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How to organize a bedroom closet in 4 easy steps - and the tools you need to do it

Step 1: Get rid of things you don't need

Step 1: Get rid of things you don't need

You can't tame the clutter monster if you're unwilling to get rid of the clutter. That's why every organizing project has to start with a purge.

Start by blocking off a free afternoon and queue up your favorite upbeat playlist. Get yourself something to sip on as you work, and pull every single item out of your closet. Yes, all of it: shoes, clothing, accessories, and whatever else has multiplied inside the tight confines of your bedroom closet.

Now comes the hard part: One by one, you need to make a decision and relegate every single item to one of these four categories:

  1. Trash: These are the things that are beyond hope or repair. Those worn-out sneakers or broken heels. The permanently stained shirt. The cracked belt and the old, frayed baskets shoved to the back of the closet. If it belongs in the dumpster, that's where you put it.
  2. Misplaced: Many bedroom closets harbor a wide range of belongings that really belong elsewhere in the home. Now's your chance to return those things to their rightful spots, whether that's the garage, the kitchen, the living room, the library, or even your car.
  3. Donations: Yes, you could hang onto those pants in the hopes that eventually you'll fit into them once again, but why? The sight of them is a painful reminder every time you fall off the diet wagon, and you deserve new pants once you hit that goal, anyway. Now's the time to be realistic; if the item is in good condition, but no longer fits you, was never flattering to begin with, is out of style, doesn't suit your lifestyle any longer, isn't a color that looks good on you, itches, is too short, or in any other way doesn't make you feel good when you wear it, into the donation box it goes.
  4. Keepers: Once you've weeded out the trash, the misplaced, and the donations, what's left are your keepers. Now you've whittled your wardrobe down to only those garments, shoes, and accessories that feel good, fit right, and most importantly, give you a smile when you wear them. These are the items that are going back into your closet once your organizing system is finalized.
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Step 2: Clean your closet

Step 2: Clean your closet

Once your closet is empty, it's easy to vacuum those back corners and wipe down the walls that otherwise rarely get attention. Take this opportunity to clean the space from top to bottom, including floors, shelves, and walls. If you really want to give your closet a makeover, consider giving the interior a fresh coat of paint. A pastel or bright hue is a great way to add some cheer to the utilitarian space.

To get cleaning and give your closet a fresh look, check out our buying guides:
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Step 3: Choose an organization system

Step 3: Choose an organization system

Now that you only have clothing and shoes you love and wear regularly, it's time to decide how you want to organize them. There are a few ways to go about it:

  • Separate clothing by type, such as pants, skirts, shirts
  • Separate clothing by season, which generally means summer and winter wear
  • Organize by outfit, which makes rushed morning dressing a snap
  • Divvy up your wardrobe by color

While most people prefer to separate their wardrobe by type, feel free to use whichever system works best for you, and most importantly, is easiest for you to stick with.

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Step 4: Choose organizers that make the best use of the space

Step 4: Choose organizers that make the best use of the space

The typical bedroom closet has a hanging rod and one shelf. While that's a good start, it's not nearly enough to fully organize any but the tiniest wardrobe.

There are hundreds of closet organizing tools available, but the following are some of our favorites. Choose those that best suit your closet, your clothing, and your needs.

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Get matching hangers

Get matching hangers
Buy a 50-pack of Zober Non-Slip Velvet Hangers on Amazon for $22.99

One of the easiest ways to give your closet a polished appearance is with a set of matching hangers. Forget about those wire cheapies from the drycleaner. Instead, hang your garments on thin, nonslip "velvet" hangers like those made by Zober. No more camisoles sliding to the floor, and far less chance of creases across the knees of your pants.

Check out more clothes hangers from our guide:
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Get a built-in closet organizer

Get a built-in closet organizer
Buy the Rubbermaid Configurations Deluxe Closet Organizer on Amazon for $114.99

If you really want to whip your closet into shape, a full-closet organizer is your best bet. And while there are super-expensive and complicated closet organizing systems available, there's no need to break your budget when it's so easy to install the Rubbermaid Custom Closet Organizer, which transforms most typical bedroom closets into a well-organized, workhorse of a space.

Check out more closet and drawer organizers in our guide:
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Get a shelf

Get a shelf
Buy the AmazonBasics 4-Shelf Shelving Unit on Amazon for $42.77

If your closet has an open wall area, make use of it with a wire shelving unit, such as the 4-shelf unit from AmazonBasics. Now you have a place to stack folded sweaters, hats, shoes, purses, and a basket or two for holding scarves and other small accessories.

Check out the best storage containers in our guide:
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Get a shoe rack

Get a shoe rack
Buy the Seville Classics 3-Tier Shoe Rack on Amazon for $29.99

No more jumbled heap of shoes across the closet floor when you have a shoe rack like the excellent 3-tier unit from Seville Classics keeping your favorite kicks neatly organized in pairs. Just imagine being able to immediately spot those cute sandals, instead of wasting time digging through your footwear to find them.

Check out more great shoe storage options in our guide:
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Get a hanging shelf

Get a hanging shelf
Buy the Simple Houseware 5-Shelves Hanging Organizer on Amazon for $13.87

If wall space isn't available, you can still add extra shelf storage with a hanging closet organizer, like the 5-cubby one from Simple Houseware. These types of organizers are especially good for kid's closets, as you can tuck a full outfit into each cubby, making it easy for your kindergartener or early-elementary aged child to get dressed on their own, but go ahead and get one for your own closet, as well, then use it to hold folded sweaters, purses, and hats.

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Get shelf dividers

Get shelf dividers
Buy a 4-pack of Evelots Closet Shelf Dividers on Amazon for $19.99

You probably know that heavy knits, such as sweaters, should always be stored folded on a shelf, rather than on a hanger. The problem is that a tower of sweaters tends to tip over, dropping clothing onto the floor. To the rescue: Evelots closet shelf dividers. These handy wire dividers slip right onto your wooden closet shelf, and keep sweaters, purses, or other large items neatly stacked.

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