There's lots of storage potential hiding back there.
Credit: James Ransom

When it comes to storage, we tend to favor "the more space, the better" philosophy. If you have a deep closet, however, you may find yourself struggling to optimize all that space that's out of arm's reach without turning it into a storage graveyard. Luckily, there are ways to do it. We asked a few organization experts for their best advice for organizing a deep closet-and harnessing its full storage potential-whether in the bedroom, entryway, or your children's playroom.

Think in Rotations

If deep closets have made it impossible to access items further back, try using that to your advantage. In other words, store what you don't need or use as often in the back and keep more day-to-day items up front, says Kendra Stanley of Healthy Organizing, a personalized organizing service. "The clothes you wear the most should be the most accessible and organized by season," Stanley tells us. "Special occasion items can also be stored deeper back." You can also rotate items by need in kids' closets, depending on their age and what toys or clothing items they've outgrown or are not yet ready for. "As far as clothing goes, only the size they are currently wearing should be accessible," says Stanley. "The rest can go into clear plastic bins, labeled by age or size, and stored either deeper in the closet or on top of a high shelf."

Keep the Floor Clean

It may be tempting to store less frequently used items on the bottom of your closet shelves, but Cynthia Kienzle of The Clutter Whisperer, an organizing service, advises otherwise. "Keeping the floor clear is key to being able to walk into the closet freely. Plus, it will make the closet feel a lot more welcoming when the floor is not jammed with stuff," she says. Furthermore, Kienzle notes that items on the floor are not only harder to see and access but they'll quickly collect dust. For shoes, consider storing seasonal pairs away, in clear plastic bins, or using a hanging shoe bag to keep them off the floor. Store day-to-day pairs by the entryway or door. For anything else, Kienzle says to reconsider your need for them in the first place.

Use Labeled Bins

As both experts have mentioned, clearly labeled storage bins are your best friend when it comes to decluttering and maximizing space in a deep closet. Whether storing batches of extra toiletries, old baby necessities, or stacks of winter sweaters in the back of your closet, Stanley says, "It is crucial to be able to see what items are where." Keeping the items you don't regularly use in order will also save you time and stress when it comes time to accessing or swap them out. Closed bins also make for easy stacking and moving, come in all shapes and sizes, and can be reused anywhere around the home.

Don't Forget the Door

Your closet door isn't just for hiding storage; instead, think of it as an extra wall for hooks and other hanging organizers. "It's valuable real estate which is often overlooked," says Kienzle. And while many people may default to hanging a 16-pocket shoe organizer on the door, Kienzle says this can quickly look messy. "I prefer using the Elfa closet door rack system, which is perfect for smaller items like sunglasses, small purses, belts, hats, gloves, scarves, and more."

Store a Stool Nearby

To avoid straining on your tippy toes to reach a bin higher up, Kienzle also recommends keeping a lightweight folding step stool in the closet, like this one from Target. "It's a small investment that will make higher shelves easier to access," she says. "And you can keep shelves neater when you can reach them."


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