Tips and Tricks for Organizing a Closet and a Printable Worksheet to Help.



Organizing a closet is never easy, especially if you have more stuff than available closet space.  I’ve had no choice but to force myself to get creative in organizing my closets because the closets in our home are pretty small.  To make matters even more challenging, we have very limited attic space and basically no additional storage areas.  I dream of huge closets with gorgeous custom built-ins that require very little effort in staying organized.  The reality is that I have been forced to get “closet creative”.

I recently tackled my 7-year-old daughter’s closet.  It’s been a source of frustration for everyone in our home.  If you have a little girl around this age, you know how easily the harmony of a home can be turned upside down if a certain Hello Kitty clutch bag can’t be located.  It was time to go from our “baby girl” closet, to our “we think we’re a big girl” closet.

I have a little “method to the madness” that I go through when I start to organize a closet.  I wanted to share my thought process hoping that it may help someone else who isn’t quite sure how, or where to start.  I even created a closet organization worksheet for you to print out if you’re looking for a little extra help on thinking through the process.   It’s not a perfect worksheet but I hope it will help with the process (click on the highlighted Closet Organization Worksheet-Printable to go to the page to print):


Closet Organization Worksheet-Printable 

So let’s jump right in to the steps that I take when conquering the dreaded closets:

1)      Getting Started

The hardest part of reorganizing a closet is getting started.  Most organization websites will tell you the first thing you need to do is to remove everything from the closet.  Yikes!! I completely disagree.  I personally think it’s actually the worst thing you can do right off the bat because reorganizing a closet effectively takes time. Like days! I promise you, It will work a lot easier if you take your time and work section by section so you can walk away and go back to it.  You don’t need to worrying about having to put everything back in the closet because something comes up or you get side-tracked.

Your main purpose to reorganizing a closet is to set it up in a way that it will stay organized.  The best way to do this is by taking your time and thinking through “trouble spots” and locating the right storage pieces.  If you remove everything from the closet, you will have a room somewhere turned upside down and it’s too tempting to just put everything back in and give up.

2)      Draw a Sketch of your Closet

 I have a large designated area on the printable worksheet above for plenty of room to sketch your closet.  Here is what my sketch looked like:

Having a “rough drawing” with you as you go through this process and look for new storage pieces online or in the stores will really help. Plus, you can sketch in new pieces and move things around on your sketch in pencil to determine what will work and what won’t.

3)      Assess your Trouble Spots

Look at your closet on a day that it is in its worst shape.  What seems to be on the floor?  Shoes, dirty clothes, bags, toys, sweaters, etc…  What’s causing the disarray? Chances are, whatever is hanging out on the floor or draped over shelves is probably your biggest trouble spot and you will probably need to come up with additional storage solutions for these particular items.

I have a spot on the worksheet for you to assess the trouble spots in order to help determine what type of additional storage pieces or solutions you’ll need to come up with as you reorganize.  For my daughter’s closet, we needed more drawer or folded space because now that she is 7, she is wearing more t-shirts, sweaters and sweats that work better folded.  We also saw that she had more little handbags than clothes {sigh}, and we needed to figure out a way to organize her little handbags so she could find them easily {hooray!}:


4)      Locate Areas of Wasted Space

Locate areas in the closet of wasted or poorly utilized space where you could add storage pieces or better maximize the space.  Highlight these areas on your sketch.   Consider moving existing storage pieces if need be and be sure and look at where clothes are hanging as well.  Consider even rearranging where you hang things in order to maximize space.

In my daughter’s closet, I realized that by simply moving her skirts up to the top hanging rod, I would create tons of new storage space for shoes:



In my closet, I realized that I was wasting so much space at the top of my closet that I could add more shoe shelving.  Shoes and handbags are my biggest trouble spots in my closet {like Mother, like daughter}:



5)  Take Good Measurements

Look at your possible areas for new storage spaces that you have located in the closet and  highlighted those areas on your sketch.  Take good measurements of this potential new space that you have to work with and write the dimensions on your sketch.

