6 Closet Hacks for People Who Don’t Want to Get Rid of Their Clothes

updated Oct 23, 2020
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Click on any article about organizing your closet, and chances are the first tip will be to “purge” or “edit.” But what if you don’t want to eliminate anything? Are you destined to live in disarray?

For a long time, I found it almost impossible to get rid of clothing. I would be afraid that I’d miss the items later, or that I would suddenly fit into something again and wish I had kept the item. Sometimes, throwing out old clothing would even make me feel a little sad and nostalgic—like I was tossing a memory aside. As hard as getting rid of clothing was for me, though, I still wanted a closet that functioned better.

So, I’ve turned to the experts for some tips and tricks for creating a more organized closet without the dreaded “edit” step.

Use matching hangers

The easiest thing anyone can do to instantly declutter a closet is to invest in matching hangers, says interior designer Michelle Pulman. “I personally love the slim velvet hangers that keep everything up off the floor and allow you to fit more in your closet,” says Pulman. “They come in a bunch of colors, so you can find a set that works for you.”

Focus on categories

“Compartmentalize categories to start with rather than your entire closet,” says professional organizer Jane Stoller of Organized Jane. “For example, start with your shoes, then your handbags, then your work attire.” Taking the time to organize the different sections of your closet can help make it easier to see what you own, helping you avoid that panicked feeling that you have a full closet, but nothing to wear. Plus, completing a single category will give you a sense of accomplishment—and the motivation you need to continue with the mission.

Schedule calendar “meetings” 

Rather than moving right on to the next section, take a break. But first: Consider scheduling blocks of time, so you’re more likely to go back to the task. Making over a closet can feel like an all-or-nothing process, says Stoller. Instead, organize things little by little. “A weekly reminder, even if only five minutes…will keep you on track,” Stoller says.

Make use of vertical space

If you’re committed to not tossing anything, you have to be much more creative with how you organize. The key to doing that, according to Pulman, is taking advantage of vertical space. “Use lidded baskets or bins on the very top shelf of your closet to store out-of-season clothing (hats, scarves, bathing suits, etc.),” says Pulman. “If you have a closet door, hang shoe racks or hooks for hats, handbags, or necklaces on the back.”

Don’t be afraid of vacuum-sealed bags 

A new season can be the perfect time to store bulky sweaters or never-used bathing suits in a way that takes up almost no space, says Anne Gopman, expert organizer and owner of Organized by Anne. “Use vacuum seal bags to create space when swapping out your summer wardrobe for fall,” says Gopman, explaining that this allows you to better see what you actually have at your disposal.

Put an empty bin on your closet floor 

And, finally, because items do eventually wear or stop fitting, try this hack to make getting rid of a few things feel less challenging or scary when the time comes. Put a box on the floor of your closet and toss just one or two things in there per week. This way, you can make decisions about clothing you don’t need or want anymore in real time instead of feeling overwhelmed by making decisions on every piece of clothing you own all in one day. “When you start to think of closet decluttering as a gradual process,” says Stoller, “you no longer fear getting rid of clothing.”