- 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