No matter how many times you comb through your bedroom closet, carefully pulling dresses to donate and tossing mismatched socks, there never seems to be enough room. Our dreams of neatly arranged tops and orderly rows of shoes can quickly end up in a messy pile when our wardrobes exceed our storage space. However, your closet may be bigger than you think. If you’re folding pants, storing scarves inside drawers, and keeping out-of-season clothing on display, you could be wasting space. To maximize every square inch, we’ve rounded up some brilliant organizing techniques and the containers that make it easy to maintain them. With these strategies up your sleeve, your bedroom closet will feel surprisingly spacious.
1. Turn Towel Bars into Scarf Storage
When her collection of colorful scarves grew, Jennifer Bridgman, the blogger behind The Chronicles of Home, had to devise a new system to contain it. Her DIY solution: repurpose a wooden towel bar as a scarf holder. Once the bar was attached to a small blank closet wall, each scarf was looped on. To get the look in your own closet, simply pair a blank wall with an affordable towel bar.
CB2 24” Brass Towel Bar If you’re looking for an organizer that’s as stylish as the scarves it holds, opt for this chic brass bar. Add a couple matching brass hooks to hold totes and handbags.
2. Divide and Conquer Drawers
If drawers aren’t equipped with dividers, they easily become a mishmash of belts, socks, and undergarments to hunt through every morning. “When everything has its place, you’ll spend less time pawing through your clothes and accessories looking for what you want. An organized closet makes getting dressed and packing for trips a breeze!” says designer Annie Selke. Invest the time now to get your closet clutter under control, and you’ll save minutes every single morning. The first step: take inventory of what you own. “Be honest about the number of items you want to store,” she recommends, and then plan your storage system accordingly. Once these organizers are in place, you can kiss the formerly messy sock drawer adieu.
Slotted Interlocking Drawer Organizers Annie Selke swears by this customizable interlocking system. “Each square gets a single item, so everything is separated—perfect for socks and undergarments,” she explains.
Boobie Trap Bra Organizer To keep bras lined up neatly (and help them keep their shape), opt for this divider. Not only will this organizer extend the life of your bras, but you’ll also be able to easily spot the one you’re looking for.
3. Keep Off-Season Clothing Out of Sight
When Joy Cho of Oh Joy! asked the organizing gurus at Bneato Bar for help wrangling her closet, she learned a valuable lesson: Don’t display out-of-season clothing. Instead, she used storage boxes to hide seasonal gear that could be stashed out of the way. While this wouldn’t be a smart spot to store items you reach for every day, it’s an ideal place to tuck clothing you won’t wear for several months. Label each bin with a word, number, or color that will help you remember what’s stored inside.
Bisco Grey Woodgrain Storage Boxes A woodgrain finish and real leather handles make these storage boxes undeniably luxe.
4. Put Your Jewelry On Display
When Brighton Keller of Brighton the Day designed her dream walk-in closet, she decided to leave nothing to the imagination. “It was really important to me that I be able to see everything that I have. That way, it would be easier to put together outfits,” she explains. To make sure her jewelry was right where she could find it, Keller put a small blank wall to use. Once a couple transparent organizers were installed, she draped them with statement necklaces. Rather than take up valuable drawer space, these pretty accessories are now put on display, where they can double as decor.
11-Peg Acrylic Necklace Rack Keller appreciates that this clear acrylic rack doesn’t distract from the jewelry it holds. Outfitted with 11 pegs, each organizer can accommodate dozens of necklaces.
Aimee Jewelry Storage Hanging Mirror Part mirror, part necklace holder, this on-the-wall storage system adds some glam to your get-ready station. The ten hooks offer plenty of spots to store necklaces, bracelets, or hoops.
5. Related: We Tried Blue Lipstick—So You Don’t Have To
No it’s not just for Halloween—blue lipstick is actually a beauty trend. We’ve seen it all over Pinterest in various shades from sky blue to inky indigo. It may look dramatic and eye-catching on beauty bloggers, but what about those who aren’t makeup mavens? You could end up looking like an Avatar or cartoon character, or you could end up looking edgy and cool. We decided to the try the trend ourselves to help you, our readers, figure out if it’s a trend you’d want to try. Real Simple editors of all ages gave it a try—watch the video to check out our verdict.