6)      Decide on Color Combinations

Matching the color of any new storage pieces with your existing shelving, storage and trim colors can give more of a well organized and built-in look. This is one of those small touches that can make a big difference in the end.

For standard inexpensive storage pieces, you’re pretty much limited to white, dark espresso brown and black.  Anything outside of these colors will be more challenging to locate. I painted the shelving in my own closet from white to dark brown so I could incorporate the dark espresso storage pieces from Target.  For my daughter’s closet, it was easy because everything is white.

7)  Finding the Right Storage Pieces

Now that you know what items need more storage in your closet and how much space that you have to work with, you’re ready to start trying to find the perfect storage pieces.  I like to first start by looking online at Target, Amazon and Lowe’s because all three of these websites have excellent online details on product dimensions and details. I can sit at the comfort of my desk and look through the hundreds of random storage pieces and run to the closet for a quick measurement if need be.

Also, think outside of the box when you look at potential new storage pieces, especially if you are having trouble finding the right pieces.  For instance, I used Closet Made shoe shelving in my daughter’s closet for folded items and the little stuff.  I also used it up top to store large totes {I have four large totes and a backpack stored on just one shelf!}:



If I need to see the color or the storage piece in person piece after I have narrowed down my choices, I will run to the store with my sketch and measurements.

8)  Purge the Closet

Before you add your new storage pieces, it will help if you go ahead and purge the closet of any unwanted items.  This is pretty easy for kid’s because they grow through clothes so quickly, but it’s harder for us adults.  A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn it or used it in a year, get rid of it {I know… Holding you now}

If you need help with how to purge a closet painlessly, you can check out my tips here.

9)    Work Section by Section

As you begin adding your new storage pieces and really start reorganizing, it works best to work section by section at a time instead of emptying out the whole closet.  You can step away for a day or two if you need to and you can better reorganize if you can see everything in the closet, how things hang or where things go.

As you begin working each section, pay attention to the little things that may need extra storage solutions like baskets, bins or hooks.  Make a list of those little things that could help keep your closet organized.

I also used a plastic bin to store my daughter’s flip-flops:


I used these baskets from the dollar section at Target for some of my daughter’s belts, accessories and jewelry:

10)    Finishing Touches

As you finish up with the closet reorganization, this is a good time to make any changes.  You now have all of the new storage pieces in your closet, your closet is purged and neatly organized and you can now see, touch and move things around just to see if a small move would make a big change in keeping you organized.

The last thing I do is change the lighting if I need more light in the closet and add any necessary finishing touches; such as a step ladder if you now have things stored up higher, or a cool rug just as a finishing touch:



I decoupaged these steps for my daughter’s closet now that things in her closet are a little higher:



It feels so good to get a closet organized.  My daughter is thrilled with her big girl closet and   no more handbag meltdowns!  I’m sure we will have new closet issues down the line as we always do but I have my little system that will get us through!

I know you all have some fantastic and creative closet solutions.  I would love for you to share them with us in the comment section below.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!



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77 Responses to Tips and Tricks for Organizing a Closet and a Printable Worksheet to Help.

  1. Alane says:

    Man, I am impressed! One thing, though. I think you need to discard that orange Tori Burch purse in your closet and send it to me. That shelf looks waaay to crowded and I have plenty of room in my closet (or over my shoulder) for it. Just sayin’…. : )

  2. Cathy says:

    Organizing closets and drawers are my most hated, hated chore! I feel inspired. You make it look so easy!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Cathy! Yep, I feel the same way! I have learned the hard way that if I really think through the space and get the right storage pieces, reorganizing down the line is a lot easier. Hope this post helps!

  3. Amanda Eck says:

    WOW! when can you come do mine 😉
    And I was sooo going to say the same thing about the Tory Burch purse- They have an “Amanda” bag that I have my eye one!

