1. Bedroom closets— clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry
2. Storage closets— memories, holiday decorations
3. Utility closets— household supplies, cleaning supplies
4. Coat closets— coats, shoes, sports equipment
5. Hobby/ craft closets
6. Toy closets— toys, games
7. Pantries— extra food, household supplies
8. Linen closets— bedding, towels
9. Small closets— bedroom, storage, utility
10. Walk-in closets— clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry
STEP 1 — Remove everything from your closet into a large, open area. If you don’t have a lot of space, use your bed.
STEP 2 — Sort contents into general categories of similar items— put all the tops in one pile, all the bottoms in another, and so on.
STEP 3 — Decide what general categories you’ll keep stored in your closet. Consider the clothes you wear the most and the storage space you have.
STEP 4 — Move anything that isn’t going back into your closet.
STEP 5 — Within each separated, general category, decide the items you’re going to keep, and the items you’re going to get rid of.
STEP 6 — Deep clean the interior of your closet.
STEP 7 — Moving by category, designate a space in your closet for each general category, and allocate your most accessible hanging and shelf storage, to the things you use most.
STEP 8 — Determine if there’s anything you need to buy to complete your closet organization— organizing bins,
extra shelves or another hanging rod, shoe racks, a jewelry organizer?
STEP 9 — Remind yourself where you put everything by labeling each category with a sticky note. This will help you
get adjusted to your new, fresh, and clean closet!
SORT STUFF INTO CATEGORIES AND SUBCATEGORIES
Sort stuff into broad categories and subcategories— for example, workout clothes is the broad category and workout tops is the subcategory.
QUESTION YOUR THINGS
Ask yourself, when was the last time you wore or used, the item in question. Would you choose something else over the item in question?
CONSIDER USE VS. ACCESSIBILITY
Store your most-used stuff where it’s the most accessible. For example, use high-hanging storage for offseason jackets, and accessible shelves for everyday jeans and t-shirts.
OPTIMIZE YOUR CLOSET, STORAGE SPACE
Optimize under-utilized space like wall space, the area above your top, closet shelf, the backs of doors, and the space under your hanging clothes.
Most closets have more vertical space, than horizontal storage space. For example, when putting away flat shoes (like flip-flops) we recommend standing them upright, rather flat on a surface, to use less horizontal space.
STORE SIMILAR STUFF TOGETHER
Store items used together, near each other. For example, keep your extra pillows next to your extra pillowcases, and your ski pants next to your ski coat.
STORE STUFF NEAR WHERE IT’S USED
Store things closest to where they’ll be used. For example, hang your car keys on a key rack, near your garage.
CONTAINERIZE SMALL THINGS
Contain small things, like jewelry or extra buttons, in small containers so that they don’t get lost.
1. A spinning shoe rack
2. A stationary shoe rack, either on the floor or on a shelf— a bookcase well works too!
3. A shoe organizing cubby, where each pair has its own compartment
4. A cloth, or plastic, shoe organizer hanging from a closet rod
5. A shoe organizer, hanging on the back of a door
6. Lined up on open, closet shelving
7. In baskets and bins, on shelves
FOLD THINGS INTO THE SAME SIZE
Fold your clothing so that like items are folded to the same size— you’ll optimize your storage space and your closet will also be more visually appealing!
HANG CLOTHES BY CATEGORY
Hang clothes by category, in the same direction, with the hangers pointing the same direction — streamlining your closet will help you easily navigate your closet, and quickly find your things.
DESIGNATE A HOOK FOR WORN, BUT CLEAN ITEMS
Designate a hook, or shelf, for items you’ve worn but aren’t dirty. Leave them here until you have a spare moment to hang, or fold them.
USE A LAUNDRY HAMPER
Purchase an attractive clothes hamper, with separate sections for light and dark clothes, and try to separate your clothing as you toss them in the hamper.
CHOSE A HOME FOR EVERYTHING
Designate a home for everything, and determine a system to return each thing to its home. If necessary, label where things go, so that putting things away is a simple matching game.
DESIGNATE AN AREA FOR IN-PROGRESS STUFF
Within your home, choose an area for in-progress things, like incomplete projects, returns, or errands.
Easy access to the things you use most, trumps everything else.
DON’T MOVE THINGS SEASONALLY
Rather than rotating your closet seasonally, organize your closet so that everything stays put, all year—you’ll save yourself time and confusion in-between seasons.
