Here's How The Container Store's Pro Stylists Would Organize Your Closet

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Ready or not, spring cleaning season is upon us. We've already spilled a lot of ink on the topic of organization — from how to organize your kitchen like a professional chef to how to keep your bathroom looking spotless to how to store cleaning supplies but today, we're tackling arguably the most dreaded organizational problems: how to organize your closet.

To break it down, we turned to none other than the pros at The Container Store. Ahead, Lauren Hill, The Container Store's divisional merchandise director, breaks down how to create an organizational system that really works (so you don't need to reorganize your closet in six months). Here she shares the most common closet organization mistakes people make, the best tools and products to whip a disorderly closet into shape, and, most importantly, the best way to get started.

Hunker: What's the first thing you think about when organizing a closet?

Lauren Hill (LH): I always think about the client's lifestyle, their wardrobe, and how we can customize a closet for their needs. Do they have a lot of jewelry, accessories, shoes? What custom pieces will best suit them? If someone is a big shoe lover, we have customizable shoe shelving to maximize space and fit all different types of shoes. Someone who has a lot of jewelry can utilize Stackers Jewelry Storage, which are modular to utilize vertical space and have different sized compartments for every kind of jewelry.

Hunker: What are the top three qualities every organized closet should have?

LH: The first step to organizing your closet is to declutter your wardrobe. Donate, recycle or sell your items that you don't wear anymore so you can make proper space for your favorite pieces. A closet that is full of unused items will end up in disarray and do a disservice to the pieces you really love and use on a regular basis.

Proper shoe storage is a must-have in every organized closet. Shoes can quickly overwhelm a closet if you don't have the right pieces to organize them, so really take a look at your inventory to decide which system will work for you and your shoe needs.

A diverse selection of hangers, drawers, and bins to keep everything in its place. When organizing a closet, you really have to maximize space and choose pieces that fit your lifestyle. It isn't one-size-fits-all, so make sure you're mixing up products that fit your wardrobe.

Hunker: When it comes to organizing a particularly small closet, where do you start and what elements do you consider?

LH: For a small closet, you really have to maximize every inch of space and do so efficiently. Most standard built-in closets do not utilize space efficiently, so a custom closet really is the best way to get the most out of your small space. If a custom closet space is not an option, there are additional ways to maximize your closet: Using our space-saving velvet hangers and a double hang closet rod, you can maximize the vertical space using hanging compartments and shelves. Hooks and free-standing shelves are a great way to use unused vertical and door space.

Hunker: What are your tips for maintaining an organizational system so you don't need to reorganize your closet in six months?

LH: When designing your closet, be realistic about what is doable to keep up and think about your day-to-day life. Keep your most-used pieces readily accessible and out-of-season or special occasion pieces further out of reach. We're big fans of the one in, one out rule. That is, if you buy a new piece, you have to get rid of an old one to keep your closet efficient and organized.

Hunker: What's the most common closet organizational mistake you see people make? How can others avoid this?

LH: Buying the wrong organizational products. When purchasing products for your closet, make sure they make sense for your closet, your aesthetic, and your needs. Make a plan for what you really need, then buy products with similar aesthetics or color palettes to really streamline your space.

Also, not grouping items together. To get really organized, you need to group your belongings together, so everything has a designated space. Jeans in one place, jackets in another. Everything should have a home based on which items you use the most in your day-to-day life.

Hunker: What organizational tools and products can help whip a disorderly closet into shape?

LH: Clear up floor space by installing elevated drawers, wall hooks, and floating shelves.

Some recommended products:

Additionally, add over the door storage — it's underutilized in every home! It's the free space of the closet!

Some recommended products:

Also, bins are a great way to hide the clutter that could be visible if you don't have a closet. Incorporating several of the same style also makes a space look cohesive and organized.

Some recommended products:

Hunker: Any other tips for organizing a closet?

LH: Use slim-profile hangers. Their flat, slender shapes save space and look cohesive on a clothing rack to emulate a closet. Velvet and rubberized finishes provide non-slip functionality.

Some recommended products:

A freestanding drawer system is a sleek way to hide clutter while staying accessible and provides the storage space of a closet. Stackable ones let you customize them to your space and organizational needs.

Some recommended products include:


Megan Beauchamp is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in MyDomaine, House Beautiful, Bustle, and Brit + Co., among others.

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