Closet Organizing Strategies: Clear Clutter and Clean out Old Clothes

Got an overstuffed closet or two in desperate need of a fresh start? Try these tips for a thorough cleanout

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A well organized closet makes effective use of small spaces

Don’t let spring-cleaning season slip by without tackling at least one of those overstuffed closets – just follow these simple steps to organizing zen.


Clear Clutter

Before you start, take everything out and decide what you can throw away or donate to free up space. If you haven’t worn something or thought about it in six months, it needs a new home.

Divide and Conquer

Dedicate each part of the closet to a different category of clothing or accessories. This makes things easy to find. Organizing by colour can also make a closet look and feel better.

Use Custom Organization Solutions

Choose specific storage for each item, rather than a whole-closet solution. Several manufacturers – Ikea and Rubbermaid, for example – offer modular lines of matching shelves, slots, hooks and cubbies to tailor your storage to your stuff.

Maximize Shelf Space

If your closet has shelves, use dividers, rubber bins, wicker boxes or cardboard containers (with labels or photos of what’s inside) to keep them tidy. If not, consider adding some hanging shelves – these usually attach to the rod with Velcro or buttons.

Clean out Hangers Too

Control your hanger population. Get rid of old, bent, out-of-use hangers – they’re a source of clutter and they get tangled. Plastic or wooden hangers are more durable and look neater than wire. Also consider special-purpose hangers for pants, skirts, ties and handbags. These group and layer similar items for easy access.

Use Empty Spaces Effectively 

Use the entire closet. If you have a bunch of empty space between your top shelf and the ceiling, install more shelves or hooks up top. Add a low rod that’s about half the length of the upper rod for shorter-hanging items. Mount shoe storage or multi-use hangers on the back of the door and fill open spots on the floor with categorized bins. Wall-mounted racks and containers are another space-saving option.

Control Closet Bugs

While you’re reorganizing, banish moths and bugs with cedar fresheners, or satchels of fragrant herbs like lavender and rosemary. Into DIY? Fill old socks or hose with a blend of cedar shavings and dried herbs, then tie them to hangers and tuck them into drawers.  

Get Help for Big Cleanout Jobs 

A quick Web search brings up hundreds of closet specialists, but beware: their services can be pricey. Think about what you need. If it’s a top-to-bottom overhaul, Google away, but if you just need a bit of planning assistance, book an hour with a professional organizer or an interior designer.