Upgrade your hangers. Replacing mismatched or wire hangers with ones that are sturdier and a single color — wooden in the coat closet and maybe plain white plastic for clothes — makes a cost-effective, instant upgrade. Make sure the hanger hooks are facing in toward the back of the closet (unless, of course, you're following Abby's tip for weeding out clothes you don't wear). To save space, you can also try slim profile or tiered hangers.
Look high and low, back and front. If well planned, even a small closet can hold a lot. For example, the closets in my apartment aren't wide or deep, but they are extra tall. Adding just one stool-accessible shelf can help corral scarves, sweaters, etc. Similarly, don't forget to use the back of your closet; mine holds bigger items that I use less frequently, such as my suitcase and deflated air mattress. With hooks or a pocket organizer, the inside of the door is also the perfect place to store scarves, belts, or shoes.
Give clothes breathing room. When you're configuring, your closet shouldn't become too much like Tetris (or worse, Jenga). You still need to have space to move hangers and see what's in there. Evaluate what you don't wear (see Abby's tip above), and sell or donate it. Also potentially helpful is re-thinking how you divide clothes between dresser and closet; see Martha Stewart Living's tips here.
Add personality. Even if your clothes closet can't magically become a luxurious dressing room, it doesn't have to be dull. Try hangers in your favorite color instead of white (check The Container Store), add liners to your shelves, or, for a slightly bigger project, paint the walls. I didn't even use a full quart to redo mine in petrol blue, but the color alone makes me happy to open the closet door.
MORE CLOSET ORGANIZATION ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
• 20 Ways to Organize Your Bedroom Closet
• 9 Essentials for the Ultimate Clothes Closet• Open Closets in Small Spaces
• 7 Tips for Keeping an Uncluttered Closet
• Organizational Inspiration: Neat & Beautiful Closets
• How to Put Your Clothes Away Each Day
• Simple Tips for an Ultra Organized Closet