10 Closet Design and Organization Ideas to Maximize Storage Space

Barbara Bellesi Zito
Updated November 23, 2021
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It can often seem like a never-ending quest to organize your closet. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself stuffing clothing, shoes, and more into any available spot—that is, if they ever make it into your closet in the first place. (We’re not judging.)

If you are ready to show your closet who’s boss, here are some closet storage ideas that can turn your space from a nightmare into a sight to behold.

1. But First, Declutter

There’s no use starting to organize your closet when you need to get rid of a lot of items anyway. Go through your closet from top to bottom to find out what you actually enjoy wearing and what’s still in good shape. Ask yourself a few questions when organizing your closet so you only keep what you actually like. Sell the rest to a thrift store or donate to charity to really start fresh.

2. Install a Custom Closet System

Custom closet systems come in a wide range of configurations for every size and type of closet—and they’re not always as expensive as you might think. Even better? There are even many DIY closet organizers you can install in an afternoon. The trick with finding a custom closet system is to choose a configuration that works for your needs. For example, if you’re a shoe or bag lover (maybe both?), you’ll want something with plenty of shelving, not just rods for hanging clothes.

3. Add Hooks to the Wall and Door

Maximizing your closet space doesn’t have to focus solely on shelves and rods. You can also add hooks to the wall for accessories like belts and jewelry. Keep shoes and purses off the floor with an over-the-door organizer. If you have a lot of hats or scarves that are taking up space in your closet, put a coat rack in the corner of a room and hang them there instead.

4. Let There Be Light

Dark closets can be spooky, even when they’re organized. Shed some light on the situation so you can actually see what you’ve got in there. You don’t need a walk-in closet with a fancy chandelier, though that would be amazing. You can easily add wireless lighting to a closet, like a touch light or LED strip lights. You’ll find getting dressed to be an illuminating experience.

5. Make It Accessible

It’s great to have lots of shelves in a closet, but it’s another thing if you can’t reach half of them. Unless you are vertically blessed, keep a small, foldable step stool right inside your closet. When you make it easy for yourself to put things away, your closet will remain tidier—at least most of the time.

6. Label Boxes and Shelves

Boxes might stack neatly, but labels can help you find things more quickly so that you’re not searching through those stacks every day. Putting labels on shelves can also help on laundry days so that you can return folded clothes to their proper places instead of letting them hang around in your hamper.

7. Use Dividers to Keep Shelves Neat

Shelves are perfect for stacking folded sweaters and t-shirts...until those piles start to slump and spill off the shelves. Keep the chaos out of your closet with shelf dividers. Not only will they keep those piles straight and orderly, but you’ll likely find that you can store more on the shelves.

8. Arrange Items by Color

organized woman’s closet
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There’s more to this technique than simply turning your closet into a pretty rainbow—it’s also about making clothes, shoes, and accessories easier to locate so you can create outfits more quickly. (It could also prevent you from buying yet another blue shirt when you didn’t realize you already had a dozen in your closet.)

9. Use Every Bit of Space

A good closet design will make use of all the space in your closet. Keep things you reach for often within arm’s length, but use those high shelves and far corners to store seasonal/occasional items. 

If there’s space beneath long hanging clothes like dresses, this is a great opportunity to add a shoe rack to keep them neat and off the floor. To maximize the space underneath shirts and blouses, add shelves. You could even put a dresser there for storage and free up some space in your bedroom.

10. Take Time to Tidy Each Day

woman organizing closet
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It’s called closet organization, not closet magic. That means you will need to keep on top of whatever system you have in place. To avoid your closet looking like a clothing rack at a hectic Black Friday sale, take a minute—and really, that might be all it takes—to put your clothes back where they belong every day. When you make organization a daily habit, it feels less of a chore.

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