PLAN YOUR LAYOUT
When designing, specifically map out where each category (work clothes, workout clothing, etc.) of clothes, shoes, and accessories will be stored.
Check that the areas you’ve designated for each category, accommodate your current quantities, and will accommodate how your things will grow and change.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SPACE
Optimize every inch of space by using wall, floor, drawer, and hanging space in the most efficient manner.
CHECK DRAWER HEIGHTS
When designing drawers, keep them about 10” high— it’s the sweet spot that maximizes storage space for organization.
LEAVE SHELVES OPEN
Leave shelves open and flat for baskets, bins, stacks of folded clothes, and shoe racks.
Design built-in components that extend floor to ceiling, and wall-to-wall— this will create a clean line and will maximize your storage space.
INSTALL A LIBRARY LADDER
If your closet has high ceilings, or hard to reach upper storage, consider a rolling, library ladder to access upper storage.
SELECT CONSISTENT FINISHES
When selecting hardware, keep the finish consistent.
INSTALL DOUBLE RODS
Double rods will double your hanging space, without using more square footage.
ADD A POP OF COLOR
If you want to add some flavor to a typically understated space, paint the interior of your closet a fun color— it will make your clothing and shoes really pop.
CONSIDER STORAGE FURNITURE
If you need extra storage, consider furniture that serves dual purposes. For example, a storage bench that opens to store more shoes.
1. Utilize the backs of doors for additional storage— this is a great place for extra shoe storage, a hanging jewelry organizer, or hooks.
2. When organizing shoes on a shoe rack, organize pairs with one facing forward, and the other facing backwards—- you’ll eliminate the wasted space created when two shoes face the same direction.
3. Think vertically with your space. Your closet may have unused storage space above your top, closet shelf— which is the perfect place to organize extra shoes (especially tall boots) and suitcases.
4. Purchase a small, folding stool to access hard-to-reach upper shelves.
5. Maximize hanging storage by adding a second rod, below your existing rod.
6. Select furniture that serves multiple, functional purposes.
HOW DO YOU RECOMMEND ORGANIZING MY CLOSET— BY COLOR, STYLE, USE?
Do what works best for you. If you prefer to arrange your clothes by color, go for it! Whatever you chose, make sure the clothing you wear most is the easiest to access. For example, if you mostly wear jeans and t-shirts keep your jeans folded, on a front and center, open shelf, and your t-shirts hanging from your most accessible closet rod.
HOW DO I DISTINGUISH WHICH COATS SHOULD BE KEPT IN MY CLOSET, AND WHICH IN MY
Opposite to what people assume, we recommend keeping your everyday coats in your mudroom and your specialty coats in your bedroom closet. Most people grab their everyday coat on their way out, from their mudroom, rather than from their bedroom closet.
WHERE CAN I FIND KID-FRIENDLY, CLOSET, ORGANIZING PRODUCTS?
We love The Land of Nod, Pottery Barn Kids, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child, and The Container Store.
MY TALL, WINTER BOOTS DONT FIT ON MY SHOE RACKS, WHERE SHOULD I KEEP THEM?
If your closet has an upper shelf, it’s a great place to organize your tall shoes. If you don’t, or your closet is full, organize them in an organizing bin underneath your bed, or in an entry closet.
WHAT ARE SOME CHARITIES THAT COULD USE MY GENTLY WORN CLOTHING?
When donating used clothing, we recommend seeking out local, in need, 501C3 organizations. Your donation will directly improve your community and will be used by those in need, rather than sold for a profit. Yes, Goodwill and Value Village profit off of donations.
HOW SHOULD I STORE CLOTHING I RARELY WEAR BUT AM NOT READY TO PART WITH?
Store clothes you rarely wear out of reach, in the least accessible area of your closet. If you have super high, upper shelves, or an awkward, hard-to-reach, storage nook, keep your rarely worn clothing there.
“Using Alex and her services of organizing was life changing! It forced me to start going through piled up clutter and stuff that has been sitting around for years!”
“My closets literally look like something that you might find on Pinterest.”
“It is so freeing and feels so much lighter to be more organized and to get rid of stuff that I just don't need anymore. Could I have eventually done this on my own, maybe...but when would that be since stuff had been sitting for YEARS and we were able to go through things in a matter of a few days!”
“Great experience! Alex from Streamline Seattle was very professional, organized, and friendly.”
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