6. Hang Pants Single File
If you typically fold your pants over the bar of a shirt hanger or hide them inside a drawer, then you’re not storing them in the most space-efficient way possible. Instead, Stephanie Mark, one of the co-founders of Coveteur, recommends hanging pants on ultra-thin skirt hangers. When folded over a shirt hanger, pants are bulkier, but when clipped at the top, you can store twice as many on the same bar. Most importantly, this storage method fits with Mark’s motto: “If you can’t see it, you won’t wear it.” When organized single file, each pair is easily found, shaving minutes off your morning routine.
Chrome Metal Add-On Skirt/Pant Hangers Not only are these metal clip hangers incredibly thin, but the add-on style lets you hang several pairs of pants from a single spot
Natural Wood Skirt Hangers Wooden hangers are guaranteed to give a closet a polished look. For less than $10, this chic addition will make your closet look like a million bucks.
7. Give Every Purse a Place
If your purse collection rivals your shoe collection, you may want to take a tip from Melissa George of Polished Habitat and buy or DIY some purse dividers. She crafted her wall-hanging acrylic clutch holders (find the full how-to here) over the course of a few afternoons. She also inserted custom-cut acrylic sheets into one compartment of the closet to give a separate slot for each purse. “Acrylic was the perfect material to keep things tidy, but still visible,” she explains. To get the look in your own closet, you can DIY acrylic dividers, or keep an eye out for transparent organizers, like our pick below.
Clear Shelf Divider See-through dividers keep purses, sweaters, or pants in their places. The transparent design lets you glimpse at what’s stored in each pile so you can find items faster.
8. Raise the Bar(s)
When Victoria Smith, editor of the interior design blog sfgirlbybay, finally got the walk-in closet of her dreams, she realized the space-saving potential of a two-tier design. By raising the top closet bar up near the ceiling, Smith was able to fit in a second row of hanging clothes below, doubling the space’s storage potential. Another bar attached to the wall holds bags, scarves, and necklaces suspended from s-hooks. To implement this system in your own closet, install an extra closet rod or a sturdy tension rod, then use a towel bar to hang accessories.
InterDesign Cameo Tension Rod If you don’t want to install a permanent closet rod, use this bronze tension rod to store lightweight tops or skirts.
VOXNAN Towel Rail This minimalist towel bar is just what you need for stashing accessories out in the open. Add a set of stainless steel s-hooks to your order, and your complete organizing system is ready to go.
9. Don’t Forget the Back of the Door
The back of your closet door is a wide open surface, just waiting to be put to work storing shoes or sorting scarves. Attach the right organizer and you’ll feel as though you just gained a few extra feet of closet space. This vinyl, over-the-door rack not only holds up to 10 pairs of shoes, but the transparent design makes each one easy to locate. Now all you’ll have to figure out is what to do with all of that open floor space that once held your shoe collection.
Over the Door Vinyl Shoe Rack
Umbra White Birdseye Over the Door Rack If your scarf collection rivals your shoe stash, invest in this rack with hooks. The adorable bird design will add interest to your closet, even when it’s not adorned with your prettiest patterned scarves.
10. Buy an Under-Shelf Basket
Below each shelf in your closet, there’s likely a few inches of unused space. To put that underutilized area to work, Melissa George of Polished Habitat decided to hang a couple under-shelf baskets. These shallow wire containers clip onto the edge of a standard shelf, without screws or hardware, and can hold everything from socks to spare toiletries. Once you add a couple of these floating containers to your closet, you’ll wonder why you ever let this area sit unused.
Under Shelf Baskets A simple wire basket will blend into the rest of your closet, while an open wire frame lets you peek at what’s stored inside. For less than $10, this affordable option is a small investment to make for a more functional closet.