Tips for Organizing a "Catch All" Closet

We have a closet in our living room that's really an oddly placed storage nook. It's nice to have this extra space (which we use to store everything from photographs to board games to out-of-season coats) but right now everything's a little mixed-up inside. This weekend, we're planning on sorting through the stuff, so we've compiled a few tips for ourselves and anyone else with the same situation...

  • Declutter. Before organizing anything, get rid of the things you no longer use or need. A good rule of thumb is to edit out anything you haven't used in a year. For step-by-step advice on shedding your stuff, click here.
  • Tailor your closet to your needs with a mix-and-match system of shelving, rods, and racks. In previous apartments, we've used Closetmaid (cheap but good), built-ins (the most attractive solution), and IKEA's Antonius system (which we didn't like). Other options include Elfa shelving, custom-made California closets, and the recommendations from this post.
  • Create zones in your closet for each separate function: one shelf for board games, one shelf for photo boxes, one clothing rod for out-of-season coats. Color helps to further designate each zone. Maybe the boxes that you use to store photos are orange, while the boxes that hold old tax files are blue.
  • To keep your sanity and streamline the process, try not to get too obsessed with everything looking perfect. It is a closet, after all, and you can shut the door on it when you're done. For an inspiring real-life closet organization, see Wes and Kayla's closet before and after.


Photo: Sarah Coffey