    • Cyndy says:

      The Amanda bag? I bet it’s absolutely fabulous just like you are my dear! You know, that’s a sign that you should have it, right? Thanks girl!

  4. Love, love, LOVE this! ‘Pinned’ the heck out of it too 🙂

    My Master Bedroom did not even HAVE a closet when I moved in {Gasp! Who builds a Master Bedroom addition onto a house, but doesn’t include a closet? A man, I’m sure…. Lol} – We’ve lived here a year now, and are just now getting to the closet project. We’re on a tight budget {tighter than my pre-baby jeans from 2 years ago, but that’s another story} – so I have to get super creative with how to fit everything in, and keep my OCD calm and happy with some good organization.

    I love the bin for flip flops, I love the idea of the storage up high, and just adore the color combo in both closets! {You can tell where your little miss got her great style from :)}

    Thanks so much for some fun inspiration – I am now super excited to get my closet re-done. I’m posting pics next month on my site too – I’ll come by and share our before & afters with ya!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you so much Meagan and thank you for pinning girl! I cannot even imagine not having a closet in my bedroom! Wow! You’re right, you’ll have to really get creative, maybe a large old wardrobe or armoire? You probably already have that and need more space. Yikes!! Yes, please come back and share your pics! Can’t wait to see them and good luck girl!

  5. wow wow wow – this little girls closet is AWESOME. I’m an up to my eyeballs in closet redo’s right now & your layout is just LOVELY & bright & HAPPY! THANKS FOR SHARING.

  6. I just came over from the A to Z link party and I have to say “woah!” This closet is amazing! Even with a lot in it, it still looks so organized! It’s definitely one of my goals for 2012 to get our closet in check. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Pop on over to my blog if you’d like! DIY galore!
    xo Megan

  7. Beth Morrow says:

    Have you ever watched the new reality show, The Amandas? You two have alot in common! Great ideas, wish you hired out…I need help!!! But I guess opening the closet door, looking inside, then shutting the door doesn’t get much done…I’m going in! Thanks!

  8. Lisa says:

    I can’t believe that you actually wrote this post just for me!! … Ha! Well it sure seems like you did anyway! I have been pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to make our little master bedroom closets work for us without ripping them down to the studs, and I think you may have just solved the problem! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    • Cyndy says:

      Yay!!! I’m so thrilled you can use the tutorial Lisa!! I am not a big fan of reorganizing a closet but I have found that if I really take the time to think things through, it will stay organized. Good luck girl and thank you so much for sweet comments!

  9. Nancy says:

    Beautiful!!! I’ve got 2 girls sharing a closet and we have had problems from day 1. I’ll be going over your worksheet and trying to make a miracle happen in there. Thank you!

  10. Hadley says:

    This is great! I have 2 girls sharing a closet, and am expecting baby #4 which means I’ll have a toddler boy and newborn girl sharing a closet. . . not to mention my closet! I have work to do!

    • Cyndy says:

      Wow! You have quite a challenge, plus, you probably do not much time on your hands to do this! The great thing is if you just take your time section by section, you’ll eventually get there. Good luck Hadley and congrats on #4.. Wow!

  11. Kristin says:

    I love the worksheet. I’m one that always takes everything out first and then its pure chaos!

  12. Sharon says:

    I used to take everything out, then lose steam and wind up with a disaster on my hands. I totally agree with going little by little so you don’t have to rush in the end and just throw things wherever they fit. I love the worksheet. Thanks for sharing it! I’m working on the de-clutter phase ever so slowly and then look forward to rearranging what’s left.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Im curious what the closet looked like before. It looks fabulous now! We have the same style closet as your daughter in our master, however it only has one bar and 2 shelves above the bar. Lots of wasted side space. I’d be interested to know if you added any additional bars or shelving, and if so how easy that project is. I’m afraid ours will need a some major work. Any tips or hints for that? Thanks for sharing your post!

