How to Organize Clothes in a Closet

For many kids and adults alike the bedroom closet quickly starts to “function” as that little room that hides the mess in the regular room. But when that happens, the closet becomes a disaster area, and your days become that much more frazzled. There might be a shirt you wanted to wear that you swore was in the closet somewhere, but when you need it all you can find are those jeans from 1993 that haven’t fit you since 1999.

In your daughter’s closet you might be looking for that pretty dress you bought last month so she can wear it to a family gathering, and you finally discover it’s stuck against a wall behind the snow suit she hasn’t worn in four months. And finding her dress shoes? Yep, good luck.

But clothes closet organization has little if anything to do with luck. The real key is planning and setting goals and guidelines so you can prove to yourself that you know how to organize clothes in a closet. To begin with you will want to

  • Start with what you need
  • Keep frequently used or casual clothes handy
  • Keep occasionally used or special items special

When you start to organize clothes closet, the first step is always to get rid of what you don’t need.

Go Weeding 

Weeding through your closet and deciding what to keep, toss, or donate can be an emotional mixed bag, but it is an essential part of clothes closet organization. Before you start, make sure you have set aside a good portion of time to work on clothes closet organization, or you will defeat the purpose.

Take everything out of the closet and start designating which things you want to keep, throw away, or donate or sell. This will give you at least three piles, and only one of the piles will wind up going back to the main area of the closet. Once you have weeded through everything, bring everything that isn’t in the “keep” pile somewhere else. You can think about it later, when the closet is done.

Identify Function 

Clothes serve many purposes. There’s work/school clothes, play clothes, pajamas, accessories, shoes, wraps, and special occasion only clothes. Some people might also have a “dream clothes” category — things you hope you’ll use, but haven’t for one reason or another. Each category demands a different level of accessibility. which may vary between you and your child. For example, your child might need faster access to play clothes than you do.

Think Convenience

Functionality changes with seasons as well — the snow suit needs to be handy in January, not so much in July. You’ll want to rate the need for accessibility of each “pile” on a scale from 1-10. A “1″ means you use it all the time, a “10″ is out of season or unusable for the next three months or more. A special occasion dress might rate about a 7, those comfy jeans are a 1 or 2.

When you start putting things away, start with the higher numbers. It is these items that can go on the higher shelves and can even be stored in vacuum sealed bags that remove extra air and take up less space, making it easier to keep highly used items in reach.

Develop and Enforce Rules

Once you’ve figured out how to organize clothes in a a closet, the next challenge is to keep them that way. That means giving yourself more guidelines to follow. For example, having a specific place to place shoes, or hanging foldable cubbies from your child’s clothes rod where outfits are stored for the week are both things that will keep clothes from being scattered or hard to find.

You can also make rules about how to handle clothes that don’t fit or aren’t worn. Chances are, the clothes that are worn most of the time is a small fraction of what is actually owned. Some suggest hanging the clothes with the hangers pointing one direction, but after washing, put the hangers in the other direction. If something isn’t worn in a year, it’s time to toss or donate. For growing kids, having an extra “too tight” hamper will keep you from coming across clothes that no longer work.

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