In the new year, I decided to (finally) tackle a couple of the most disorganized spots in my apartment—one being my bedroom closet. While adding even more things to an overflowing closet may seem counter-productive, I found that introducing just a few key storage finds could turn my lazy piles of clothes and shoes into a passably functional wardrobe. Here are the five baby steps I'm taking to get a grown-up closet.
Game-Changer #1: Buying Enough (Matching) Hangers
Before my closet overhaul, I never had enough hangers, so each one was overloaded with multiple dresses or shirts. This system at least helped keep my clothes off the floor, but it left them about as wrinkly as when I pile them on the end of my bed. To make getting dressed every morning a little easier, I decided it was worth investing in a set of real, grown-up wooden hangers. I went with these Lotus Wooden Hangers from The Container Store and bought all three styles. The grooved blouse ones are perfect for tank tops and strappy dresses, while the ones with the bar are great for storing jeans. There's something very grown-up feeling about a coordinated collection of hangers—as evidenced by the set in the lead image of this post from Made From Scratch—and pulling out the iron less often is a big plus.
Game-Changer #2: The Undershelf Basket
In a closet with only one shelf and no dresser, it was impossible to untangle the jumble of pants, sweaters and socks overflowing the solitary shelf. That is, until I discovered the magic that is the undershelf basket: An extra storage bin that slips on without screws or hooks. I ordered the pretty gold Lincoln Undershelf Basket from Wayfair ($36), which at 17-inches wide and 8-inches tall, is perfectly sized for stashing socks.
Game-Changer #3: Big Decorative Back-of-Door Hooks
The back of the closet door is an untapped space just waiting to be put to use for extra storage. I'm pretty lucky to have a closet with French doors, meaning double the stashing space. To put it to use, I installed Muuto Dots hooks (top image) on one door (from $23), and a Hay Volet Hook ($18) on the other. These are undoubtedly snazzy hooks to devote to the inside of a closet that no one else will see, but I love the idea of adding little decor touches that are just for you (pretty drawer liners are another). If you prefer to keep it simple, Home Depot has a big selection of affordable coat hooks. I'm using the hooks to sort out my stash of canvas tote bags and winter scarves, but they'd work for belts or purses, too.
Game-Changer #4: A Pretty, Practical Laundry Basket
When searching for a laundry hamper, I loved the look of a woven basket, but I also wanted something that would be easy to lug to the laundromat. The solution: I lined a woven basket (similar to this one from World Market) with this canvas laundry bag from The Container Store (both shown above, respectively). When it's laundry time, I pull out the canvas bag, which has straps like a giant backpack, and carry it off.
Game-Changer #5: A Real Shoe Rack
I'll admit, this final stage of my closet decluttering hasn't happened quite yet. The last pile to tackle is the mess of shoes still sitting on my closet floor. Since I don't have a huge collection, I'm searching for a simple wooden two-shelf organizer, such as the wooden rack above from A Place for Everything, and our shoe storage annual guide is full of other stylish options. Similar to how buying hangers is an investment in caring for my clothes, I'm pretty sure my shoes will last longer if they aren't smushed together in one big heap.
So far, this system seems to be working for me, but there are tons of alternative ways to keep a closet tidy. Check out 20 more organizing ideas to mix and match a method that's customized for you. And if you know of any other game-changers, drop a line in the comments below.
Re-edited from a post that originally appeared 1.23.16.- AH