    • Cyndy says:

      I didn’t add any hardware except the shoe shelving. I used the top and bottom rods which are still there and there was no space for shoes or bags. Adding a bar is not that hard, neither is adding shelving. I think if you drew out what you really need in a functional closet, you will be surprised just how easy it is. Good luck!

  14. Dorothea says:

    Great information! It makes me think I can actually do this…we’ll see ;.)

  15. Nuria says:

    I think is a great idea! this is one of my new year resolution! so thank for the tips!

  16. Kristy says:

    This is definitely inspiring for organizing my closet so thank you! =]
    I’m still in the process of organizing everything after moving back in with my parents, (But that’s another story altogether…)and I’m actually coming from my apartment where I didn’t have a closet at all! We only had one closet and I gave my roommate the closet ’cause she has way more clothes than anyone I know. I had a much better organization system there than I do here though, haha, so it’s definitely something I need to work on.

  17. Great post!

    (just FYI. #3 says “asses” and you probably want it to say “assess”).

  18. Thank you for sharing this. Very inspiring and I love the color coordination, too.

  19. Wendy says:

    This post could not have come at a better time! THANK YOU! It’s this weekend’s project!!

  20. breia says:

    I’m so glad I saw this on pinterest! My daughters closet really needs a makeover and you have inspired me! But not only for hers but mine too; I can’t believe I never thought of putting removable shelves at the top of my closet. Such a simple fix to the wasted space issue!

  21. Chrystyna says:

    Any tips on decoupaging the stool? We have that exact stool and it no longer matches.

  22. Kindall says:

    This is gonna be such a big help for me! Btw the closet with the animal print rug is identical to my closet. It’s like you took a pic of mine! I swear, same size, light, boards on the wall attached to the poles. It’s eerie haha.

  23. Marianne says:

    I am loving this tutorial! I am also loving that large pink bag in your daughter’s closet with the flowers on it. Do you remember where it is from?

  24. Cyndy says:

    Thank you Marianne! I picked up the oil cloth large tote at a little store on South Congress in Austin about a year ago. I looked and there is no label with a name. I have seen the oil cloth pattern before online at various oil cloth stores. If you like this look, you may want to check out the line Consuela because it has the same look. You could search online too for oil cloth totes as I know there are several ETSY stores that specialize in fun oil cloth bags. Good luck and thanks!

  25. Ok…this is pure heaven. I have an 8 1/2 year old girl … going on 15…and I can’t wrap my brain around her closet/dresser explosion! I purged her drawers today, but I’m at a total loss with the closet! I will be going over your printable. Hopefully I can figure something out! Thanks for the inspiration. Cheers!

  26. Jayne says:

    thx so much for your inspiring tips. I agree, emptying the closet is mind boggling to me & I just lose steam. Much better to think through it as you go. Thanks for your tips. Jayne

  27. Jayne says:

    Thanks for your inspiring tips. I agree – it’s better NOT to empty your closet – it just boggles my mind & I lose interest. Thanks again for your time & inspirations. Jayne

  28. Tatiana says:

    This are – for sure- the best “how to organize your closet” post I have ever seen! You do a wonderful job, your daughter is very luck to have a closet like that! Keep going on with your work, it is pretty great! And I really mean that, I never leav a coment for anyone 😛

  29. Sabrina says:

    Great ideas. I too have a smaller home and believe that with a little creativity you can have a closet that is functional and you can fit everything you want in it without spending little to no money. Thanks for sharing. Great pics as well.

  30. Libby says:

    There are some great tips. My biggest problem with my daughter’s closet is that closet door is 24 inches wide, but the actual closet is about 68 inches wide. Right now there is one long bar and 2 shelves. Do you have any suggestions on how to make it more organized? I love all the color in your daughter’s closet.

