8 Simple Tips to Organize Your Reach-In Closet

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated April 15, 2022
Woman in front of her closet folding her jeans
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Your closet houses your beloved clothing collection. But without care and attention, it can also become cluttered with old sports equipment, too-small winter jackets, and sweaters you don’t even remember buying. A small reach-in closet can get full particularly quickly, but not to worry—we’re here to rescue you and your things. 

Read on to learn some reach-in closet ideas and other tips for getting things organized (and making sure they stay that way).

1. Get Rid of What You Don’t Need

The golden rule of organizing and living happily with small spaces is to get rid of everything that you don’t need. The beauty of a small closet is that you really know which items you go for most often—likely, they’re front and center, as it is instinct to hang them in a place where you can grab them quickly. 

So start towards the back of the closet, go through each item, and decide if it’s worth the space it’s taking up. If the answer is no, put it in a box to donate.

2. Install Shelving

Shelves are critical, given their versatility; they can hold folded sweaters and shirts, handbags, shoes, and more. Consider coated wire shelving for your reach-in closet, as they are budget-friendly and allow you to clearly see all the items on your shelves much better than solid melamine shelving. In addition, they provide extra air circulation to your clothing.

3. Do a Double Take

Closet interior with extra clothing rods and white shelves
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Consider adding one extra clothing rod row to maximize the amount of room you have to hang dress shirts, skirts, trousers, and dresses. Very few items require the full, standard 84-inches of height that most clothing rods provide, leaving you with plenty of extra space. 

4. Use Thin Hangers

Hangers have come a long way, and many shops now carry thin but sturdy hangers, which can maximize space in unexpected but remarkable ways. You can also look for hangers with multiple rods for hanging several pairs of pants on one.

5. Add Baskets

Baskets are a great way to lump together small items, like belts, socks, or other accessories. Find some that you can place on your shelf, or look for under-shelf bins to further use all available space. 

6. Don’t Neglect The Door

Closet door organizer with hangers
Photo: Alex Tihonov / Moment / Getty Images

You can use the back of the closet doors to install an organizer, which can house everything from shoes to jewelry to that ever-growing collection of tote bags. Organizers come in over-the-door, hanging styles and those that screw into place. Take stock of the things in your closet you’d like to store here, and then purchase an organizer that will fit your specific needs.

7. Light It Properly

A well-lit closet helps with organization. You’ll be able to see everything in front of you rather than digging around in the dark for, say, that one striped blazer you absolutely must have to pull your outfit together. 

Motion-sensor lights that turn on automatically when you open the door are helpful, as are battery-operated, touch-activated lights that you can place around your closet strategically to better illuminate different areas. You can place LED strip lights on shelves or in nooks. These are usually remote-operated, so be sure to store the remote somewhere easy to remember and grab.

8. Have It Custom Designed

When all else fails, a local closet designer can help create the custom closet of your dreams. They will take stock of what you need to store and come up with a solution that works for you and your lifestyle. Expect to pay between $500 and $1,500 for a custom-designed reach-in closet.

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