Do you feel like you're always scrambling to find things in your closet, no matter how much you narrow down your wardrobe? One of the easiest ways to add more structure and space in your closet is by utilizing a closet organizer.
To help us figure out how to organize our closets quickly and easily with the help of closet organizers, we spoke to organizing expert Cassandra Aarssen, the host of HGTV's Hot Mess House. One thing she stressed to us is that "organizing isn't one-size-fits-all" and that what works for one individual may not work for another. "Organizing depends on each person's personality, habits, and overall organizing style", she says. "The storage solutions and organizers that you choose for your closet should match your organization style, which is how you naturally sort and store your things."
To find the best closet organizers, we took into account the style of the closet organizer, the amount of storage compartments available, the space-saving properties it boasted, and more so you can organize your closet quickly and easily find everything you need when you need it.
Our top choice is the Rubbermaid Configurations Deluxe Closet Kit, a closet system that comes equipped with all the tools and hardware you need to customize your own closet. The added rod space, shelving, and adjustability in the wall-mounted hardware mean you can customize this closet organizer to look any way you want.
Below, see the best closet organizers for your wardrobe, and learn how to pick the right one for you.
Rubbermaid Configurations Deluxe Closet Kit
Who it's for: People who have a bare bones closet that need multiple shelves and closet rods to store their wardrobe.
Who it isn't for: Renters who are not interested in installing permanent shelving in their closet.
If you are working with a closet that has little to no built-in features, consider investing in a closet system, also called a closet kit. Closet systems come with all the hardware needed—including shelving and closet rods—to build a smart storage system that can efficiently organize the contents of your closet. The Rubbermaid Deluxe Closet Kit gives you just that, and offers plenty of configuration options to customize your closet organizer system.
This kit comes with nine shelves and three adjustable closet rods totaling 22 feet of shelving space and 12 feet of hanging space. The wall-mounted hardware is adjustable, allowing you to choose exactly where you want your shelving and rods to go. This closet organizer is made of titanium and has been finished to resist rust and any other color changes that could happen over time. All the tools and screws needed for hanging are included in the kit, so if you're handy you can install it yourself—although if you're not comfortable with a weekend project, you might want to hire a professional. This set will fit inside any walk- or reach-in closet that has four to eight feet of available wall space.
- Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
- Measurements: 26 x 48 x 47.5 inches
Best Hanging Shelves
Highland Dunes Janella Hanging Organizer
Who it's for: People who have a lot of clothing rods and would like to add vertical organization without installing permanent shelving.
Who it isn't for: People who are looking for a permanent shelving solution that can withstand heavy items.
Hanging closet shelves are a super convenient way to create more vertical space in your closet. The Highland Dunes Janella Hanging Organizer has six compartments that are 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep, creating ample space to store bags and shoes. It also works well as hanging storage for clothes, and is able to accommodate T-shirts, sweaters, jeans, athletic pants, and anything else that can be folded. They are even big enough to comfortably slide storage drawers into.
Unlike many hanging closet shelves, which typically feature fabric shelving, each compartment here is supported by wood. The wooden supports are great because they create a stable, level surface on which your items can rest, making this hanging shelf organizer especially ideal for shoes. Just keep in mind that each shelf has a weight capacity of 10 pounds.
- Compartments: Six
- Weight capacity: 60 pounds
- Measurements: 42 x 12 x 12 inches
Best Space-Saving Hangers
House Day Magic Hangers
Who it's for: People who have small closets and minimal closet rod space.
Who it isn't for: People who don't want their clothes close to or touching the floor of their closet.
If you have so little space left on your closet rod that you need to squeeze in clothing in order for everything to fit, this genius hanger set is for you. House Day Space-Saving Clothes Hangers boast a clever design that allows you to hang five pieces of clothing on one hanger. After hooking items onto this space-saving hanger, drop one side and you will instantly free up closet rod space that can be utilized for additional clothes. This type of configuration works best with tops, light jackets, and sweaters. Skirts, pants, and dresses may not be as compatible, as skirt and pant hangers may create more bulk and dresses might end up touching the ground. These space-saving hangers will work better with skirts and pants.
