Closet Works
Closet Works Logo

Subscribe to this BLOG

Guide to Organizing Closets

Organizing closets with a new closet system.

Whether you're planning a complete closet remodel or just wondering how to make the most of what you have, this guide to organizing closets can help. Maximize your storage while making it easier to keep everything neat and tidy. Understand your choices and make the best decisions for your project.

Start with the Basics When Organizing Closets

The key to keeping your closet organized is having a dedicated place to keep each and everything you own. Once you have a place for everything, it is easier to keep things where they belong. If you're tight on space to start, keeping organized is even more important. A well-designed closet system can double your storage capacity, while making it easier to keep your home neat and tidy. Make sure you include the right amount of long-hang, medium-hang, and double-hang for your needs. Shelves for shoes and folded items are equally essential in the organized closet.

  • Center Your Design Around the 4 Basic Closet Components

    Short, medium and long garments organized in a closet
    This closet is simple in design but includes all the basic components for organized living. Double-hang for short garments is on the left. Medium-hang for shorter dresses, suits and more is in the center, and long-hang is on the right. Shelves for shoes and folded items are interspersed top and bottom. A single drawer is included for small items like underwear and accessories.

    Every closet is constructed from a few basic organizing components. Get the right number of these components in the proper proportions correct and you'll have come a long way towards getting your closet organized. The four basic building blocks of closet design are:

    1. Long-hang
    2. Double-hang
    3. Medium-hang
    4. Shelves
    Every bedroom closet needs to include all four elements in its design if it going to be effective. The amount of each will be determined by your individual wardrobe. Long-hang is usually the smallest section. Use it for long dresses, bathrobes, trench coats, etc. If you have a difficult to reach area behind the door, this is a good place to put your long-hang. You simply won't have as many long-hang garments or need to use them as often as the rest of your clothes. Medium-hang holds suits, shorter dresses, sport coats and blazers, while double-hang provides the space for shirts, blouses, and shorter items. Double hang is the biggest section of the closet for most people, but proportions could vary depending on whether you like to hang your pants by the cuff (requires medium-hang) or fold them over a hanger (use double-hang). Shelves should be included in every closet. Use them for shoes, hat boxes, and folded clothing. After you have taken care of your hanging needs, put as many shelves as you can fit into your design. No one can ever have enough shelves.

    Eliminate the hanging components in favor of more shelves if you are designing a pantry or other type of closet that is not intended for clothing.

  • Closet Drawers

    Organized closet drawer with divider for lingerie
    This closet drawer provides a place to store underwear inside the closet, eliminating the need for a separate dresser in the bedroom. The acrylic drawer divider prevents jumbling and keeps the lingerie organized.

    Drawers are a custom add-on to your basic closet design. They aren't absolutely necessary to achieving an organized closet. But they sure are a nice feature if you can manage to fit them into your space and budget. Drawers can organize small items that would get lost on a shelf. Use them for in-closet storage of jewelry, underwear, and small accessories. Make the drawers even more useful when you include one of the many drawer organizers designed for closets. Unfortunately, A drawer takes up the same space that might otherwise be used for shelves, so include them only if you have room. The cost of drawers can also quickly add up, but you may be able to eliminate the need for other furniture in the bedroom when you have closet drawers, reducing overall expense.

    Closet drawers with dividers for jewelry
    This closet drawer provides a place to organize and store a large jewelry collection inside the closet.
  • Cabinets

    Closet cabinets with pants storage
    This closet hides some seldom-used folded items and bags behind a mirrored cabinet door.

    Cabinets inside the closet are a good idea for several reasons. They conceal clutter in a closet that is also used as a dressing room, protect items that are expensive or seldom-used, and provide additional security by camouflaging your safe and similar items you'd like to keep hidden. Transform any hanging or shelving section of the closet into a cabinet by adding doors over the closet section. Although doors can be used on any of the four basic closet components, there are a couple of things to remember. Doors usually work better with floor-based closets than suspended. The vertical closet panels need to form a box around the closet section in order to accept a cabinet door. This is not always the case in the hanging sections of suspended closets. Also, when placing doors over a hanging section, you must use 20-inch deep panels. This is important to note because standard panel depth is only 14-inches. The 20-inch depth is needed so that the hangers can swing freely behind the closed cabinet door.

  • Large Built-Ins/Accessories

    Closet island, and vanity, and closet dresser
    Examples of a closet island, a built-in vanity, and a closet dresser. All three of these custom items are part of elaborate master closet dressing rooms.

    Larger closets have the opportunity to include big accessories. The largest closets are walk-ins that fill a room. Potential accessories include closet islands, closet dressers, and closet vanities. These items are all very popular with homeowners and provide good ROI at resale.

    1. Closet Islands are in everyone's dream closet. Like a kitchen island, they are the hub of the closet. Elaborate chandeliers are often centered above the closet island for dramatic effect. They usually contain many drawers, shelves, and storage for small items. The countertop can be used for displaying favorite accessories like jewelry as well as practical uses like charging a phone.
    2. Closet Vanities can turn any closet into a private dressing room. They are usually built into the closet system as part of a wall of storage and include both seating and a mirror. Use them for storing and applying makeup or fixing your hair.
    3. Closet Dressers are built-ins that take the place of freestanding dressers in the bedroom. Unlike bedroom furniture, they are attached to the closet wall and can't be moved. The advantage of a closet dresser is that all your clothes can be stored inside the closet. They also reduce the need for additional bedroom furniture, allowing your sleeping area to be simpler, more relaxing, and free of clutter.
  • Small Accessories

    Closet hampers, valet poles, and tie racks keep this closet organized.
    Pull-out hampers, telescoping valet poles, and a slide-out tie rack are among the many accessories that keep this closet organized.

    Even if you don't have a large space, you can still include organizing accessories to improve your closet. Essential accessories include racks and pull-outs, hampers, and hooks. Using these accessories can allow more items to be stored in a smaller space. They can help organize any size closet from the largest walk-in down to the tiniest reach-in closet.

    1. Racks and Pull-Outs include belt, scarf, and tie racks, pull-out baskets, sliding pant organizers, telescoping valet poles, and more. Any accessory that slides in and out like a drawer falls into this category. Use them to organize small accessories, especially if your closet doesn't have any drawers.
    2. Built-in Hampers are a closet accessory that is often overlooked. However, everyone needs a hamper for dirty clothes. The built-in variety provide the neatest appearance for the custom closet because the laundry remains hidden when the hamper is not in use. They are available in tilt-out and slide-out styles. Bags are removable so that clothes can be easily transported to the washing machine.
    3. Hooks can quickly become your favorite closet accessory. The grab-and-go convenience of keeping your everyday items on a hook rather than a hanger will quickly convert anyone into a believer in the power of closet hooks. Like shelves, you can never have too many. And they are not just for your jeans and bathrobe either. There are many specialty hooks for organizing all types of accessories including jewelry, belts, ties, and bags.

Are you ready to get started organizing closets in your home?

Organizing closets doesn't have to be hard. Start by laying out the basic closet components (long-hang, medium-hang, double-hang, shelves) in quantities according to your wardrobe needs. Then add drawers, cabinets, and the big accessories like closet islands, built-in dressers, and vanities. Small accessories like hooks and hampers come last but should be included in every closet — no matter the size. Follow these basic guidelines and you're sure to end up with an organized space that will serve your needs for years to come.