How to Design a Closet

a well designed closet

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No matter how much storage you have in your home, your clothes closet can always be better organized. You could start from scratch and design a new closet. But you don't need to tear out your closet to rebuild it into a more functional space. You can design your existing closet by adding new elements to streamline the space. Before you redesign your closet, declutter it first. Then you'll have a better idea of which of the following tips will best apply to your needs.

Here are 10 tweaks that give you a better-designed closet to help give you more usable space and keep your clothes in better shape.

Keep Your Hangers Uniform

Eliminate from your closet flimsy plastic hangers and cheap wire hangers that you take home from the dry cleaners. Invest in a few packs of premium wood or durable velvet-covered hangers. They will look better in your closet, they won't break under pressure from heavy clothes, and your clothing won't fall off the hangers into a heap on the floor.

Slim Hangers for Small Closets

If you have a small closet, opt for slimmer hangers. There are less bulky (around an inch thinner) than regular wood and velvet hangers.

Wooden hangers with shirts
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Add Strategic Hooks

Take advantage of unused areas, like the back of the closet door, interior side and back walls, and the space high above the closet door. Add stick-on or screw-in hooks in these areas to hold purses, accessories, and other seasonal items less frequently used. A coat rack in your closet is another welcome addition that can hold heavy outerwear.

Keep Shoes off the Floor

Shoes can find a home off the floor even in the smallest closet. Invest in a shoe rack that fits over your door, on the wall, or hangs on your rod. That way, you'll spend less time hunting for your matching shoes in a pile on the floor. If you have space elsewhere for shoe storage, such as in a cabinet or shelf, your footwear doesn't need to be clogging up your closet space.

Large shoe display in a closet
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Arrange by Category, Color, or Style

Make your mornings go smoothly by taking the time to arrange your clothing in a way that works best for you. Think about how you get dressed in the morning, and arrange your wardrobe from there. Here are a few ideas on how to arrange by category, color, or style:

  • Put all black or neutral tone tops and bottoms together.
  • Batch same-color tops and bottoms together.
  • Hang all tops together and all bottoms together.
  • Organize in clothing groups, such as dresses, pants, skirts, cardigans and sweaters, long-sleeve tops, and short to sleeveless tops.
  • Keep work and casual clothing separated.
  • Contain full outfits on their own hangers.

Buy Catch-All Baskets and Bins

Use coordinated baskets and bins to place all the odds and ends that can't be hung or neatly folded on a shelf. Items you can put in baskets and bins include gym accessories, hair styling accessories, flip-flops, purses and bags, and seasonal items such as bathing suits.

Children's Closet Helpers

Use baskets and bins in a child's closet to keep diapers, bedding, small clothing items, and toys better organized and easier to access.

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Consider the Frequency of Use

Put the items you use most frequently at eye level and in the most center of your closet. Put less frequently used clothing off to the sides, higher, or lower in your closet. If your clothing closet shares space with household goods that you rarely use, those can be tucked further back and away if you can't relocate the items.

Add a Small Piece of Furniture

If you have the space, adding a small dresser or bookcase can boost your closet storage. The homeowners of the blog, Young House Love, added a vintage wooden dresser to their closet to give it a boutique feel and provide extra storage space. Unlike a custom shelving unit, a dresser is easily removable when you're ready for a refresh. Use a chest of drawers for shoe storage, as well, by taking out the bottom drawers. Or, bring in a bookcase and use it for shoes and folded items.

closet with a dresser in it

Young House Love

Install Flexible Racks

Adding a flexible rack helps to neatly store clothing when you need extra space, and it disappears when you don't need it. Here are a few options:

  • Telescoping valet closet rods
  • Pull-out and expandable pants racks
  • Pull-out tie and belt racks
  • Folding racks with swing-out rods
  • Flip-down racks with retractable hooks
  • Over-the-door valet hooks
jeans on closet hooks
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Streamline Seasonal Storage

Keep a sliver of your closet space reserved for seasonal clothing storage. Invest in a uniform set of storage boxes so they fit together and maximize space. (Remember the crucial step of labeling boxes.) Storing seasonal items frees up space in other parts of your closet, such as on the rod and shelves. But if you need to hang seasonal storage, opt for vacuum-sealed garment bags. Protect your stored clothing with cedar blocks, balls, or spray to deter bugs that feed on fibers.

Maintain the Organization

Maintaining an organized closet requires consistent clutter sweeps and tweaks. Once you start a pile of clothing in your closet, it's tough to stop adding to the pile. Make it a habit to keep your closet organized. Here are a few tips to keep on track:

  • Hang your clothes back up every day, never drop them on the floor to "get to later."
  • Immediately replace damaged bins or baskets; you don't want to let uncontained items overflow into your closet or bedroom.
  • Keep a hamper in your closet or right near it so dirty clothes are taken care of instead of ending up crumpled in a corner.
  • Remember to frequently dust higher shelves and vacuum the closet floor to eliminate any dander from getting onto clothing and into storage boxes and bins.