How to Make Over Your Closet in 8 Simple Steps

Organized closet with folded clothing, labeled baskets and separated accessories

The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

The urge to execute a closet makeover can hit at any time. Maybe you’re anticipating a change of season, embarking on a new stage of life by moving, or starting a new job. Maybe you’re inspired by an image of someone else’s organized closet or just tired of wading through your own messy closet every day, wondering why you have so many clothes but nothing to wear. No matter the reason for it, giving your closet some attention can make your daily life simpler. And it can be the perfect jump-start to organizing the rest of your home.

Here are eight tips to help you through your closet makeover.

  • 01 of 08

    Clear Out the Clutter

    Wooden hangers held up with orange and black and white striped shirts in closet

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

    Whether you're planning a major closet overhaul or a simple DIY makeover, your first step should always be to declutter your closet. There’s no point in wasting time organizing clothes you aren’t going to wear. So before you do anything else, clear out your entire closet. Evaluate each item to separate what you love and want to keep from what you don’t like, don’t wear, and don’t want.

    While you sort your clothes into yes and no piles, ask yourself: Does it fit? If not, is it likely to fit you again soon? Does it suit your current lifestyle? Is it stained, damaged, or dated? If so, can it be fixed or altered to make it wearable, and realistically will you do that soon?

  • 02 of 08

    Separate by Season

    Organized closet with hanging and folded clothes separated for the seasons

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

    As you organize your wardrobe, keep in mind that the goal isn’t just to make the closet look tidy temporarily. Rather, strive to make it easy to remain organized. Imagine opening your closet every day and quickly selecting an outfit without feeling frustrated or distracted.

    One of the quickest ways to reach this goal is to limit the “working” area of your closet (i.e., the area not used for long-term storage) to clothes you can wear right now. For most people, this is easiest to achieve by rotating clothes seasonally. For instance, in summer heavy sweaters and snow boots should be stored out of sight while sundresses and T-shirts are front and center.

  • 03 of 08

    Make It Appealing

    Black vacuum cleaning wood floor in closet

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

    Before you put your newly reduced and seasonally selected clothes away, take a look at your empty closet. Does it need cleaning, painting, or other maintenance? Maybe you want to repair a broken hinge, replace a light bulb, or simply vacuum the floor. These minor improvements are easier to put off when the closet is full, so tackle them now.

    If your closet is in good shape but looking a bit drab, there’s still a lot you can do to liven it up and make getting dressed—as well as putting away clothes—a more pleasant experience. For example, you could add some sachets or cedar blocks to scent your clothes and fend off moths, get new matching hangers, or add a full-length mirror. You also could add wallpaper or a new light fixture.

  • 04 of 08

    Upgrade Your Closet Accessories

    Empty closet with wicker baskets and wooden hangers

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

    Accessories such as hangers, shelf dividers, and hooks can take your closet from drab to dream. But you need to choose the right ones. Because most closets already appear pretty busy—filled with clothing, shoes, and other items—choose neutral storage solutions, such as clear shelf dividers and simple wood hooks.

    Try to keep all of your closet accessories, including storage bins and shelving, in the same color scheme as well. That way, they'll do their job to help with organization and function. But they won't give off a disordered appearance in the space.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Keep Like Items With Like Items

    Folded shirts and pants stacked in separate piles in closet shelving

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

    When you’re ready to hang up clothes, don’t just stick everything in at random. Consider organizing your closet by like items so that all of your pants are together, as are your skirts, dresses, tops, and so on. Within those categories, organize items by color. Depending on the different activities you typically need to dress for, you might want to keep items such as formal wear, workout clothes, or work uniforms separate from the rest.

    As you decide where your clothing will "live," imagine your closet like a boutique. If you were shopping for clothes, how would you like to see your options displayed? By color? By item type? In pre-selected outfits? What would reduce the time you spend searching for an item in your closet?

  • 06 of 08

    Pin Your Favorite Clothing Combos

    Outfit combinations pinned to closet wall next to folded clothing

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

    If you have a hard time putting together outfits for work, fancy events, or other occasions, try pinning your favorite outfit combinations to the inside of your closet door. This way, you'll always have outfit inspiration at eye level when it's time to get dressed.

    This easy hack could save you loads of time as you get ready for events. Just like you do with your clothing, rotate what's on the board so it remains seasonally appropriate. And don't forget to incorporate any new articles of clothing you acquire to find ways to mix it in with the pieces you already have.

  • 07 of 08

    Add Labels for Instant Organization

    Wicker baskets labeled for boots and hats within organized closet

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

    Once you've sorted your clothing, shoes, and accessories into like-with-like categories, take the time to label anything you have tucked away in storage containers. This is especially important if your containers are being used for long-term storage, as you might forget what you've put in them.

    Labeling is also helpful for opaque bins you wish to store on high shelving or stacked one on top of the other. That way, you can simply check the front of the container to see what's in it versus having to reach a high shelf or rearrange a stack to access a bin.

  • 08 of 08

    Install Drawers

    Standing three-drawer storage placed in corner of organized closet

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

    Not all of your closet needs to be hanging storage unless that's what you need it for. If you'd like a variety of storage options, consider installing a closet organizer with drawers or even putting a small dresser in your closet if you have the space.

    Not only can you use the drawers for storage, but you can also use the top of a drawer unit to store small items you want easily accessible, such as frequently worn jewelry. Just be careful that the surface doesn't become a dumping ground for clutter.