10 Inexpensive Ways to Organize Your Closet
Tips to Help You Organize Your Closet Space
Most of us have modest or even small ordinary closet spaces like the one pictured here. It looks messy, but in reality, it's not a bad space and can be improved to be much more functional. There is a bunch of unutilized space in this closet that could be recaptured and used effecively.
If you're like me, your bedroom closet by necessity becomes home to more than clothes and shoes. Mine also houses a sewing machine, craft projects, an emergency kit, and a basket of baby toys. I've learned to utilize every square inch of valuable closet real estate. I'd like to share some inexpensive practical ideas and organizing tips with you to help any closet become more efficiently organized.
Some Inexpensive Closet Organizing Systems
There are hundreds of really good closet organizers, but before you choose any, make sure you analyze your needs and your space.
The Perfect System
It may be pretty, but how functional is it?
Don't you just love the beautifully staged photos of closet systems? Or TV makeovers where the after picture leaves you wondering if anyone really lives there? I can't seriously consider any system that showcases monocromatic clothing hanging six inches apart, or one sweater on each shelf. I know, they are "staging." I get it. But most makeovers are pretty only until the cameras and crew leave. It's important to choose your closet accessories and "systems" with a really practical eye. Function first!
Closet Organizing Tips
Ten practical inexpensive tips to make your closet efficient and organized.
Clean and Purge
Tip #1 - Clean and Purge
It's hard, but you'll feel better
This one is so obvious I almost left it out. But it's so important that you really eliminate anything that you don't use, need, or that belongs somewhere else. Only you can decide what remains, but it has to fit in the space allotted. If you can't bear to part with something that you should, remember that something that is never used is only taking up space. That's all it does. It has no other function or useful purpose. That is space that you can use for a more worthy object. And, that item might be useful to someone else who needs if far more than you need to store it. And if you're lucky enough to end up with some negative space when you're done, just enjoy it, or display something pretty there.
Clean Out Your Closet - Be free
This is the hardest part and sometimes just the thought of it bogs us down before we even start.
For a quick energy boost and the motivation to tackle that ugly closet,let a professional guide you through the process step-by-step.
Tip #2 - Take Inventory of What Stays in the Closet
Divide and conquer
List your items into categories based on how they will be stored and how much space they need. Your list might look like this:
Hanging clothes (1/2 of closet)
Folded Clothes (about 2x4 feet)
Shoes (about 2x4 feet)
Bags (about 2x3 feet)
Belts, ties, scarves, etc. (not sure)
Now you're going to think about the best and most efficient way to store each group of items. Obviously it would be nice to have an expert come in and build out your closet. But you can inexpensively organize your closet space youself.
Tip #3 - Assign Priorities Based on Frequency of Use
Denim to the front, sequins to the back
The things you use the most should be stored in the most convenient place. For instance, the right side of my closet is for the things I wear every day, the left for dressier clothes. The craft supplies I seldom use are on the highest shelf in the back. I need to stand on something to access them. My shoes are within easy reach. Since I only change purses about twice a year, my bags are high on the shelf, but in front of the craft supplies where I can reach them. About those craft supplies. Those are the ones that as soon as I get rid of somthing I'll need to repurchase it next week. As long as I keep them, I'm assured of never needing them again. . .oh, nevermind.
Create a Closet System
Tip #4 - Shop for the Perfect Closet System
But don't buy it
Here's the fun and creative part. Based on your assessment of your storage needs, shop for the perfect closet system for you. It doesn't matter how expensive it is. Find the system that you think would be your ideal solution to all your storage needs for that closet. That doesn't mean to look at systems that take up three times the space of your closet. It has to fit within your closet space. Now you're going to find ways to inexpensively duplicate the storage sections you've defined. For instance, canvas shelves instead of hardwood shelves; baskets instead of custom modules, an extra chest of drawers repurposed from another room, etc.
