Since they have doors that close, closets can quickly become a catchall for items that aren’t frequently used.
While it’s convenient to have a place to store clothes, linens and tools, organizing each closet to fit a purpose will help bring order – and more space – to your home.
To make the most of any closet, start by evaluating the contents.
“Get to the root of the problem,” said Bridges Conner, founder and owner of Get Organized with Bridges and Company, based in Phoenix. “If a closet isn’t functioning, everything has to come out, and then be put back in so it functions how you need it to.”
Follow these steps to maximize the space of every closet in your home.
1. Make the clothes closet functional.
Start by moving clothes that are out of season, or no longer fit, out of the main area of your closet.
Also toss the boxes for items like shoes and purses.
“All too often, the boxes end up scattered everywhere, empty for months at a time,” said Lauren Williams, owner of Casual Uncluttering, LLC, in Woodinville, WA.
Hang clothes you regularly wear in plain view. If you have long coats or dresses, consider putting hanging bars higher.
“Then you might have room for some shoe racks below,” Williams said.
To keep shelves orderly, consider adding bins or shelf dividers for sweaters, purses, or extra shoes.
“Size your storage to your items,” said Williams. “It is an ineffective use of space to use a 52-gallon storage bin for one pair of shoes, even Givenchy.”
On the inside of the door, a hanging jewelry organizer can hold earrings, necklaces and bracelets in place. Add hooks or pegs to store caps, belts or scarves.
2. Know the purpose of your utility closet.
“Define the space as to what it needs to serve,” said Conner. For instance, perhaps you use the utility area for pantry items as well as laundry goods.
It might make sense to add some tools, added Conner. Light bulbs, electrical cords or other gadgets might be a good fit as well.
If your utility closet serves the laundry room, keep detergent and dryer sheets at eye level. Items you use less often can be stored on higher shelves.
3. Utilize each inch of a walk-in closet.
“Walk-in closets have lots of space that is not optimized,” said Angelica Holiday, founder of Organize Rescue in Santa Monica.
If you have an open space, Holiday suggests adding a simple low dresser on the wall. In addition to the drawers, utilize the top of the dresser by adding a bowl for small items such as watches and wallets.
In areas where you hang shirts, pants or skirts, consider adding another hanging rod below the top rod.
Extra purses, accessories and clothing can be stored above on shelves.
If possible, limit the walk-in closet to your wardrobe and accessories, added Holiday. Take out luggage or other items that could be better stored in other areas.
4. Make the coat closet easy to use.
In the coat closet, keep items that are appropriate for the season. If you live in an area that has a long stretch of warm months, store any winter coats, hats and gloves in a different area until you need them.
Then as the season changes, adjust the closet’s contents.
“If you have closet shelves, purchase several baskets,” said Ev Greenberg, owner of R-Cubed in Wilmette, IL. “This is an excellent way to corral smaller items like hats and gloves.”
Make sure basket sizes fit on the shelves and are big enough to hold the items.
“Another option is to use shelf dividers,” said Greenberg, “These easily slip onto a shelf and divide into various compartments.”
If you have small children, consider adding hooks or another rod for their jackets and sweaters. This way, everyone can grab the needed items at the right time.
5. Bring neatness to a linen closet.
If items are jumbled in a linen closet, start by emptying the contents and sorting. Then fold towels, sheets, and blankets. You’ll be able to see the space each of these categories needs, and place them in the closet accordingly.
“Make sure you put your less frequently used items in the harder to reach areas,” said Greenberg, “Items that you use daily should be readily accessible.”
Top shelves might work well for extra pillows, comforters and other bulky items. Place these items in bags before storing to keep them clean and dust-free.
For maximum efficiency utilize the vertical space, added Conner. If you keep your ironing board in the linen closet, consider hanging it on the door if there’s room. Store the iron on a shelf, along with any other sprays or ironing accessories you regularly use.