  31. Alicia says:

    My only concern for my own closet is can the top shelf hold all that additional shelving plus the items in it. Did you have to add supports?

  32. Jessica says:

    Hello, this is awesome awesome awesome… I have a 2 year old and a 10 month old sharing a closet and I just wanted to know if you used closet made shoe shelves for most of the closet? Their closet has the same set up but for the shelves in the mid section of your daughters closet you used shoe shelves? just want to make sure what kind to get for my girls closet… Love this!!!!

  33. Jennifer says:

    Wow. This is awesome. Thank you! I am a very step-by-step thinker, and I have struggled with my kids’ closets for a while. I usually go for the dump-everything-out method, and I always end up getting frustrated! Hmm… is there anything else you can help me organize??? Lol! Thank you again for sharing!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Jennifer! What a sweet note! As a matter of fact, I have several more organizational projects coming up for back to school and tips for purging your closet. Maybe there will be something in those posts to inspire you! It is so frustrating to organize a closet but once you do power through and get it done, you’ll stick with it! Thanks again Jennifer for stopping by! Cyndy

  34. T says:

    I love your daughters closet! We moved onto our new rental house in April when we were existing twin girls, we sadly lost them in June, they were still born. It’s now August & I’ve put off cleaning out their closet to reorganize it to work for storage for my 2 home based businesses! I’ve also put off trying to make our tiny closet & our 5 year old diva (who’s autistic & EXTREMELY picky about everything & who doesn’t do well with ANY change at all! Your post has reaffirmed that it’s possible & also showed me that some of the ideas floating around in my head could actually work! Even my husbands inspired

  35. Leslie says:

    This is fabulous!! What are the dimensions of your daughter’s closet? I’m in the process of building one for my daughter and I like how everything fits in hers.

  36. Bing says:

    Awesome children’s closet! I love the idea! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  37. Elizabeth says:

    You won me over with your first tip – to NOT pull everything out. All the tips are great advice, so thank you. Your article has provided such useful tips that I’m now motivated to tackle the closet; something that has been on my mind for the last few months.

  38. Cyndy, this is the best post I’ve seen for organizing a closet- I’m definitely featuring it next week! I’m drooling over here!

  39. vicky walmsley says:

    I just came across this on Pinterest and I have to comment! I love the tips etc but I must point out that is NOT a small closet!! I feel seriously envious whenever I see American blogs on closet and storage space! I live in a flat near London and if I showed you the size of my closet I think you would die!! Its so small I couldn’t organise it if I tried!! xx

  40. Riechan says:

    Hi! Thankyou so much for the tips! My mum and I share 1 closet with 1/3 part for folded pieces and 2/3 for hanging pieces. I redid that closet a hundred time but it still ends up being a mess :s I did bought some boxes for scarves and for shoes. I have something hung on the door for bags but 1 of the top shelves are also to store bags. Also the 1/3 part is rather deep and high shelves so everything ends up on a high tower … I’m going to use your tips and reorganize again! thanks ^^

  41. Liz says:

    Wow!!! Sooo impressive! I so need this!! Thank you so much for sharing. I too am struggling with my 9 yr old daughter closet and this will definitely help get me (both of us) on the road to civilization! Thank you!

  42. halima says:

    keep me posted on any updates

  43. Ana says:

    my only suggestion would be colour coding for added “organization”…I find it easier once clothes are washed and folded, to put them away according to colour (faster for youngsters helping, too).
    WARM colours: Red/Pink, Orange, Yellow
    COOL colours: Blue/Aqua/ Teal/Violet/Purple
    NEUTRAL colours: Green/Beige/Brown
    OTHER: Grey/White/Black

  44. Mayra Campbell says:

    I usually don’t comment on pinterest stuff, but I can’t stop looking at your pictures of your closet. Your closet is about the same size and shape as mine so this is awesome!!! If only you can come do it for me. Thank you for posting this! Any other tips and where you got your stuff will be appreciated.