My closet space is like the introductory photo at the beginning of this article, a typical closet with two sliding doors, a horizontal pole for clothes to hang, and a long shelf running across the top. I determined that I needed half for hanging clothes and the other half for shelves for folded clothes and shoes. There is room for another shelf low to the floor running under the side with the hanging clothes. The existing shelf that runs across the top of the entire closet could benefit from storage boxes/baskets with a variety of functions. Clear boxes would make it easy to identify contents.
Here is how I created the space inexpensively, and in some cases for no cost at all, by recycling items I already had:
I purchased hanging canvas shelves (like the ones shown below), enough to fill up the half of my closet I designated for folded clothes and shoes. They hang from the poles. I have four large canvas clothes units (below) and two canvas shoe units (further down the page). Hardwood would be lovely, but these work just fine and were inexpensive. From another room I repurposed a vertical shelf with four cubes by laying it down on my closet floor to become organized storage cubicles underneath my hanging clothes. To organize the top shelf, I repurposed several nice sturdy Tiffany boxes from my son's wedding china. Clear boxes would be more functional, but these were free.
Create More Space
Tip #5 - Create More Functional Space
Use your imagination
Make use of overlooked spaces and create new space. Can you make one shelf into two and get more use out of it? Is there a corner for a hook for a bathrobe or pair of jeans? Find and use unique solutions and spacesavers, but make sure it will truly be useful to you. I like hooks, special ironing board racks, and those cascading hangers that allow you to hang several skirts from one hanger. These are things that work for me. You can sift through hundreds of solutions online, study the details and prices, measure to make sure it fits the space - all before you make a decision to buy.
Find *Your* Shoe System
Tip #6 - Determine a System for Organizing Shoes
Identify shoes with a snap
There are many ways to store shoes. Choose one that is convenient for you and that fits the space you have. An alternative to storing shoes in your closet is to store them on one of those under-the-bed shoe racks.
I like the idea shown in this photo as an alternative to the obvious clear plastic shoe boxes. Just keep them in the boxes they came in and snap photos to show what's inside.
Photo and idea: gonomad
Paint the Inside of Your Closet
Tip #7 - Paint the Inside of Your Closet
It changes your outlook
Many people neglect to paint the inside of their closet. It's such a chore to empty it out and all that. But what a difference it makes! You might even choose a constrasting color from the rest of the room. Even the smallest, most modest closet can feel like a carefully decorated room - one you enjoy spending time in.
If you choose a darker color just make sure you have plenty of light inside the closet, which brings me to my next tip.
Lots of Light
Tip #8 - Make Sure Your Closet Has Plenty of Light
Brighten things up
It's so difficult to find things in a dark closet. This tip kind of goes without saying, but many closets have no light except what comes in from the room when the door is open. You may have to add a light fixture, or find a battery solution, but it will be well worth the effort.
Closet Door Makeover
Tip #9 - Give Your Closet Doors a Makeover
Think outside the box
If your closet doors are old, shabby or dated, update them with fresh paint and molding strips, stenciling, or wallpaper. Just a coat of paint and new knobs will do wonders.
You can find so much inspiration online. I found this and many other happy ideas online by doing a search for "closet door makeover." This particular one even provides extra storage from the colorful totes as part of the design.
Make Your Own Stenciled or Painted Tote Bags - Everyone can use extra storage
This is an especially effective idea for storage in a tiny apartment. Even when there isn't a single inch of closet space left, you can still store a lot in tote bags. If done somewhat artistically, they add decor and personality to the room.
Keep it Clean and Organized
Tip #10 - Keep Your Closet Clean and Organized
Never outgrow your closet
Your new closet system should be easy to maintain, but if you find yourself getting crowded and disorganized again, that's your cue to retire some things and find them a new home. When you first reorganize your closet, make sure to leave some room for you and your things to breathe. The goal is to enjoy using your closet to help you get dressed each day. If you do, you will be happier and it will be easy to maintain that effect.
Photos used with permission are credited in individual modules. Every other photo on this lens resides in original form in my personal collection.
Do you have a closet challenge or tip you'd like to share?