Robin lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has three children and loves to share her tips and tricks for staying organized.
Tips for Organizing Your Closet Cheaply
We recently moved to SF from San Luis Obispo and went from a large walk-in closet and individual closets for our daughters to only two small closets for the whole family. I am a pretty organized person in general, but this wasn't easy. My husband is a big guy too, and his clothes take up a ton of room. Needless to say, I made a bunch of trips to The Container Store. My Aunt Marlie, the most organized person I know, says that everything has its home. Here are a few helpful hints to find the right home for your things:
1. Give Items Away
Go through your closet every six months, and if you haven't worn it, and it's not seasonal or special occasion, give it away. There are great organizations to donate clothes out there too, and someone else will wear them. I had never missed an item that I had given away, even when I thought I might. You will feel so refreshed to have a pared-down closet that is manageable.
2. Buy All Matching Hangers
I have wood ones from Target. They look uniform and keep my clothes looking nice, and they are not too expensive ($25 for 30 hangers—what a deal!). I use the clamped pant hangers for my jeans and pants. If you don't want to spend as much money, you can buy white plastic hangers, and you'll still have a uniformed look. Once you have all of the matching hangers, color-coordinate your clothes. It will be much easier to find that one black top if all your black tops are together. The hangers for belts and other accessories are also a good space saver.
3. Install a Double Hanging Bar
I love this for my closet because it doubles your space. It basically gives you two bars about 3 feet apart to hang your clothes. I have all of my tops on the closet bar and all of my skirts and pants on the second bottom bar. There still is enough room on the bottom, but not for dresses.
4. Purchase Shoe Racks
There are basically four types of shoe organizers: floor shoe storage, hanging shoe storage, over-the-door shoe storage, and shoe boxes. I use the over-the-door shoe organizers and the shoeboxes for other purposes (see below). I’m not too fond of the shoe boxes because it takes too much time to find the shoes, take them out of the box, and put them away. I prefer floor storage for the easiest access and efficiency.
Resist the temptation to throw your shoes in your closet and close the door. It ends up taking more time because you can never find the right shoes. I use the hanging shoe storage in the girls' room for art supplies and toys. I label clear shoe boxes and put their things in them.
5. Purchase Drawer Organizers
These are a must, in my opinion, especially for my kids. I have underwear and sock drawer organizers on the top shelf of my chest of drawers. My sock/underwear drawer used to be a disaster. I couldn’t keep things folded or find what I needed. Now it’s all organized and easier to keep organized.
My drawers with my shirts are organized by style, as is my drawer with scarves and hats. You can buy separators for these drawers, but I haven’t yet. Now for my kids, I was having the hardest time keeping their drawers straight because their clothes are so small, and usually, I’m in a rush when I am getting them dressed. So I purchased 20 shoe boxes from the container store and took all of their clothes out of their drawers. I organized them by style (short sleeve onesies, long-sleeved onesies, shorts, pants, underwear, socks, etc.), neatly folded them, and organized them into the boxes. It really helps to keep things straight. I leave the lids off of the boxes.
6. Plastic Bins
We didn’t have any room for my sweaters, so I bought rolling drawer-style plastic bins to go under my bed. Although they’re not extremely convenient and a bit spendy, they work. I organized my sweaters by color in the drawers. We also put them in our closet where there is deep shelving because I knew we’d lose our clothes in the very back. We can pull out the drawer and see all the way in the back.
7. Clear Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer
My friend Kimberly Hett introduced me to this concept. She had used a clear-over-the-door shoe organizer for her son’s hats, socks, and shoes. It’s a great way to see what you need and grab it while you’re on the go. I highly recommend it.
If you are willing to spend more money, the Elfa system from The Container Store or companies like California Closets can really help.
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on April 22, 2012:
Organizing is a challenge for me since we move every few years and my big & tall hubbie's clothes take up a lot of room. I'm glad you can sympathize with me! I just went through my clothing and almost got rid of everything I haven't worn in 6 months. That's a hard one sometimes! I have to be in a "throw away" mood. I love your idea of using clear shoe organizers for other things like hats and socks, too. Great ideas! Thank you!
MSKing on July 01, 2009:
Robin - these are all the rules I live by. If you stick to them there's an underlying system. Even if things slide you can always get them organized again easily.
BarbaraMay from Canada on February 09, 2008:
Hi Robin You HubPage Oldtimer,
This newbie shares many of your thoughts. I'm linking with you, so I won't have to write much about decluttering. Please visit me at the B. Bag.
On with the Cause!
Monique on July 05, 2006:
Love the site, Rob! Another idea for shoes which I have found works since I don't have a door to hang organizers..I have clear drawer boxes, where I throw my shoes in my style (Ex: black open toe, dressy closed toe, casual sandals, etc).