How To Organize Clothes

Clothing in piles to discard and keep.

Does it take more than a minute to locate a favorite outfit in your closet? 

Do freshly laundered or dry-cleaned clothes come off the hanger in need of pressing?

Do you wear the same clothes each week, even though you pride yourself on your updated wardrobe?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you could save time and rejuvenate your wardrobe by streamlining your closet. Here's how to organize clothes to help make such spotty dressing moments a thing of the past.

How to Organize Clothes: Getting Started

How to organize clothes? Start by removing all clothing and accessories from your closet. Organize them by type: shirts, pants, suits, dresses, coats, shoes, belts, and handbags.

Set aside the things you don't wear anymore, and consider their future. Here are a few possibilities for dealing with these items:

  • Store winter or summer clothes until the appropriate season.
  • Update old clothes by having them altered.
  • Donate unwanted wardrobe items to charity.
  • Sell expensive items on consignment.
  • Use soft, worn-out clothes as cleaning or car-washing rags.

Among the remaining garments, you'll probably find numerous wrinkled but wearable items that you haven't slipped on recently because you couldn't find them. Make a mental note to place this "aha!" items in plain view.

Evaluate Past Storage Methods

Now is a good time to evaluate your past storage methods and consider how you can be more efficient. Have you spent far too much time searching for the right shirt to go with your favorite suit? Consider hanging the two pieces side by side.

Are you a separates mix-and-matcher? Here's how to organize clothes: Group separates by color (so you can quickly scan for the day's color scheme) or by type of garment, placing blazers next to shirts and pants beside skirts.

Decide whether it would be easier for you to view your clothes by type (work clothes and weekend wear), outfit, color, or length, and then organize your closet accordingly. You can double your closet space by adding a second rod below shorter items such as shirts and folded-over trousers. Then hang more of the same there.

Alternatively, you might consider adding shelves for your T-shirts, sweaters, and shoes beneath hanging items. After all, when your clothing is buried inside dresser drawers, it's out of sight and less likely to be worn.

What's more, hanging a knit or lightweight garment on a hanger can distort the shape of the fabric, detracting from its appearance and requiring more frequent - and more time consuming - pressing.

Organize Clothes to Make Room for Odds & Ends

What about those odds and ends that can clutter drawers and dresser tops? Hang a mesh laundry bag in your closet to keep socks, stockings, handkerchiefs, and other small items easy to find.

Try looping belts over a hanger next to your pants, or hang them on hooks inside the door. You can store hats or handbags this way as well.

If rearranging your closet's contents still leaves you with more stuff than room, it's time to bring in reinforcements.

There are plenty of inexpensive clothes organizing tools that can help you maximize your wardrobe space. Back-of-the-door shoe bags keep shoes off the floor and in plain sight. Also, there are plenty of racks for scarves, ties, belts, hats, and other accessories that can save space in your closet.

If the basic design of your closet simply isn't functional for your wardrobe or leaves you short a hanging rod or three, you have several simple options: You can buy a new or antique freestanding armoire or wardrobe.

You can purchase a prefabricated closet kit and retool the space yourself. Or you can hire a closet designer to create a system for you.

Finally, don't be like your child and wear the same thing every day. Clothes need a rest. (Shoes, too.) If you like it that much - buy two. Now that you know how to organize clothes, however, this should no longer be an issue!

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