As the proud owner—er, renter, lol—of a shoebox-sized apartment in New York City, I’ve learned how to maximize closet space and get creative when it comes to storage. I’ve also spent lots of time and money finding out what works and what doesn’t in terms of shelves, bins, baskets, hanging systems, closet rods, garment racks, and basically any other clever contraptions or space-saving solutions floating around the internet. Now, I’m sharing everything I’ve learned—plus my absolute must-have closet storage products!—because you (and your clothes) deserve the best of the best.
Behold, 22 closet organization ideas that’ll make your life so much easier. If you’re working with an intimidatingly large open closet that could use some ~structure~, we’ve got plenty of hanging organizers, acrylic drawers, and even a rolling cart to fill up the space in a way that’s totally functional. On the contrary, if you’re trying to organize a super small or oddly-structured closet, small must-haves (like heavy-duty velvet hangers, fabric bins, or a handbag hanger) will make allllll the difference (hint: You can find all that and more below). So keep scrolling to unleash your inner Marie Kondo!
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Use Chic and Functional Hangers
Home-it Premium Velvet Heavy Duty (50 Pack)
Step one of organizing your closet: Throw out your old, mismatched hangers that keep breaking, and replace them with a uniform set to create a more clean and crisp look. Pro tip: Sturdy velvet ones like these will prevent even your most delicate of blouses from falling on the floor.
Fold bulky items like sweaters and jeans
The Laundress 6-Tier Cotton Hanging Organizer
Even if you’re #TeamHanger for life, there’s no denying the fact that some garments are just better folded. A six-tier hanging organizer is truly the best of both worlds.
Break up your closet rods with a hanging organizer
StorageWorks Hanging Closet Organizer with Garment Rod
If you’re strapped for space but still want to fold a few items, this cubicle-shaped hanging organizer should do the trick.
Use Storage Baskets
West Elm Bamboo Fabric Storage Bins
Or, if that’s not your vibe, try folding heavy and/or bulky clothes in pretty storage bins and placing them on the shelf above your hanging clothes instead.
Invest in a closet organization system
17 Stories Freestanding Closet Organizer System
If you got stuck with a teeeeeeny tiny poor excuse for a closet, investing in a freestanding system like this one might be the best solution. Plus, it’s fun to style! Whether you decide to display your coolest pieces or choose a color scheme and pull closet staples accordingly, a freestanding system is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Hang your handbags
Yamazaki Home Chain Handbag Hanger
No matter how much we love our handbags, storing them can be a real pain in the ass. This customizable waterfall-style hanger—which can be hung in the closet, hooked onto a door, or screwed into a wall—keeps them organized and crease-free.
Or! Organize them above your hanging clothes
Yamazaki Home Handbag Organizer
We’ve also got a smart organizational solution for people who prefer to stack their clutches, handbags, and pocketbooks!
Hang your boots
SUNTRADE Double Adjustable Clips Boots Hangers
Much like handbags, boots can be a major source of frustration when organizing your closet. Hanging them with protective clips will maximize space while preventing wear and tear.
Add a cute rolling cart
Container Store Sage Green 3-Tier Rolling Cart
Store miscellaneous items that don’t quite have a home in this cute three-tier rolling cart to make them look, well, less miscellaneous!
Buy a shoe rack
Container Store White 12-Tier Over the Door Shoe Rack
For heels, sandals, and sneakers, some sort of shoe rack is essential. This high-quality over-the-door one can store nearly 40 pairs of shoes.
Separate your coats
Yamazaki Home Leaning Shelf Coat Hanger
If you love the idea of a closet alternative but don’t have enough space for a full freestanding system, add this lil baby that’s ideal for storing outerwear to your cart.
Embrace wall hooks
West Elm Loop Metal Wall Hooks (Set of 3)
Wall hooks don’t have to be eyesores or an afterthought! Try incorporating these cute gold ones for a chic and minimalist look that won’t take up too much space.
Opt for acrylic drawers
Pottery Barn Teen Wood & Acrylic Beauty Tower
If you’ve got the space, consider moving a small dresser into your closet (either under or next to your hanging clothes) because having everything ya need in one place will make your life a little easier. The clear acrylic drawers on this tower—which can store more than just beauty products!—will help you find what you need when you need it.
Get the whole fam folding clothes quickly and efficiently
Geniusidea Shirt Folding Board
Attention, parents! If your closet is spotless but your kid’s closet is usually a disaster, try giving them these nifty contraptions that make folding clothes a breeze. “My kids love it and they range from 11 to 17. Folds so perfect like garments in a clothing store on display,” one reviewer writes. “Actually makes doing laundry a bit more fun when you start to see the pile of perfectly folded shirts.”
Use a garment rack
Homary Contemporary Freestanding Rail Cloth Rack
It’s not a freestanding closet and it’s not quite a coat rack either—it’s the perfect in-between! This contemporary black garment rack with gold accents features a sturdy rod and two shelves for all your storage needs. And it’s just so damn pretty to look at.
Kosiehouse Shelf Divider for Wood Closet
Don’t have room for storage bins above your closet rod? Noooo problem—these DIY dividers are just as useful.
Display your jewelry
Pottery Barn Aubrey Wall Mounted Jewelry Organizer
Storing your jewelry on a wall-mounted organizer is the best way to ensure it doesn’t get tangled.
Use stackable baskets under your hanging clothes
Modern Weave Rattan Round Storage Bins
Deep storage bins disguised as trendy decor?! I’m sold.
Phomemo D30 Label Maker-Mini Label Maker Machine
Even if you’re not a Type A girly, having all of your shelves, bins, and boxes labeled will feel pretty damn good. Trust me.
Elfa Platinum Wide Drawer Solution
Another closet floor storage option, these popular solutions feature smooth-gliding drawers made of mesh material for total visibility and accessibility.
Maximize your space
ClosetMaid Closet System
No matter how big your closet is, there’s probably lots of dead space that could be better taken advantage of. Get you a fancy closet system that’ll allow you to section off parts of your closet and truly utilize allllll that space.
Separate pieces by season, color, or clothing type with dividers
ERA Accents 30 Closet Dividers for Hanging Clothes
Take your beloved color-coordinated closet up a notch with…wait for it…color-coordinated dividers! Exciting stuff, folks!
Hanna Flanagan is the associate shopping editor at Cosmopolitan with four years of experience researching, writing, and editing stories that range from the best high-waisted jeans for women to Bridgerton season 2 lingerie dupes. She’s an authority in all fashion and lifestyle categories who regularly tests and analyzes products while working with the industry’s top design experts to assess new launches and spot trends.
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