Unlike most hangers, these hangers have a rotating hook that allows you to turn it in whichever direction you need. Keep in mind that the House Day Hangers can hold six pounds horizontally and eight pounds vertically. You can purchase these hangers in packs of ten or 12 to get your whole closet organized in one go.
- Weight capacity: Six to eight pounds
- Measurements: 16.3 x 2.7 x 0.8 inches
RELATED: The 10 Best Hangers to Keep Your Closet Organized, According to Reviewers
Best Closet Organization Bins
Pottery Barn Drop Front Closet Bins
Who it's for: People who have shelves and want extra storage for off-season items or clothing they don't use very much.
Who it isn't for: Small closets that don't have shelving or a lot of available floor space.
Another great way to help free up hanger space in your closet is to store away off-season clothing or clothing you simply don't wear much in bins. Organization bins can be stored on the floor of your closet or on available shelving, such as the shelf located above your curtain rod. These neutral organization bins from Pottery Barn feature a sturdy frame that makes them stackable. They're also collapsible, so you can fold each one down and store it away when you're not using it.
By far the most interesting feature of this closet organization bin is the PVC "window," so you can see exactly what's stored in each bin without opening it. What's more, the PVC window actually opens, allowing you easier access to your stored clothing even when the bins are stacked. The Pottery Barn Drop Front Bin Comes in three sizes: medium, large, and tall.
- Weight Capacity: Not listed
- Measurements: 15 x 10 inches (medium), 15.25 x 7.25 inches (large), 13 x 11.25 inches (tall)
RELATED: 14 Best Pantry Organizers to Maximize Storage Space
Best Closet Organizer with Drawers
The Container Store Elfa White Wide Drawer Solution
Who it's for: People with larger closets who are looking to add drawer space without adding a dresser to their bedroom.
Who it isn't for: Anyone with limited floor space in their closet.
Maximize your opportunities for storing folded clothes by adding a closet organizer with drawers to your closet's floor. Aarssen specifically recommends this product as a way of adding useful vertical space to your closet. It's great for people who don't have shelving in their closet or simply need a little extra space to store sweaters, athletic wear, and other items that aren't typically hung up. The Elfa White Wide Drawer Solution from The Container Store has four drawers, including three deep drawers and one shallow drawer. The drawers are made of a mesh metal that makes it easy to see what's inside and allows for more airflow than plastic drawers.
What's also great about the Elfa Wide Drawer Solution is that the drawers are fit on a track, so they glide smoothly in and out of their storage unit. The larger drawers in this organizer are great for storing T-shirts, sweaters, athletic wear, and jeans, while the smaller, thinner drawer can fit intimates, belts, and even jewelry. The one drawback to these closet drawers is that they don't come with a top—you can buy one if you like, but it's an additional cost.
- Compartments: Four
- Weight Capacity: Not listed
- Measurements: 22 x 21 x 29 inches
Best Shelf Dividers
Lynk Vela Shelf Dividers (Set of 2)
Who it's for: People who want to keep their shelves neat and tidy.
Who it isn't for: People who prefer using organization bins to store their shelved wardrobe items.
Shelf dividers are a simple solution to help bring order to messy closet shelves. These dividers are 12 inches tall and a little more than eight inches wide, and are able to fit shelves that are up to 0.875 inches thick. The shelf dividers are made of steel and have a mechanism at the bottom that helps you lock the divider in place underneath. Both of these features allow the shelf to stay upright, even if items between the dividers take a tumble in either direction.
The Lynk Vela Shelf Dividers are lined with gray fabric to keep them from clashing with your clothes and accessories. These dividers are great for people who utilize their closet shelf space for folded clothes, offering a partition that will keep piles from leaning onto each other.
- Weight Capacity: Not listed
- Measurements: 14.42 x 8.38 x 2.29 inches
Best Over-the-Door Organizer
Misslo Door Shoe Rack with Deep Pockets
Who it's for: People who need to store small items in their closet, like accessories, shoes, cleaning supplies, and more.
Who it isn't for: Anyone with sliding or accordion doors on their closet.
