One closet, two lives? It’s a challenge but no impossible feat. Since no closet is exactly alike, we have surefire strategies, tested tools, and foolproof solutions that make organizing a stylish cinch.
Use Floor Space Creatively
1. Shoes aren’t the only things that can live on the floor. Take advantage of basement real estate with clutter-busting catchalls. Her baskets store hair accessories; his compartments keep ties and belts in easy reach.
Divide and Conquer
2. Distance can be a good thing; you both need a personal area so your dry cleaning and same-hued clothes don’t merge into one unisex mess. Don’t have built-in boundaries like our closet? Create your own zones by hanging damask drapes or decorative beads.
Make Room for Yours, Mine, and Ours
3. Closed storage keeps the closet well-dressed. Use overhead space for off-season items. Prevent confusion by labeling boxes “his” and “hers.” The “ours” box in the middle? That’s really hers too.
Obey the “Two Box” Rule
4. There is no room for avalanches in any closet, so stick to this trusty rule of thumb: Never stack more than two boxes high so that you are able to hold one storage container while sifting through the other.
Double Your Hanging Space
5. Squeeze more storage space by adding a double rod if your closet is deep enough. Measure the clothes you'll be hanging and allow another six inches of clearance.
6. Adjustable shelves evolve with your changing wardrobe.
Measure Your Space
7. We had one foot between the ceiling and shelf. These seven-inch high LINGO boxes from IKEA were the perfect fit. $6 for two, ikea.com for stores.
Not Just for Socks!
8. This drawer organizer works just as well for ties and belts too! $17, containerstore.com.
Claim an Open Area
9. Claim an open middle area for items that you use on a daily basis. In our closet, he has a shelf for weights while she has a hub for perfume and jewelry.
10. Velvety pads on these super-slim Huggable Hangers keep your clothes in perfect condition and create more space. Joy Mangano Huggable Hangers, $20 for set of 20, hsn.com.
Clear and Present
11. In over your head with a collection of heels, flats, and flip-flops galore? The answer is finally crystal clear with these see-through shoe drawers. They stack securely with a simple click, and the drawer-like design lets you swap shoes without all the fuss. Crystal Clear oversized shoe drawer, $12, organize.com.
Proof is in the Pile
12. This tool keeps stacks perfect. Acrylic shelf divider, $15, organize.com.
Heels on Wheels
13. A new approach to keeping about 30 pairs in order. Silver shoe wheel, $65, rakkudesigns.com
In the Bag
14. Have empty wall space? A bag rack keeps all your accessories in line. (Hang it at eye level.) Timbro expanding coat rack, $14, organize.com
To Have and to Fold
15. Cheat with this FlipFOLD Laundry Folder, $20, containerstore.com
Step 1: Open shirt facedown
Step 2: Start with right shoulder and crease half of the side of the sweater over and bend arm backward to make a V-shape.
Step 3: Repeat the process with left shoulder.
Step 4: Fold from the bottom up to the center once or twice depending on length.
16. Give an old shoe bag a new purpose: Turn it into a centralized household hub for spare bulbs, batteries, flashlights, and cleaning products. Up top is for heavier necessities like extension cords.
17. Multiple compartments in this over-the-door holder host linen and laundry room essentials. Store stain sticks, dryer sheets, and scissors (the items you grab most often) in the middle area so they’re accessible. To find a similar style, check out stacksandstacks.com.
18. Lavender is the new cedar. Its longer-lasting aroma leaves a fresh scent while deodorizing the fabric. $8, loccitane.com
Hang as Much as You Can
19. Fold it:
Delicate garments, especially those with beading Fold it:
Cashmere (anything)Hang it:
Blouses and dress shirts Hang it:
Fold but be sure to align the seams to avoid that ‘80s crease down the middle switch out your winter wardrobes and get that heavy stuff out of your packed closet!
20. This vacuum-sealed storage solution will protect all your items from dirt, odor, and moisture. It also can triple your storage space. All you need is a vacuum and voilà! Space Bag vacuum-seal storage bags, $9, spacebag.com
21. Before putting anything away for the season, make sure they are cleaned and any broken zippers or holes are repaired. The last thing you need when it comes time to wear the winter gear is to pull out a coat and realize some of its buttons are missing.
Apply the two-for-one rule: Buy one new blouse; toss two other pieces. Then determine what you’ll do with your unwanted clothes:
22. Check with local churches, hospitals, and women’s shelters in your area. Or donate to national organizations like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Dress for Success, and The Glass Slipper project. Make sure to keep your receipts to earn a tax deduction.
23. Bring like-new pieces to consignment shops, sell them at online auctions like ebay.com, or go to quickdrop.com where they can sell your eBay items for you.
24. Before bringing any new clothing in, check out online sites like swapstyle.com and freecycle.org which let you refresh your wardrobe by exchanging your items.
25. Clothes with stains, holes, and other damages shouldn’t be sold or donated. Go ahead and toss ’em.
Style Your Space
There are no rules against applying your sense of decorating to the smallest area of the house. It might not end up looking like this one, but that’s all the more reason to spruce it up.
A Coat of Color
26. Paint one wall, all of them, or just add some stripes. The closet really deserves a pretty pick-me-up.
27. Little touches can make a big impact. Decorative knobs or antique coatracks can add some stylish and chic sensibility.
28. Add a rug for a comfy and fluffy foundation for your feet. Remember to measure the space before you buy to figure out what would be the ideal size for your closet.
Let There Be Light
29. For major wow factor, hang a pendant or chandelier. If you want to keep the elaborate stuff for the dining area, you’ll still need an adequate light source. Consider using low-voltage lighting, which is the most energy efficient option.
Let There Be Light
30. A mirror keeps you from leaving the house looking like fashion roadkill and expands your space. The ideal size is a full-length one, and the optimum place to hang it is on a door or bare wall.
You can go green in the closet too. Seriously. Just put a little more effort and energy into organizing. Here are five ideas to get an organic head start:
31. Prevent mildew, moisture, and nasty smells with all-natural cedar aroma balls. $7 for set of 40, stacksandstacks.com
32. This colorful hamper controls clothes, chaos, and is totally recyclable. Flip-Flop bins, $135 for set of two, vivaterra.com
33 Try storing all those heels and flats in a natural way. Cedar double-shoe rack and topper, $35, gaiam.com
34. Give your clothes a little more hang time with bamboo hangers. Bamboo hangers, $68 for set of 25, bgreenhangers.com
35 What lies beneath can also be completely au natural. Step it up with eye-catching eco-flooring. Terra, $13 per tile, flor.com