant specifically for them will help your closet look more organized. These pants hangers work well for jeans, trousers, and even scarves.
Top Review: “I was impressed how well made these hangers were, and very sturdy. I was able to hang 5 pairs of jeans on one hanger without a problem. The covering where the pants hang keeps them from slipping also, which I had noticed not all of these types of hangers included. The vendor also covers the ends of the metal with rubber tips so no possible snags,” one reviewer wrote.
If labels aren’t your thing, consider clothing-specific storage for your closet, like this storage hanger that can hold up to 24 pairs of leggings.
Top Review: “I have a bazillion leggings (well, at least over 72) and bought 3 of these storage things. I put 2 leggings in each spot on one side and then hung it flush against my closet door,” one reviewer wrote. “I might buy one more to hang inside my closet on the rod for my remaining leggings.”
4. Use Up Forgotten Space
According to Hord, one way to maximize your closet space — and keep it tidy — is to get creative with the types of products you use. “The back of closet doors is often-forgotten space that can easily turn into a shoe or accessory wall.” You can also hang command strips on the doors for makeshift purses and jewelry holders and even use cube organizers to add even more room to your closet in lieu of more expensive dressers.
You can store everything from shoes to accessories in these over-the-door organizers, says Hord. Plus, it saves you tons of floor space so you can add smaller organizers to your closet.
Top Review: “I’m very surprised by this. I was expecting a cheap plastic version like the one I was replacing. But it’s awesome! It’s a mesh pocket, so the quality and durability are much better than its predecessor. I was able to fit a pair of shoes in each pocket which doubled my storage space I previously had,” one reviewer wrote.
Utilize the vertical space in your closet with a hanging closet shelf that’s perfect for shoes, accessories, or clothes of any type.
Top Review: “I am SO glad I bought this, [it is] very sturdy, and has opened up a ton of space where my shoes were just piling up nonstop,” one reviewer wrote. “Definitely only works for smaller flats [and] sneakers, but would also work if you wanted to put a couple sweaters in there that you can’t hang!”
In lieu of a few over-the-door hooks, this five-shelf organizer gives you plenty of space for storing all your bulk knits and chunky shoes. Plus it has smaller pockets for belts and other tiny accessories.
Top Review: “Purchased for my daughter whose apartment had very limited closet and pantry space. Fit perfectly on the door and held tons of stuff. All the clutter is gone and the holder looks great. Highly recommend for anyone with limited pantry and closet space. It transforms the place and looks really nice.”
5. Customize Your Closet
While not everyone can afford to order custom-made wardrobe systems, you can take your closet organization one step further by finding furniture that seems almost custom-fit to your space. Hord recommends taking into account what you need to store, and how to store it. And don’t forget to take exact measurements.
Sometimes one hanging rod isn’t enough. For city dwellers in studio apartments and suburbanites with room to spare, this storage wardrobe will instantly add tons of space and function to your closet.
Top Review: “My closet had an avalanche when the original shelf ripped out of the wall. I got this set of shelves to replace it. Not only did all my hanging clothes get back up on a rack but now I have shelves to organize my purses and shoes and random stuff. It looks much better organized than before and I'm not worried about these shelves falling down.”
“If drawer space is limited, we love using bins on shelves to act as drawers. Oftentimes, we use these to store accessories or even file-fold clothing items,” Hord says.
Top Review: “I've purchased these 3 times because I keep finding more uses for them! They are the perfect size for cabinets and shelving. Love that I can grab the open handles easily, and that I can easily see what's stored. I have stored everything in them from spices to folded napkins, to light bulbs. They would be great in a bathroom for under sink storage as well.”
Hord highly recommends this wardrobe system for people looking for custom solutions. Not only is it versatile, but she also says it’s great for renters and people with tight budgets. If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative try Amazon’s adjustable hanging organizer.
Top Review: “It was very easy to assemble and holds a lot of clothes. I love how it is on wheels so I can move it around when needed like for vacuuming my closet. Very satisfied with this purchase and would highly recommend it for anyone looking to organize their clothes. I use the top to store extra decorative pillows and it's perfect.”