This spacious over-the-door organizer is an excellent option for people who need more space for their accessories. Although the Misslo Door Rack is technically made for shoes, you can easily store scarves, hats, and small or medium bags here. There are six shelf-style compartments that are seven inches tall and can hold about two pairs of shoes, or however many accessories you can fit inside.
The over-the-door rack is supported by four metal hooks that can fit a door that is 1.37 to 1.65 inches thick. Whatever you end up storing in here, make sure that the combined weight is no more than 40 pounds. If you tend to keep your closet door closed when not in use, be sure to measure the width of this organizer to guarantee that it won't touch hung clothes or additional shelving inside your closet.
- Compartments: Six
- Weight Capacity: 40 pounds
- Measurements: 48 x 16.7 x 7 inches
The Final Verdict
Overall, we recommend theRubbermaid Configurations Deluxe Closet Kit because of its multiple storage compartments and ability to configure it anyway you want, resulting in a truly customized closet storage organizer. The Deluxe Closet Kit offers 22 feet of shelving space and 12 feet of hanging space and comes with all the tools needed to create the closet organizer that is right for you.
How to Shop for Closet Organizers
Aarssen says the biggest mistake she sees people making with closet organizers is buying first, thinking later. "I've noticed many will purchase a closet organizer before first figuring out their goals and organization style," she says. "Before buying closet organizers, determine what you want to accomplish by organizing your closet."
First, go through your wardrobe and consider eliminating any clothes, shoes, or accessories that you don't use very often and are willing to get rid of in the name of freeing up space. From what's left, group your wardrobe by shoes, accessories, clothes that you prefer to be hung, and clothes that can be folded. If you find that one or two of your categories contains more items than other categories, you may only need a couple organizing accessories as opposed to a full-fledged closet organization system.
Once you've taken stock of what you have and figured out what needs organizing, you can start to shop for the type of organizers you need. There are so many closet organizers on the market, ranging from all-in-one systems that include shelving and rods to smaller options such as shoe racks or hanging shelves. Multi-tiered shoe racks and stackable drawers are great for people with free floor space. You can also use your door to hang your shoes with an over-the-door shoe hanger, or install wall hooks to hang accessories such as bags and belts.
If you have a shelf over your closet rod, you can utilize that space to put small storage bins for off-season items or things you don't use much. You can also purchase hanging shelving if you have more space on your rod. Hanging shelves consist of multiple exposed compartments and are great for separating and storing folded clothes.
In addition to shopping for organizers based on what you have, Aarssen also highly recommends choosing organizers based off of your organization style. "Some people prefer to see all of their items stored in a visually pleasing way, while others may want to keep items hidden away for visual simplicity."
If you prefer seeing the contents of your wardrobe right in front of you, you'll definitely benefit from closet organizers such as shoe racks, over-the-door shoe organizers, hanging shelves, and all-in-one closet storage systems. Meanwhile, people who don't mind some of their things being out-of-sight will find stackable drawers and storage bins very useful.
Now that you've identified the type of organizer or organizers that will help you tidy up your closet, you need to make sure your intended items will fit. You can do this by measuring out the available space in your closet before you purchase your organizer. Once you've selected an organizer that can fit in your available space, gather the items you intend to place in that organizer and measure whether or not they will fit inside the available compartments, shelving, etc.
Questions You Might Ask
What is the best way to organize a closet?
The best way to organize a closet is to separate your wardrobe by clothing, shoes, and accessories. Then, group that category by clothing type, shoe type, or accessory type. For your clothes, identify what needs to be hung and what can be folded. If you don't have enough space on your closet rod for all of your clothes, store the items that can be folded in stackable storage bins or a drawer unit. These items can be placed in available closet shelving or on the floor of your closet.
For the items that can be hung, separate them by type, including dresses, skirts, blazers, jackets, coats and tops. Keep longer items like coats, dresses, and skirts close together, so you can make room for more vertical space below. This extra vertical space gives you more room for stackable shelves, drawer units, shoe racks, and taller shoes such as boots.
