What’s behind your closet door? Are there neat piles of folded sweaters and orderly rows of shoes? Or do you have a single, straining closet rod filled with squished clothing and one shelf filled with toppling stacks of sweaters and t-shirts?
Most of us like the sound of the first scenario but live with the second. With so many affordable closet organizing options nowadays it is easier than you think to upgrade your closet to scenario number one no matter what the size.
You know I have been purging all the rooms in my house and finished the task with my basement over the winter. Well around this time of year I like to do it in my clothes closet. It is not really a full purge, but more like a swap-a-roo. Since clothing needs air and space to keep it looking its best, I use one side of my guest room closet to hold my off-season clothes. I always get excited to make the change and see some of my seasonal favorites become part of my life again.
In the summer months I like the easy breezy look and feel of linen and make room for a few new pieces every year.
This year, I added J.Jill’s oversized linen kimono top and slim cropped pants. I treat pink like a more romantic alternative to versatile white; it works well with black and my white jean skirt I wear all summer long: quick over the head and I am out the door. Easy and breezy. No buttons to fuss with, just the perfect outfit for summertime travel, day tripping as well as trips to the farmer’s market. Ed took this photo of me when we were in NYC a few weeks ago.
How I Organize My Closet
In the fall and spring, I empty everything out of my closet and toss or donate the items I no longer want. The rest gets divided by season. Out-of-season items go to one side of my guest room closet.
In-season clothes go to the walk-in closet in my bedroom. This photo shows my side. The other side is Ed’s. The closet doesn’t have pretty wallpaper or a chandelier, but it is highly organized. I refitted my side many years ago with a DIY closet system called Easy Track. Ed’s side has a long dresser that fits perfectly on his side so all of his clothing is in the closet. My dresser for lingerie, socks, bathing suits, shorts, Pj’s and jewelry is in my bedroom.
I have a double rod system in the closet, but you don’t need a closet organizing system to do this or any DIY skills. Home stores sell affordable hanging rods that fit over existing rods to create a double rod… literally in an instant. They are ingenious.
- There is a reason wire hangers are free…they are basically worthless. If you want to prolong the life of your clothes, don’t keep them on wire hangers. Use more substantial hangers that will maintain the shape of your garments. I use the clear style hanger that retail stores use to hang most everything. I use clip-on skirt hangers for jeans and skirts. I use padded hangers for my sweaters and a few plastic hangers to which I add pipe cleaners to stop silky tops from slipping off.
Before I place the current season’s clothes back in the closet, I wipe down all surfaces with a fresh smelling cleaner and vacuum the floor.
Then the fun part begins.
I recently added the large pink boxes for hats, scarves, handbags, and other items I don’t use much but can’t part with. They are from IKEA. Labeling each box helps me know what I have at a glance. It also keeps me organized for the long run since I know exactly where to find or place everything after I wear it.
How to make the labels, click here Decorative Free Printable Labels
For more free and easy label ideas, check out all the Free Printable Labels in my Project Gallery
I added wire baskets from IKEA to two of the shelves to hold my exercise clothes which consist of leggings and t-shirts. Labels help me keep them organized. If I have to hunt for it, I will probably never wear it.
I wear scarves all year round since they give even the simplest wardrobe a shot of chic. I use large ones as pareos in the summer. I roll them up and place them in this basket.
The white plastic stacking shoe racks were a find years ago at a discount store. They work great for the amount of shoes I have and fit nicely under the clothes hanging from the rod above.
I like using see-through storage containers for my shoes so that I can see what I have at a glance. I use dollar store bins to hold my shoes. I label each with a description of the shoes that are inside. This keeps them organized so I will be a “shoe-placer” not a “shoe-tosser-to-the-floor” kind of girl :-)
I have a lot of flip-flops and sandals. To save on space, I store sandals toe to heel in the boxes so I can fit three pairs in one box. I keep them categorized and labeled by color.
I reserve the center floor under the wire baskets for the shoes I wear often.
Add a Valet Hook
To help me coordinate my favorite pieces when creating new outfit combinations, I have a “Valet Hook” on the outside of my closet door.
- I use a large white “no-damage” style hook since the door is a hollow-core door.
The hook comes in handy to simply hang clothes I plan to wear.
When I worked in retail display I oftentimes had to coordinate separate items of clothing into stylish outfits to display on the end caps of the racks to help shoppers see the coordinating potential of the clothes on the rack.
- I tied one end of a 12″- long piece of ribbon to the hook part of the hanger with a loop to fall at the end of the ribbon. This loop was to hang a second hanger for a skirt of pair of pants. This way a skirt/pants could be seen just they would when worn.
Doing this helps me plan outfits for parties, vacations or my workday.
- I wish my closet had natural light, but then it would just fade my clothes. I have a 100-watt bulb in a simple overhead fixture to light the space now. I plan to show you in an upcoming post how a simple light bulb switch can remove the yellow cast it gives my clothes.
Do you find yourself rummaging through your closet every morning trying to find what to wear? If so, try this:
- Make an Inspiration Board for the inside of your closet door. Pin outfits you clip from magazines or catalogs that you like and are coordinated in a way you want to try. Go a step further and when you pair two items, write it down on paper and pin to your board so you can repeat it without forgetting.
I have had the scarf tying book since college. It has many ideas that I always seem to forget. Having it handy makes it easy to come up with a new way to tie a scarf as I am getting dressed.
How to Make a Style Inspiration Board for Your Closet
- (2) dollar store foam boards
- straight edge ruler
- spray adhesive
- clear duct tape
1. Measure opening on the back of the frame and cut two pieces of foam board to this size. Leave a 1/8″ short all around so when you add fabric, the foam will still fit snugly into the frame. You need two pieces of foam for thickness and stability.
2. Use spray glue to attach the two foam boards together to create one thick board.
3. Lay fabric face down on work surface. If there is a pattern on your fabric, make sure it is centered before cutting. Center foam board on top. Cut fabric so you have enough to wrap around to the back of the board on all sides.
4. Wrap fabric around board and secure with duct tape to the back of the board. Repeat on all sides making sure to pull the fabric taut as you tape it to the back.
I store my jewelry in a simple jewelry box in one of the top drawers of my dresser.
I organize it by type. This new two-toned hammered metal bracelet stack will find its place with my other bracelets.
More clothes closet organizing ideas:
- Make more room in your closet by storing out-of-season clothes in boxes, under the bed or in another room.
- Treat your closet like your favorite clothes shop. Keep items categorized on rods – shirts, pants, skirts, jackets, etc.
- Keep items visible. If you don’t see it, you won’t wear it.
- Organize in a way that works for you and your budget. The dollar store has many budget-friendly closet organizers.
- If you have the room, consider adding a chest of drawers to the closet. Everything in one place.
- Hang a mirror on a nearby door or wall.
- Use matching hangers so the rod looks visually appealing – just like your favorite clothing boutique.
- Tie a satin bow on all your hangers to create harmony in your closet.
Ultimately when your closet is well organized and your clothes are in sync with your personal style, you should be able to walk into your closet blindfolded and pull out any shirt, pant, jacket, and shoes and walk out looking and feeling great!
This post was created as a collaboration with J. Jill. Thank you for supporting the brands that support In My Own Style. As always, all of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are 100% my own.