Real Closet Makeover: From Cluttered to Ultra-Organized

A cluttered, disorganized closet can be a major source of daily frustration. But with some time and effort, it’s possible to transform that jumbled mess into a serene, ultra-organized space. Here’s how to give your closet a complete makeover.

Assess the Current State of Your Closet

The first step in any closet makeover is to take stock of what you’re currently working with.

  • Remove every item from the closet and sort into categories like clothes, shoes, accessories, linens, etc. As you sort, get rid of anything you no longer use or want. Donate or recycle these items.
  • Look at what storage solutions you currently have in place. Do you have enough shelves, racks, and drawers? Are they being used effectively?
  • Identify problem areas like crowded floors, cluttered shelves, or items that don’t have a proper home.
  • Measure the overall dimensions of the closet as well as any existing storage components. Having these measurements will make shopping for new organizational tools much easier.

Set Goals for the New Closet

Now that you have a clear vision of your closet’s current state, it’s time to think about your goals for its new incarnation. Consider the following:

  • How do you want the space to function? Maximize hanging storage? More room for folded clothes and shoes?
  • What daily pain points do you want to solve? Eliminate wasted time searching for items? Reduce clutter on the floor?
  • What aesthetics are you going for? Simple and streamlined? Lots of color coordination? A certain style like modern or farmhouse?
  • Are there any new activities you’d like to enable? A dressing area for getting ready? A gift wrapping station?

Make a Plan

With your goals and measurements in mind, you can now start mapping out the specifics of your new organized closet.

  • Decide where key zones and components like hanging rods, shelves, drawers, and baskets should go. This will create intuitive flow.
  • Sketch out ideas or create a digital layout so you can visualize the finished project.
  • Make a shopping list of all the organizational tools and storage containers you’ll need to execute your plan. Having this ready will make purchasing much more efficient.

Edit and Organize Clothing

Before transferring clothes back into your redesigned closet, take the opportunity to edit and organize them for optimal use of space.

  • Only keep pieces you wear frequently and love. Donate the rest.
  • Group clothing by category and subtype. For example, tops could be broken into long sleeve blouses, sleeveless tanks, sweaters, etc.
  • Use space-saving storage methods like rolling or folding clothes vertically into drawers.
  • Invest in closet organizational tools like slim hangers, shelves with built-in dividers, and lightweight storage bins.

Install New Closet Organizers and Storage

With your edited clothes at the ready, it’s time to build out the physical components that will make your new organized closet possible.

  • Add new hardware like additional rods and shelves according to your plan. Consider custom closet systems that can be configured to your space.
  • Incorporate specialized organizational products like drawer inserts, shelf dividers, shoe racks, tie and belt racks, and accessory trays.
  • Make use of vertical space with floor-to-ceiling rods and shelves. Install hooks on the backs of doors.
  • Include lighting elements like battery-operated LED strips to ensure all areas of the closet are brightly and evenly lit.

Categorize and Contain Accessories

Jewelry, scarves, belts and other accessories quickly become a jumbled mess without smart storage solutions.

  • Invest in a jewelry organizer with segmented trays, hooks, and compartments for earrings, necklaces, rings, etc.
  • Use slim, vertical drawer organizers to neatly sort and separate delicate accessories.
  • Opt for see-through storage like acrylic boxes and mesh pouches so you can easily see contents.
  • Group accessories by type and style. Contain these categories in matching boxes with labels for quick identification.

Store Shoes in a Visible, Logical Way

Shoes take up a lot of precious real estate. Make them more manageable with these tips:

  • Install floor-to-ceiling shelving racks to take advantage of all available vertical space.
  • Use simple shelf dividers or buy specialized shoe cubbies to corral pairs side-by-side. This prevents tipping and slipping.
  • Categorize by heel type, season, or primary color to create logical groupings.
  • Add storage just for shoe care items like polishes and cleaners so they’re not cluttering the bottom of the closet.

Designate Space for Linens and Luggage

Don’t let bulky bedding compete with clothing for shelf space. Instead:

  • Stash sheets, towels and blankets on open shelving above shorter hanging clothes.
  • Use luggage racks mounted on the wall or ceiling to lift suitcases off the floor.
  • Store off-season items like winter comforters in vacuum storage bags to minimize their footprint.
  • Add wicker baskets or bins to neatly corral items; label the fronts so contents are clear.

Install Closet Organizing Systems

For the most streamlined aesthetic and customized organization, install a closet organizing system. These kits include matching shelves, drawers, rods and hardware so you can truly build your storage solution from the ground up. Benefits include:

  • Components are fully adjustable to make the most of available closet space.
  • A unified look for a tidy, cohesive feel.
  • Specialty add-ons available like jewelry drawers and belt racks.
  • Can be adapted as needs change by adding new elements.

Maintain the New Organized Closet

The work doesn’t end once the physical makeover is finished. You’ll need to adopt habits to maintain the polished organization of your redesigned closet space.

  • Make a rule that nothing can hit the closet floor. Use baskets or trays to catch incoming items.
  • Return clothes to their designated hanging or folding sections every night.
  • Do a quick straighten-up whenever you take something out or put something away.
  • Set reminders to tidy shelves, wipe down surfaces, and vacuum the floor monthly.
  • Re-evaluate the system once or twice per year and make adjustments as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a closet makeover take?

It depends on the size of your closet and the extent of the organizational systems you put in place, but plan on devoting a full weekend or several weekends to complete a full makeover.

What are the biggest impacts of an organized closet?

You’ll save time getting ready each day, reduce stress over locating items, lengthen the life of clothes through proper storage, and gain satisfaction from the tidy, serene space.

How much does it cost to organize a closet?

The investment can range from $100-$500+ for a small closet up to $1,000-$5,000 for a large, fully-customized walk-in closet. The specific cost depends on the organizers and storage elements you select.

Should I sort clothes by season or color when organizing?

Grouping by season is generally more practical, ensuring you can access weather-appropriate attire at any given time. Grouping by color can create a pretty aesthetic but takes more maintenance. Choose the method that best aligns with your functional needs and style preferences.

What are the best shelves for organizing a closet?

Look for adjustable, close-mesh wire shelving that allows you to customize shelf height. Sturdy solid wood or composite boards also work well for folded clothing and storage bins.

How do I organize a small closet?

Make the most of limited space with vertical storage via hanging rods and tall shelves, slim storage bins and organizers, space-saving hangers, and multi-purpose furniture like storage ottomans and over-the-door racks.


Giving your cluttered closet a comprehensive makeover takes time, effort and investment. But the payoff is huge. By thoroughly assessing your needs, setting clear goals, editing your belongings, installing optimized storage solutions and maintaining new habits, you can create a closet that makes your daily routine easier and brings you joy every time you open the door. Aim for an organized closet that doesn’t just look pretty, but functions flawlessly for your lifestyle.