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How to Organize a Closet

Got an irrational fear of your closet? You're grown-up enough to know there's no boogeyman living in there, so you must be spooked by how disorganized it is. Summon up some courage and let's get to work.


  • Step 1: Empty closet Empty the closet. Take everything out and put it on a large, clean surface with enough room for you to move things around and create separate piles. The top of a bed or dining table is ideal.
  • Step 2: Separate winter & summer clothes Separate your winter clothes from your summer clothes. If you have a separate closet for each, that's great -- tackle each separately. If you don't, when it's time to put things back, divide the closet you have into two equal parts.
  • Step 3: Separate out frequently worn items Separate each set of seasonal clothing into two piles -- one consisting of items you wear frequently during that season and the other consisting of infrequently worn specialty items (like bathing suits or ski clothing).
  • TIP: This is an ideal time to sort through your clothing, try things on, and get rid of any old, unwanted, unworn, or unwearable items. Donate anything in good condition to a charity or thrift shop.
  • Step 4: Sort by style Sort both of the "frequently worn" groups into style categories -- put dress shirts with dress shirts, sweaters with sweaters, pants with pants, shoes with shoes.
  • Step 5: Group by color Within these separate style categories, group the individual items by color.
  • Step 6: Put groups in containers Once everything is sorted into groups, put each group into an appropriate container. Foldable items should be placed in large clear storage boxes or bins. Shoes go in clear plastic shoe boxes for easy identification.
  • Step 7: Rehang items Items that go on hangers should be shaken out and rehung.
  • TIP: Wire hangers don't keep clothes or closets very neat -- if you have any, throw them out and replace them with wooden or plastic ones. And put hanger strips on any that will hold slippery items like silk shirts.
  • Step 8: Return clothes to closet Start returning the groups to the closet one at a time. If it's summer, start with the winter items, and vice versa. Store out-of-season specialty items first, putting them deepest in the closet. Conversely, keep in-season items you wear most frequently toward the front.
  • Step 9: Step back & admire Step back, admire your organizational skills, and lay those irrational fears to rest.
  • FACT: Fearing invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century, the British press depicted him as a devil called "Boney," which eventually became "Bogey," which eventually became the dreaded Boogeyman.

You Will Need

  • A closet in need of organizing
  • A large
  • clean surface
  • Clear plastic storage boxes or bins
  • And clear plastic shoe boxes
  • New
  • non-wire hangers
  • New
  • non-slip hanger strips

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