Organizing a closet doesn't have to be about spending a lot of money. Instead of investing in expensive custom cabinets or hiring someone to organize on your behalf, invest a little time instead. You can optimize your closet, so it stores as much as possible on a budget.
Clear That Clutter
It's impossible to organize a closet without first clearing out the clutter. Remove everything on the closet floor, such as shoes or boxes, then vacuum or dust the floor. Clear out anything else in the closet that you no longer wear or need, such as outdated clothing, shoes you haven't worn in five years and items that no longer fit. Donate these to a local nonprofit, if possible, so someone else can appreciate them. Take everything off the shelves, carefully dust the empty shelves, then decide whether you really need those things that ate up all that space. The closet should have plenty of space now for various organizational items to help keep clutter at bay.
Instead of buying a pricey closet organization system, visit thrift stores, yard sales or even your attic for furniture that fits into the space. A dresser from a baby nursery, a bookcase or a filing cabinet offers plenty of space to stash folded T-shirts, seasonal clothing or even a massive collection of shoes.
Measure the depth and width of the closet, plus the amount of space beneath items on hangers, to determine how much room is available for added storage furniture. Once you've measured and found the perfect piece, clean it up or even paint it to match the closet. Feel free to add decals depicting what goes into each drawer or on each shelf, such as shorts, swimwear or sweaters; this helps ensure organization, especially for a child putting his or her own clothes away.
Fabric storage bins, available at most department and discount stores, can help keep things organized in just about any closet. Purchase patterned or colorful bins to add a hint of style to the space. If you're sharing a room or keeping winter and summer accessories separate, for instance, bins with different patterns or colors make it easier to determine what's in each, or you can add labels to the bin fronts. Store the bins on closet shelves, or on the shelves of a bookcase stashed in the closet.
Shoes can easily eat up lots of that available closet space, especially on the floor. Keep shoes you wear often on an inexpensive bookshelf-style shoe rack, within easy access of the closet door. Store shoes seldom worn inside clear plastic shoe boxes to keep them dust-free; this also makes it easier to see what's inside.
Over-the-door plastic shoe organizers also help tame footwear clutter, plus they're great for so many other things, too. Stash sports socks or hats in them, or rolled-up T-shirts or workout wear. They're also ideal for a craft closet, useful for everything from yarn to scissors or rolls of craft wire.
Keep clothes organized without spending any money at all, unless you need more hangers. Group apparel by category, such as dress shirts, skirts or casual wear. Keep the items you wear the most up front, within easy reach. Organize items by color as well; for instance, hang all the blue dress shirts sequentially in a closet. This makes it a lot easier to find the item you really want to wear when there's barely any time to search through the closet.
Wrangle belts, scarves or necklaces with a few simple storage hacks that take up little space. Hang belts or scarves from shower hooks, then hang the hooks on the closet rod. Save even more space by attaching the hooks to a hanger, keeping all such accessories in the same easy-to-find spot. A towel bar attached to the inside-facing side of a closet door offers another way to store necklaces, scarves or belts.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.