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Organizing Your Closets

By Debbie Williams

---You have four storage choices: hang it, put it in a drawer, store it on the floor, or shelve it.

Getting Started: Gather several boxes labeled: To Keep, To Trash, To Sell, Undecided. Begin sorting. Don't try to find a place for everything until your items are sorted. Group your items by category: shirts, pants, shorts, tee shirts, jeans, sweats. Decide what will be folded, what will be placed on hangers, what will go into drawers.

By planning wisely during your sorting process, you have eliminated the need for many storage items. Use what you have around the house, then buy specific sizes for the articles you need to organize.

Up off the floor!! Use multilevel rods for hanging items. Bins and shelf dividers keep folded items stacked. They are inexpensive to buy and can usually be found in discount stores or home stores. The time you save sorting through things on the floor or in drawers for purses and accessories will be well worth the small investment. This will not only free up valuable drawer space, but can eliminate the need for chest of drawers altogether.

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Use hangers for ties and belts, cubbies for shoes and purses (cover divided grocery store boxes from wine bottles or detergent bottles), hanging organizer or fishing box for jewelry. Hooks for caps, bags, umbrellas and purses keep things in sight for quick retrieval. When organizing your closet, keep all blouses together. Sort by color, casual or dressy, long sleeved or short sleeved. Do the same for skirts, dresses, slacks and jeans. If you maintain this system, you can tell at a glance what article of clothing you need before you go shopping. (You may also find you already have four white blouses and don't really need another one!)

A hanging storage closet system purchased at home stores and discount stores is a great portable alternative to built-in organizers. These hook over your closet rod and have multiple milk crates suspended below. If you live in an apartment or base housing, or just move frequently, this is a cost effective solution to shelving and cubbies. For kid's closets, hang these on a lower rod, then move to a higher rod as they grow.

Hanging organizers with clear plastic divided pouches organize and display at the same time. These come with small pockets for jewelry or larger sizes for shoes, pantyhose, scarves, etc. I've used them in lieu of junk drawers for office supplies.

Shoe bags can be found at dollar stores, and the smaller ones are in mail order catalogs or home furnishing stores.

Don't forget the door! Use over the door organizers such as laundry bags, book racks, ironing boards, utility racks (good for storing tapes, CDs, cleaning supplies) and coat racks. If you can hook it, you can hang it. These are great space savers.

These are just a few suggestions for organizing closets. Use the basic principles of closet organizing for each closet in your home: linen, clothes, coat, craft. By containing clutter, you'll find yourself well on the way to becoming a bit more organized.

© Debbie Williams
Debbie Williams is an organizing strategist and parent educator who offers tools and training to help you put your house in order. She is the author of "Put Your House In Order". Learn more at


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