6 Tips Pro Organizers Use to Get a Chaos Closet in Order

organized cleaning closet in kitchen with brooms hanging and organized cleaning supplies

Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Sara Tramp

Everyone has a closet that's full of items ranging from, well, travel gear to art supplies to cleaning products and everything in between. If this space is overwhelming you, don't worry—you can tackle it with the help of some tips from pro organizers.

"If you take the time to organize this closet, it can be a huge asset in the overall efficiency of your home," Ann Lightfoot of Done & Done Home says.

Read on for six steps to cut the clutter once and for all.

1. Make a Game Plan

Nicole Sachiko of Tidy Lifestyle encourages those tackling a closet reorganization project to first set a vision for what they would like to achieve.

Questions to consider include: What is the purpose of this closet? What contents are most useful on a daily basis? How do you want to feel when you open the closet? How does this closet help support you in your life? Identifying these main factors first will shape your plan of attack. Be sure to maintain a positive outlook as you move forward, too.

"Reframe your focus to joy as you declutter," Sachiko says. "What you keep has more of an impact than what you discard."

2. Follow a Clear Process

Don't go ahead and buy all new organization gear just yet. You'll want to start the decluttering process first, then head to the store.

"Set yourself up for success by first figuring out what you are storing and where," then buy your receptacles, Sachiko says.

Not sure where to begin?

"First pull everything out, sort into categories, and get rid of everything that is no longer useful to you," Lightfoot says. "Then, create clear categories that make sense to you and anyone you live with."

While this may seem daunting, it'll be worth it in the end.

"It will feel like a chaotic mess, but trust me, it is simply the storm before the calm," says Kristin + Co's Kristin Roser says.

3. Sort by Category

Sorting items by type will help you determine how much you have of a particular kind of item. Then, you'll want to determine how to contain it all—and that's when the shopping trip comes in.

"Select various size bins or baskets that suit your organizing style," Roser says. "Don’t forget to measure."

4. Maximize Vertical Space

If you're using a closet to store miscellaneous items, you likely don't have any need for clothing racks, so alter the space to serve you best.

"A multipurpose closet is most effective when all of the vertical space is utilized," Keli Jakel of Organized by Keli & Co says. "Consider removing the closet rod so that there is more room to add shelving and hooks to utilize the space."

If you're looking to buy shelves, MaryJo Monroe of reSPACEd recommends adjustable shelving.

"You can raise them high enough to leave room for storing large items like suitcases and the vacuum cleaner on the floor," she says. "Extra vacuum cleaner parts should have their own basket on a shelf, and travel accessories (pouches, airline pillows, luggage tags) can also live in a bin on the shelf right above the suitcases."

5. Label Your Bins

Put the items you're keeping back into your closet with care, thinking intentionally about how to group items together and how often you'll be reaching for them, Roser says. Not sure what should go where?

"Start by using the prime real estate (your eye level) to put away the items you grab for most often," Tori Cohen of Tori the Organizer says.

Consider who else will be accessing this closet space, too.

"Personalizing spaces for you and your family’s lifestyle is always a good idea," Meredith Goforth of House of Prim says. "There are endless ways you can customize during this step of the process—from shelves, hooks, bins, zones, cubbies, and more. The best solution for your closet will depend on the type of items you’re storing and how frequently they are used."

Then, make your bins work for you, labeling everything which will help you stay organized in the weeks to come, Roser says. That said, keep in mind that not every item needs to live inside of a bin or box.

"It's important to remember that bins make some items harder to see and use," Cohen says. For example, winter gear can easily live in over the door shoe organizers, Monroe says.

Storing tall cleaning supplies in the closet? Monroe recommends a "wall-mounted tool organizer" to hold anything from a mop to a broom so they don't fall and limit your access to the shelves.

6. Maintain Your Setup

You've spent time making what was once a chaotic closet space look great, so make an effort to keep it that way.

"After using something, put it back immediately," Roser says. "And this is simple to do because everything has a ‘home’ in the closet."