clothes hanging in closet arranged by color

Top 10 list of things to do and not to do when organizing your clothes closets:

1) Create zones

Just like in your kitchen, arrange similar items together, i.e., all slacks together, sweaters together, long sleeve blouses, short sleeve blouses, fancy T-shirts, workout clothes, etc.

2) Hang pants/slacks/trousers by their cuffs

This avoids unwanted lines and creases in your pants and takes up less room. Again, when hanging them, all the butts and crotches face the same direction. IF space is a consideration — you just don’t have enough tall hanging space available — you may hang pants folded over on a robust trouser hanger (not the thin cardboard ones you bring home from the cleaners).

3) Never hang knits

Surest way to stretch out shoulders, waists, and create divots and puckers that may never go away. One exception may be very tightly woven twin sets. IF you have satin hangers that in NO WAY put any pressure on seams or shoulders, you can try to hang them but DO check these items frequently to see if gravity IS stretching the fabric out. If you notice any movement in the garment, immediately remove it from the hanger and fold.

And store ‘like’ knits together, so bulky sweaters live with bulky sweaters and thin sweaters live with other thin sweaters.

4) Hang everything facing the same direction

Seems simple enough, eh? Note how your dry cleaner or laundry hangs their garments — they’re not likely to change their procedure so unless you’re unhappy with their service, use their directional choice to inform yours.

5) Uniformity of hangers 

Everything is easier to see and find when it’s all hung at the same height.

6) Tops over bottoms

Think of the direction of your clothes, from head to toe. Hats on the top shelf. And if you have double hung rods, hang skirts, slacks, and shorts on the bottom rod and blouses, shirts, and other tops on the upper rod. It’s visually pleasing and makes sense when pulling outfits together.

7) Location, location, location

Just like in your kitchen, think of where and what you wear most often and locate that closest to the closet door. Don’t give up prime real estate for novelty items. Unless you’re a socialite, you probably don’t need your ball gowns within easiest reach.

8) Only one button

Again, your dry cleaner may not comply, but when you hang something up, save yourself some time and inconvenience but only buttoning one button at the neck of any garment to hold it on the hanger.

9) Keep outfits together

If you have more than a few navy skirts or trousers but only two suits, why make it a struggle in a possibly poorly lit space to try to match the top and bottom? Keep suit components together so when you need them, they’re within reach of each other. Each piece or item still has its own hanger, the sets are just grouped together.

10) Arrange each category of garment from white to black

It’s much easier to find your favorite white blouse if it’s next to all the other white blouses. This also helps when identifying any gaps in your wardrobe. When arranged by color, you’ll finally recognize how many of each color you own.

BONUS) Use baskets to corral smaller items

Avoid shelves cluttered with random items such as small bags and clutches or teetering towers of silk scarves. Get some baskets or bins and group all like items together in each. If the container isn’t see-thru, clearly label the contents so you don’t need to pull each one off the shelf every time you’re looking for something.


Photo: Jose Camoes Silva | CC License

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About The Author

Andrew Mellen's picture

Andrew Mellen is an organizational expert, public speaker, and the #1 best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!

Andrew has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide to declutter and simplify their lives while regaining time for the things that matter.

A sought-after authority on organizing and productivity, Andrew's addressed audiences from The Great British Business Show to TEDx. 

Corporate clients include American Express, Genentech, NetApp, Time, Inc., and the US Depts. of Education and Homeland Security.

The media has dubbed Andrew “The Most Organized Man in America.” He writes a featured column called “Ask The Organizer” in Real Simple. In addition, he has written for and/or appeared in: The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, America Now, The Lisa Oz Show, The Nate Berkus Show, Oprah & Friends, Martha Stewart Living Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, CW11, HGTV, DIY Network, LiveWell Network, KnowMoreTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Family Circle, USA Today, GQ, InStyle, All You, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Healthy UK, American Way, numerous trade and travel publications, and NPR.

He leads workshops and speaks internationally while maintaining a private practice working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, trade associations, and non-profits to CEOs, award-winning filmmakers, and authors, as well as overwhelmed parents everywhere. 

In 2013, Andrew founded Unstuff U®, the world's first completely virtual personal organization training center, offering classes, workshops, and other online resources for businesses and individuals. 

Andrew is a member of the Experts Collective and serves on the faculty of the New York Open Center in New York City. He speaks frequently on the intersection of spirituality and organization at places including Omega Institute, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, All Saints Church, JCC Manhattan, and the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, among others.

Previously, Andrew was an award-winning playwright, actor, producer, and director and the former Artistic Director of Alice B. Theater (Seattle), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), and Shuttle Theater Company (New York). He is a contributing author to Yes Is the Answer: (And Other Prog-Rock Tales).

Andrew lives by his motto: More Love, Less Stuff!® 

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