Closet with tops organized in a color rainbow

Don’t Buy a Closet Organizer. Try These Ideas Instead

Here’s how to organize your closet without wasting money on gadgets.

Image: Living Better With Less

These DIY closet organizing ideas can turn that helter-skelter space into the most helpful corner of your house.

Here’s how to organize a closet in cost-effective ways that’ll make you do the happy dance:

Create Grab-and-Go Bins

White closet packed with neatly organized cleaning supplies Image: Meg Markland of NEAT by Meg

It’s easy enough to sort your cleaning supplies on organizing day. But then you grab and put back, grab and put back, and two weeks later, the window cleaner is MIA again.

Organizing closet items into labeled bins by task makes everything easier. Then, when it’s cleaning time, tote the whole bin along. Everything you need for your to-do will be right there — and it’ll return to the shelf just as tidy as it was before. 

Bonus: Corral those mops and brooms with a hanging organizer, and watch your floor become visible (and clean) again.

Linen closet with toiletry items thrown every which way BEFORE
Linen closet organized with baskets, bins, and labels AFTER
Image: Lisa Boncich of Organizing NY and Realty Connect USA

Put Labels on Your Bins

If linen closets only held linens, they’d be easy. But since they manage everything from dental floss to beach towels, smart use of space is critical. To know what’s in every inch, use labels on baskets, bins, and plastic mini-drawers.

Another space-savvy solution: Spin your way to the back of the shelf with a Lazy Susan.

Retrofit Some Pull-Out Shelves

Stainless steel fridge beside cupboard with roll out drawers Image: Nicole Loiterstein, NEAT Method

Pull-out shelves make every inch of your cupboards count.

No more can’t-reach corners. Nothing quietly expiring behind a blockade of cereal boxes. 

To simplify even more, organize pull-out shelves by purpose or meal: breakfast or dinner items, cans, baking supplies, etc.

You don’t need a custom-cabinet makeover to get pull-out shelves. Grab a kit from the hardware store. It’s quick to install — and totally worth it on a groggy Saturday morning when the pancake mix is just a slide away.

Closet full of toys haphazardly thrown inside BEFORE
Playroom closet full of toys organized in clear bins AFTER
Image: Neat by Nina

Sort Toys Into Clear Boxes

The before photo screams, “Moooooom, I can’t find my…”

And the after? Not only will the kids be able to find things themselves, but this system also makes clean-up easy. (Er, easier, at least — a parent can dream, right?)

Clear, labeled storage bins put everything within view. Changing the shelf heights to match the containers boosts the space’s productivity and makes it easier to see which bins go where.

Easy-to-update chalk labels can evolve along with the kids’ interests.

Poorly organized master closet with white walls BEFORE
Neatly organized master closet with gray walls AFTER
Image: Stacy's Savings

Hack an IKEA System

Master closets are hard workers, often storing clothes for more than one person, for more than one season.

Get the look and function of a custom closet without the custom price. Turn an IKEA system like PAX into a closet that will streamline your life.

Do a thoughtful analysis of what will go in it and where to maximize space with just the right number of shelves, drawers, and hanging rods. The best part? Make it look built-in by adding molding at the top and bottom of each unit. Future buyers will love it just as much as you do.

Chaotic hall closet awaiting organization BEFORE
Well organized closet with wrapping paper, boxes and shelves AFTER
Image: Ellery Designs

Customize a Catch-All Closet

Ah, the catch-all closet. Jack-of-all-trades, clearly not the master of anything.

Tame your do-it-all closet with these organizing ideas:

  • A back-of-the-door rack maximizes space and is perfect for small items.
  • A big ol’ basket or trunk corrals bottom-of-closet clutter.
  • And buckets are perfect for mid-sized, grab-and-go items. Just remember to label them.

Organize Your Closet by Color

Closet with tops organized in a color rainbow Image: Living Better With Less

Chaos is hard on your brain. Order is pleasing. And so is color. Behind all the bins and pull-outs and pegboards, organization is just about making your stuff more visually digestible and easy to access. Sorting by color does both — and it’s pretty, too!

Related:

More Savvy Ways for Closet Organizing

Your Inner Child Will Love these Creative Ways to Organize

Organize shelf in kitchen with yellow pots and cookbooks

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