How to Design a Closet

a well designed closet

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No matter how much storage you have, your closet can make or break your home organization skills. You're only as organized as your storage space allows you to be, so it's important to get the most out of what you have. But before you rearrange your closet, take note of everything you truly need to store (and what you can finally get rid of)—and be realistic about what you can fit inside your space.

Here are a few tips to help you design a closet that's clutter-free and easy to use.

Wooden hangers with shirts
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Keep Your Hangers Uniform

Got a boatload of cheap wire clothes hangers from the dry cleaners and those flimsy plastic ones from who knows where? Toss 'em. To keep your closet as aesthetically pleasing (and organized) as possible, ditch the free hangers for a few packs of premium wood or metal bundles. Not only will they look better displaying your favorite pieces, well-made hangers are less likely to break or droop under pressure. The first step of any well-designed closet is always to upgrade your hangers.

Add a Few Hooks

Take advantage of unused areas (like the backs of doors and interior walls) with a few stick-on or screw-in hooks. These underutilized spaces can be perfect for hanging purses, scarves or other frequently-used items that don't have a home elsewhere.

Large shoe display in a closet
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Keep Your Shoes Off the Floor

Okay, so maybe you don't have enough storage space for a wonderful walk-in shoe display, but that doesn't mean you should just toss your shoes on the ground. Think about how much time it takes to find that matching black stiletto when it's in a pile of gym shoes and snow boots on the floor. Instead, invest in a vertical or horizontal shoe rack (depending on how much space you have) that allows you to easily view your shoes and keep them together.

Arrange by Colors or Styles

Make your mornings a little easier by taking the time to arrange your clothing in a way that works best for you. Though a color-coordinated profile may look nice, if you rarely consider what to wear based on color, a system arranged by style may work better for you. Think about how you get dressed in the morning (do you decide to wear a pair of pants and spend forever trying to find the perfect matching red shirt?) and start from there.

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Buy Catch-All Wicker Baskets

No matter how organized you are, there will always be odds and ends that just don't fit nicely on a hanger or a shelf. Things like gym accessories or blow dryers work best in a heavy-duty basket on the floor or on shelving units. If you are arranging a child's closet, use baskets to keep diapers, sheets and toys better organized and easier to access.

Consider Frequency of Use

If your closet is home to both your work pants and an air mattress you use once a year, be sure to put the items you need more often up front—and tuck away those you rarely use. Your expensive cashmere sweater may be pretty to look at, but unless you wear it frequently, it doesn't need to be directly at eyesight level. Instead, reserve this space for your MVP pieces.

closet with a dresser in it
Young House Love

Add a Dresser or Vanity

If you have the space, a small dresser can be a wonderful addition to a closet. Blogger Young House Love added a vintage wooden dresser to her closet to give it a boutique feel and provide even more storage space. Added bonus? Unlike a custom shelving unit, a dresser is easily removable when you're ready for a refresh.

jeans on closet hooks
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Install Valet Hooks

A telescoping valet hook can help store pants and skirts when you need extra space, and disappear when you don't. If most of your clothing is awkward on a typical hanger, consider unique storage options such as hooks, which are easier to access instead of a standard pants' hanger.

Keep Your Storage Uniform

Not only will investing in a uniform set of boxes and baskets look less cluttered, it will also allow you to maximize all of your space efficiently. Measure exactly how much closet shelf space you have and purchase storage bins that use as much of it as possible without being too stuffed. This will allow you to get the most out of your space and create a closet that looks like it belongs in a magazine (win-win!).

Maintain the Organization

Getting started is the easy part—keeping everything in its place in an organized closet is the hard one. Make it a habit to keep your closet organized so you don't slip out of a routine. If you're not careful, one tossed shoe can easily become a pile of "stuff I haven't touched in months."