Fresh Start: Small Closet Updates that Make a Big Difference

updated Jul 15, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

It’s easy to close the door to your closet and forget about what’s in there…until the next time you get changed or put on your coat. Here are a few simple ideas for upgrading your closets’ style and organization so that each look and rummage inside is enjoyable.

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Go uniform. The easiest way to make your closet look more orderly is to use single-color multiples. If your current organizers are mismatched, you can avoid buying more stuff by spray painting or decoupaging the containers. Similarly, grouping like with like — dresses together, etc. — will make things look more orderly, can free up space, and might even make outfit-picking easier.

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.

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• 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

Images: 1. and 4. Domino 2. Martha Stewart Living 3. Arthur’s Long Distance Home 5. Caroline’s Pint Size Retro Whimsy on a Budget