The Cleverest Ways You Never Thought to Organise Your Messy Closet

The Cleverest Ways You Never Thought to Organise Your Messy Closet
Image: Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images, Getty Images

If you feel a mild surge of defeat every time you enter your closet — clothes on the floor, not enough space, unpacked boxes — we see you. In addition to the old standbys of installing shelves and putting out-of-season clothes in labelled bins until you need them again, behold these simple storage hacks that can instantly change how your closet looks and feels.

Use a bookcase

So basic, yet so functional. Use an IKEA bookcase (or more, depending on available space) to create a wonderland of open cubbies. Keep the clothes that are in season at eye level, and those that you don’t need for a few months on the bottom shelves. It’s an efficient, inexpensive way to organise clothes and actually see them.

Use shower curtain hooks

Want to get more bang out of your hangers? Fasten shower curtain hooks to them. The types of hooks that close are ideal to loop your scarves through; open-ended hooks are fantastic resting places for belts or tank tops (for easier removal). Be sure to keep this hanger at the end of your closet rod, for easier visibility and functionality.

Use soda tab hangers

You know those moments when you see something so simple and effective that you’re immediately baffled how you never thought of it yourself? This is one of those times. By looping a soft drink can tab around the hook of a metal hanger, you can then place a second metal hanger in the open slot of the tab, thus creating a not gorgeous — but amazingly cheap and effective way to hang more clothes in the same space. (Not a soft drink drinker? No problem. The tab from any can will do.)

Use wine box dividers

Need to organise a bunch of shoes in a small space? Then save the wine box dividers from your next big trip to the liquor store (or simply ask at your grocery store, they may have extras they’re willing to part with). Insert the dividers into a basket or storage tub, and voila — you suddenly have multiple small compartments in which to store shoes. (This can also work for a sports-centered shelf or basket. Each divider can hold a cleat, shin guards, rolled up sports jerseys, those long soccer socks, even a water bottle that you’re teaching a child is their responsibility to fill before practice.)

Use a pegboard for jewellery

What works wonders in your garage can also save you frustration in your closet. Rather than fishing through mounds of knotted necklace chains and bottomless pits of bracelets, attach a pegboard to your closet wall, attach “J-shape” pegboard hooks, and watch your jewellery detangling headaches disappear. See here to imagine the possibilities.

Turn your hangers after wearing something

We’re all trying to cut down on extraneous clothes and maximise our space, right? One trick to help you decide what makes the cut is to turn the hanger and hang it in the opposite direction after you wear the clothing on it. Twice a year, do a closet audit and any hanger that hasn’t changed directions is a strong candidate for donation.

Hang your bags

Sure, you could have a motley assortment of handbags, totes, and satchels stashed haphazardly in various closets throughout the house (*points to self*). Or, you could aggregate them in one spot, hang them on your clothing rod using S hooks, and never wonder where that darn white wristlet is again.

Store your shoes in opposite directions

If that shoe shelf is getting crowded, one way to fit another pair is to store the two shoes of each pair facing in opposite directions. For example, place the left shoe with the toe facing the wall, and the right shoe with the toe facing out to seal up any empty space and squeeze in another pair.

Use all the wall space

What’s the back of your closet door doing for your closet? What about the wall space under, or over the curtain rod? Nothing? Well, it’s time to put them to work. Install a towel bar on any unused space and use it as a personalised accessory hanging station. Affix shower curtain hooks, S hooks, or even a shower basket to hold belts, socks, caps, craft supplies, handheld games, and whatever else you’d like to never see on your floor again. It’s not California Closets, but it’s a damn fine start.

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