Give Your Closet a Makeover

Do the glossy photos of super-organized closets in decorating magazines make you long for some order in your own home? Surprisingly, it’s not that difficult to transform a messy closet into a picture-perfect—and functional—space. These closet organization tips make it easy. Hint: The less stuff you have, the simpler it is to organize.

Pare down your collection. Start by removing everything from your closet and making three piles—keep, donate, and toss. The toss pile is for anything that’s damaged or too worn out to pass on to a charitable group. Be ruthless in your editing. If you haven’t worn something in over a year, donate or toss.

Do a spot check. When you know what you’re keeping, inspect each garment carefully under a bright light for any stains. If it’s clean, it can go back in the closet. If there’s a stain—and the garment’s safe to launder—remove the spill with a liquid detergent.

Create some order. Sort the items you’re keeping by category (short-sleeve blouses, long-sleeve button-downs, sundresses, pants, skirts, etc.), then by color. Invest in slim hangers covered in a nonslip fabric. Cramming your clothing in the closet prevents air from circulating and can lead to wrinkling. And don’t hang your sweaters, which can lose their shape; stack them by color or texture on shelves, keeping the stacks eight to 10 inches high to prevent toppling. Consider investing in a shoe rack too.

Accessorize. Whether you’ve got a walk-in wonderland or barely enough room for a second clothing bar, your closet is one of the most important “rooms” in your house. So have some fun with it! Paint the interior a bright color or add wallpaper to the back wall. Attach decorative hooks for hanging belts, fabric bins for storing scarves, and powder-coated handbag divider bars for keeping purses in order. If you have room, add a boldly printed throw rug or a hang a cork “inspiration” board for displaying photos of outfits you love. You’ll smile every time you open the door.