This master closet was transformed with the addition of custom-built shelving units. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Taatshing H.)
Your bedroom closet should contain things that you would use in your bedroom, including clothing and shoes. If you are organizing your child's bedroom closet, toys that are not frequently played with as well as old stuffed animals that your child doesn't want to get rid of can be stored in the closet.
If you have a lot of clutter in your closet, go through it and decide what types of items you will be keeping and which you will either sell or donate to charity. When deciding if you would like to keep an item, think of how long it’s been since you last used it. If it has been more than a year, chances are you no longer need it.
The items you plan to keep should be organized with other like items.
Clothing - Clothing can be organized according to season and type. For example, clothing that you would wear to work in the summer months would be grouped together, as would casual clothing you would wear in the winter. If you do not have enough space to store clothing of all seasons in your closet, consider packing away in air-tight bags or bins. Keep these indoors if possible, as exposure to moisture or outdoor air – including that in the garage – can cause mildew and mold.
Jewelry - Keep jewelry that is frequently worn towards the front of the closet, and use a jewelry tree to keep chains from getting tangled together. Jewelry organizer bags can also be purchased and used for earrings, bracelets and broaches. These bags often have a loop that fits over the head of a regular sized hanger. If you have jewelry that has sentimental value, but you do not plan to wear, it can be packed up and stored.
Shoes - Shoes should be organized according to type and color. For example, black high heels would be grouped together, as would white sneakers. Shoes can be stored on shelves, shoe trees or under the bed in zipped organized bags.
Accessories - Scarves, bags and other accessories should be organized by color. These items are used frequently and with both casual and formal outfits. Organizing by color is the easiest way to find what you need in the future.
Front hall closet
The front hall closet should be a place to store coats, hats and scarves since it makes these items easily accessible for when you are leaving the house and need to get dressed for the weather. Other seasonal or weather-related accessories like winter boots, rain boots, ponchos and umbrellas can be kept in your front hall closet. Clothing can be organized by type and season.
It is also common and perfectly acceptable to store holiday decorations and cleaning equipment, such as a vacuum and mop, in the front closet. This leaves your cleaning equipment and decorations out of sight while still being easy to find when needed. Keep larger cleaning equipment together. If you are storing cleaning products in the front closet, keep them organized according to the room in which they would be used.
Toys that your child uses in the living room or family room can also be stored in the hall closet if you can afford the space. By using the hall closet to store toys, you maintain usage of space in your living room or family room without telling your child that they cannot play in these rooms. Toys can be organized by type, with board games, stuffed animals, and educational games each being part of an individual group. This makes it easy for kids to find what they want without pulling everything out.
A design expert helped remodel this master closet and gave the homeowner many ideas from which to choose. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Kelly B.)
Hiring a professional
Hiring a professional organizer to get your closet clutter under control, and to teach you how to avoid a mess in the future could be helpful. Because this is what they do for a living, professional organizers will have ideas and suggestions for trouble spots, and will be able to provide multiple solutions for storage problems, big and small.
When making your hiring decision, be sure to ask about:
Experience - Ask your potential organizer about their professional background, including any cleaning companies they may have worked for in the past. There are professional organization certifications available in the United States, so be sure to ask whether your organizer has obtained any kind of official certification in the field.
Expense - Fees should be established before any work is done to avoid confusion. Typically, professional organizers charge by the hour. A fair hourly rate for a professional organizer ranges from $55 to $85, although inexperienced organizers will likely charge much less.
Reputation - The best way to find an experienced and reputable professional organizer is by searching Angie’s List to see who members in your area recommend. Members have exclusive access to organizer ratings and reviews of recent services in members’ homes.
Time - Ideally, professional organizers will take their time getting your closet organization project perfect, but will not dawdle just to earn a higher fee. Your closet did not become unorganized in a short amount of time, so be prepared for the organizer to be in your house for several hours, or in and out for several days. If you feel that the organizer is taking too long, speak up so he or she has a chance to explain the process so you understand how to maintain your closet space in the future.
Closets can be used in many ways, including office space. Adding simple boxes and organizers can help make the most of your space. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Marianne O.)
If hiring a professional isn’t within your budget or comfort zone, there are many products that are easy to use and can make a difference when it comes to closet organization. Before going to your nearest home improvement store, take time to research what’s out there and what will immediately address your needs.
Products available for organizing your closet include:
Hangers - There are hangers available that taper and allow you to fit more clothing inside of your closet without causing the usual clutter. Flat hangers can reduce the amount of space used in your closet, leaving more room for additional storage. Hang similar clothing items together to find the piece you are looking for more easily. Special hangers for pants, skirts, belts and hats can also help to organize your wardrobe.
Storage bag - Air-tight, closet storage bags are a great way to save space when you have a lot of items to store. Put soft items, such as clothes, comforters or stuffed animals in the bags and use an attachment on your vacuum to remove the air from the sealed bag. When you're ready to access your belongings, open the bag and they will return to their original shape.
Door organizers - To use all of the space available in your closet, invest in some organizers that hang over the doors of your closet. Depending on your needs, you could use a door organizer for storage of shoes, ties, jewelry or other clothing accessories.
Shelves - Shelving units allow you to keep all of your belongings organized by item type. Shelves can be purchased in a variety of styles – wood, wire, plastic, etc. Some shelves come in predesigned storage solutions for the entire closets, though these require power tools for assembly.
Bins - There are bins and storage containers available in all shapes and sizes, and there are even storage bins specifically made for wrapping paper and ornaments. List the items you need to organize before heading out to the store, and purchase bins and storage containers according to your specific storage needs.