  45. cassaundra says:

    been looking around for a clear solution for children’s closet storage. I have a children’s fashion blog and I think your tips would be just what my readers need this spring! thank you for sharing!

  46. Tristen says:

    Where did you get the shoe shelves?

  47. Hilliary says:

    Only down side is some of those things are particle board. BUT It’s a great idea and they’re pretty easy to make. I think I’ll go by home depot and get my shoe organizing on.

  48. Sofia says:

    I LOVE this!
    I have a question: Your bags and shoes not gather dust on the shelves?
    Sorry for my bad english.
    I love what you do there!

  49. Aura says:

    Thanks for this post! I’ve been itching to upgrade my daughter’s closet but get lost at IKEA with all the options. I will say this…I received a super cute 3Sprouts elephant canvas storage bin (personalized with her name!) as a shower gift and it has been the best way to corral her ever expanding stuffed animal collection.

  50. Lau says:

    Love this organisation a lot !
    Except for putting shoes with clean clothes (not very hygienic).
    Any idea to build independant shoes storage ? 😉
    Thanks !

  51. Kali Humphrey says:

    I’d be lost with-out this great and inspiring guide. I have 2 (small) closets in my bedroom that have been the same since the 80’s. I’m trying to re-vamp but its hard to get going on a low budget with Alot of shoes lol. I was starting to just take everything out & see what I could do, but you saved me from myself. Taking it item by item is soo much more manageable & not completely overwhelming like most organizing can be. If not for your tips I probably would’ve stopped organizing & started a bottle of wine. Now I can enjoy a glass of wine & cheers to you & my new closet space 😉 P.S Isn’t it wonderful to see ALL the shoes are in one space? (Instead of one of every shoe ALL over the place) Thanks a Bunch <3

  52. audrea says:

    Hello! I just found this on Pinterest. Seriously, that looks like heaven to a mom with add an dyslexia!! The closet I mean! I really have a problem with being organized. It’s been a prob all my life. Now my two boys are not organized esp. my 10y.o. His closet is a total utter disaster! I could send pics if you would look @ them an suggest anything? He has prob 10-12 lrg nerf guns that are awkward an heavy. Then a ton of toys on floor an in a bin shelf. He keeps everything he can. I have purged several times but have just given that up last yr! I’m determined to organize this closet an rm! Thanks for the great tips! It sounds doable!

  53. This design is steller! You definitely know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start
    my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented
    it. Too cool!

  54. mk says:

    WOW! Thank you! I took a break from doing my closet and should have found this sooner 🙂 I especially like how you organized the barbies!

  55. Beulah says:

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that this website needs a great deal more attention.
    I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the advice!

  56. Nicole @ WKH says:

    These are some wonderful ideas to organize a closet! I need to organize both my closet and my son’s. Our closet is split in two because we have a strange storage area/closet in our room and a closet in our bathroom. I think there is so much GOOD space there but so unused at the same time! I need to purge a lot and I think getting things organized when help me realize some new outfits and whatnot that I already have hidden in my closet.

    Nicole @ WKH

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  58. Martha says:

    I absolutely love your design!!!! Where did you get the selves? Could you please provide me a link?

    Thank you!

  59. Martha says:

    I absolutely love your design!!!! Where did you get the shelves? Could you please provide me a link?

    Thank you!

  60. Charlotte says:

    Hey I love the tips that are posted. I began searching for ways to organize a small closet because I’m moving into a new apartment with very little storage space. What do you think I should do when it comes to purchasing storage items for a place I do not own?

  61. HILDA RENDON says:

    It sounds like a very good idea, and I am going to put it in practice. I also organize my closet with colors, but the purging is an issue. I think that doing the 3 or 4 sweeps sounds like a good plan. I have the same problem, small closets, not storage space, and a lot of stuff (we love).

    I’ll let you know how it goes.

    thanks for the tips!

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