How to Maximize Your Closet Space
Your closet can be a storage powerhouse, but without the right organizational strategies and storage products it can quickly become a chaotic mess. The easiest way to prevent the former from becoming the latter? Enlist the help of a professional—or, at the very least, organize exactly the way they do.
To help you do so, we tapped Monica Leed, the CEO and owner of Simply Spaced; she is passionate about shifting her clients from the "overwhelmed" to "overjoyed" category as they simplify and create storage solutions for their home. Specifically, we asked her to elaborate on how to maximize the existing space you have, since a full-blown renovation likely isn't an option. Drawing from the information in her new book, Simply Spaced, Clear the Clutter and Style Your Life ($19.88, amazon.com), Leed explained her best tips and tricks for making event the smallest of closets feel expansive—and equipped to hold all of your clothes, shoes, bags, and hats with ease. These tips run the gamut; some are as granular as manually labeling hangers by clothing category, while others involve identifying bigger issues, like wasted horizontal or vertical space—and then finding ways to fill those holes.
Looking for more inspiration to begin your organizational journey? Pick up Leed's book for more expert tips, storage tools, and insights on how to think like a professional organizer. The book is about as comprehensive as it gets: It includes checklists, worksheets, advice, and her exact methodology, along with 15 things to let go of right now for each space in your home.
Label with Tags
"One of the best ways to maintain an organized closet is by using label tags to keep yourself accountable," Leed. To do so, put a system in place to keep it organized long-term. Leed recommends using closet rod dividers to sort and label common categories such as pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, and coats.
"Corral pretty items like sunglasses, perfumes, accessories, and jewelry on a tabletop in pretty dishes or a tray to keep your closet clutter-free," Leed advises. Extras should be grouped together by category and moved to another location, such as a bathroom vanity drawer.
Put Clutches on Shelves
Skip the drawers and baskets and keep clutches together and stored on high shelves for easy access, says Leed. "Use acrylic dividers to organize and separate," she adds. Doing so will help you create small zones within the closet, which is critical; designating a specific spot for things like clutches, purses, and scarves makes it easy to find them when you need them—and even easier to return to them to the correct spot when you're done with them.
Use Stacking Shoe Bins
"Make the most of awkward closet corners and space under hanging clothing by using stacking shoe bins to store shoes, hats, gloves, and accessories," Leed explains. This technique allows you to maximize the vertical and horizontal space that is often wasted in a closet.
Add Storage as Needed
It's important to establish a home for every item, and then work at keeping those pieces in their dedicated places. Label small boxes that are easy to manipulate (as opposed to cumbersome crates) and fill them with out-of- season items like hats and gloves, "or keep some handy for mementos, or small accessories," Leed says. Placing items in marked boxes also makes it easy to look and see what you have in the closet; it also prevents that top-shelf avalanche as you search for a winter hat.
Keep a Donation Bin at the Ready
Ideally, cleaning out your closet shouldn't be an annual event. "Designate an extra hamper, bin, or basket for donations and train your mind to edit your closet often," Leed says. Give a landing spot to clothes that no longer serve you and take it to your local shelter or charity of choice when full.
File Fold Your Clothes
"Fold your clothing accordion style, rather than stacked, so you can easily see your items. Use drawer dividers to keep clothing tidy," Leed suggests. Improving accessibility to these items makes your closet more efficient and keeps it tidy—plus, you'll eliminate having to dig for your favorite pair of denim.
If you also store makeup in your closet space—or have a vanity situated in your walk-in—get into the habit of unboxing them as soon as possible, and storing them in clear acrylic stacking bins or drawers, Leed recommends. Clunky boxes and packaging waste space. Best of all, this tip is actually applicable to just about anything you store in the space: "Apply this habit to new clothes and anything from the dry cleaners. Don't leave shopping bags and packaging in the closet," Leeds says.
Store Hats Correctly
"Did you know that the best way to store hats is upside down on their crown, not on the brims?" Leed adds. The gist: Do not stack and store your hats. "Edit your hats down to the ones you love and wear most often. If you're concerned about dust getting inside you hat, then opt for a hat box," she suggests.
Toss out the mismatched hangers you've collected over the years and start fresh. "Don't underestimate the power of one set of hangers to keep your closet looking clean and stylish," Leed says. "Opt for wooden hangers if you are a curated minimalist, and slimline hangers if you are a maximalist or have limited space." This will help you feel more calm when you look into your closet each day.