If you don't have enough floor space for your shoes, get a tiered shoe rack to increase your vertical space. Purses can be lined up together on available shelving and be separated by size and style with dividers. If you don't have shelf space, over-the-door hooks are a great alternative that allow you to hang multiple bags.
What can I expect with assembly?
Assembly is all dependent on the type of closet organizer you purchase. Some require no assembly at all while others require a few hours of your time to put together. Closet organizers that don't require any assembly are stackable organization bins, hanging shelves, over-the-door organizers, and space-saving hangers. Some shoe racks and drawer organizers may come with some light assembly, but it shouldn't take more than a half hour of your time.
The closet organizer that requires the most time and effort to put together are closet systems. These require measuring out your space, finding studs in your wall to mount the system (you'll need a stud finder), a drill to make holes to insert the screws into where the studs are located, and other tools like a hammer, wall anchors, and more. Closet systems usually provide all the tools and hardware needed to get this done, except for things like hammers, drills, and measuring tape. If you aren't very handy or are apprehensive of taking this project on by yourself, get help or hire a professional.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Rachel Center, a product reviews home writer for Real Simple. She spent hours researching all the components that make closet organizers great, ultimately choosing the products on this list based on style, size, and ease of assembly. She also spoke to organizing expert Cassandra Aarssen, the host of HGTV's Hot Mess House, for her advice on choosing closet organizers.
How do I make my closet less cluttered? ›
- Start easy. ...
- Remove seasonal items. ...
- Get rid of clothes that don't fit once and for all. ...
- Reduce your need for additional accessories. ...
- Consider the idea of one. ...
- Reassess current trend purchases. ...
- Physically handle every item. ...
- If all else fails, pick a number.
Divide items by type: Jeans, sweaters, dresses, etc. Arrange items based on height and bulkiness: Tops go on lower racks or shorter shelves, pants go on a hook rack or mid-level shelf, and long dresses and bulky coats go on higher racks and spacious shelving.How do I optimize my closet storage? ›
- 01 of 10. Throw out clothes that don't fit. ...
- 02 of 10. Remove the clutter. ...
- 03 of 10. Remember the floor space. ...
- 04 of 10. Add lighting. ...
- 05 of 10. Make use of the upper shelf. ...
- 06 of 10. Hang a mirror or two. ...
- 07 of 10. Paint it a lighter color. ...
- 08 of 10. Don't count out corners.
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It says that 80% of the time you wear 20% of your clothes. It's true! This means that it's probably safe to let go of the other 80% of the things that you're not wearing anyway!What is the fastest way to purge clutter? ›
- Toss the Trash. In every area you organize, start by tossing the obvious trash. ...
- Move Non-Kitchen Items Out of the Kitchen. ...
- Tidy Reading Material in the Living Room. ...
- Organize the Bathroom One Drawer at a Time. ...
- Let Go of Unused Items in Your Home Office.
The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.What does a messy closet say about you? ›
According to experts, if your wardrobe is overflowing with clothes you can no longer fit into and they no longer serve their purpose, you might have a tendency of being a tad bit too nostalgic. It could also mean that you are still holding onto the past where you felt anything was possible.Is it better to roll or fold clothes for storage? ›
Rolling is great for T-shirts, pants, casual dresses, swimsuits, and pajamas, but not so good for bulky clothes, like sweaters. They can take up more space when rolled versus folded. It's harder to roll button-up shirts, and rolling is more likely to cause creases in them because the fabric gets bunched up as it rolls.What type of door is best for closet? ›
Pocket doors are great for closets that are open most of the time. For a rustic-style home, a barn door that slides along a top track offers a nice design detail for the surrounding room.
The researchers found that a “sufficient” wardrobe consists of 74 garments and 20 outfits in total. As an example, they've suggested six outfits for work, three outfits for home wear, three outfits for sports, two outfits for festive occasions, plus four outdoor jackets and trousers or skirts.
How often should you declutter your closet? ›
Seifert tells us, "Use the one-year rule for cleaning out—if you haven't worn it in the last year, it's probably safe to donate it or sell it." Cleaning out your closet once per year will keep the accumulation of clothes, shoes, and accessories from getting out of hand.