Closet Makeovers Series Part 2: Closet Organization

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my closet! (that I share with another girl)

my closet! (that I share with another girl)

For part two of the Closet Makeovers Series, let's talk about closet organization.

First things first, I wanted write a little followup to my last post on cleaning out your closet. While my article advocated getting rid of clothes you never wear, in these tough economic times, that's not always feasible. So instead of throwing away everything that's in rough shape, try setting a goal number of things to part with. Also, if you have some sewing ability, by all means take advantage!

Now that we have that out of the way, on to organization! My mother gets credit for forcing me to be organized - I am obsessed with keeping things neat, or at least trying to.

Want to see how I organize my own closet? Then welcome to my lovely 2 bed, 2 bath apartment. It will be the model of organization for this article. (See the photo of my closet to the right.)

I'm a firm believer in visual aids, and I think photographs of my actual closet will help. I have a tiny space, as I believe many of you do after reading some of your comments, so pictures of my small-space organization should give you ideas for what to do with your own.

Closet Tips: What to Hang and What to Fold

Hang up as many things as you can. I have the majority of my tops, skirts and pants hung up. The nicer the top or pant, the more that I think it should be hung in the closet as opposed to folded into the drawer. For example, my dress pants are all hung up, but my jeans could go in the drawer if they needed to.

Editor's note: Meggy didn't mention this in her original article, but I thought it was important to include: don't hang up your knits! Sweaters, cardigans, and knit t-shirts or tops with sleeves should be folded and stored flat - hanging them up, especially if you don't wear them often, will stretch out the fibers and ruin the garment's shape over time.

Ways to Organize Your Closet

By color:

This is my personal favorite because I pick out what I wear based on color. (Guilty secret about Meggy: I actually have a color assigned to each day of the month because I hate standing in my closet wondering what to wear. My roomie makes fun of me, but it’s totally efficient!). Color also looks really nice in your closet.  I recommend this if you have an average size closet like me. Here’s a picture of how my closet is organized:

my color organized closet

My closet - organized by color

By clothing type:

Organizing by clothing type is good if you are really into layering because you can grab whatever you need to create your outfit relatively quickly. Also, it’s easy going from season to season this way. If you live in a 4 season climate like me, then it’s really unrealistic, unless your closet is huge, to keep all of your clothes for all of the seasons at school. It just takes up too much room. I recommend just bringing the summer clothes at first, then sending them home with mom and dad in exchange for the winter ones if possible.

Organizing by outfit:

This is good because it cuts out the standing in your closet wondering what goes with what. It’s a good idea if you do not have many clothes because not too many things overlap. It doesn’t work for me because I have a lot of different things that go together, but if you are like my roommate Elise, who is very into the basics, then it’s a good idea.

A combination of the above:

You could also combine the different methods above if you're really organized. For example, many people organize their clothes by type and THEN by color. You could also organize outfits by color, or outfits by occasion, etc. Be creative and come up with a method that works best for the way you get dressed!

How to Organize Shoes

Since shoes are my addiction, I've found 2 efficient ways to store shoes in my small space.

In boxes:

This is how my mom organizes shoes, and I really wish I would have kept all my shoe boxes so I could have done the same. It makes shoes stackable in such a nice way, and you can take a picture and put it on the box to label them. It may not be realistic to take a bunch of boxes to school if you have tons, but if you keep your shoes seasonally, it may be a good thing to think about.

Also, if you don't have your original shoe boxes, you could also buy clear plastic boxes from or The Container Store to keep your shoes in.

On top of something:

I have to have my shoes out in the open so I can see them. Last year in the dorms, I had them in a big storage bin and it was terrible because it was so hard to keep that bin organized. Instead, try putting them on top of your storage bins, or in a small bin or drawer. I’m lucky that I have a shelf above my clothes (that I can reach!) for my shoes, but I still have to put about half on my storage bins.

some of my shoes!

Some of my shoes!

How to Organize Your Drawers


Is it bad that I think this is genius? I hate it when my underwear is all tangled and messy so I need there to be some dividers in my drawer. I actually lucked out last year in the dorms because the top drawer came with a divider, but no such luck in my apartment. At home before I moved back to Madison, I put all of my underwear, bras, socks and tights in a separate shoebox. Then I brought the boxes up and put them in the drawer and done! My underwear is organized!

I also keep all my wallets and hair accessories in my underwear drawer. I wear a lot of things in my hair so I wanted to see them instead of having them get tangled in a bag.

eek my underwear drawer!

Eek, my underwear drawer!


My shorts drawer can get a bit hectic, especially with this oddly hot weather we have been having. On one side, I have my walking shorts, in the middle I have my shorter shorts, and on the other side I have the shorts that I sleep or work out in. I’ve found the best way to fold shorts (or jeans) is to just fold them in half down the middle. It keeps them nice and flat and the wrinkles to a minimum.

Also in my shorts drawer are my headbands. I wear a headband everyday. Whether it's to keep my bangs out of my eyes while running or studying, I need to have them on hand at all times. I’ve also found they work nicely over a headboard.

Scarves and Bags:

I have too many scarves to count so I had to give them their own drawer. I like to have them accessible at all times. Also, I have my smaller bags in this drawer in case I want to change my purse quick. I like having my purses in a drawer because it keeps them nice and easy to get at.

Last year, when I was in the dorms, I did not have a scarf and bag drawer, so my solution was to hang them from my lofted bed's headboard. Scarves go really nice over a lofted bed, hanging on one side (I’m assuming that most lofted bed have multiple levels and therefore multiple boards to hang scarves). If your bed isn’t lofted, making good use out of your headboard really works.

As far as bags, I like to use those big clear storage bins if you're low on space. Just slide one of those under your bed or futon to keep your bags organized and dust-free!



You can save major amounts of room if you fold up your T-shirts and put them in the drawer. My roommates and I have perfected the art organizing T-shirts, because let’s face it, we all wear them, and we all need to keep them organized.

Here is how I fold my t-shirts: I fold the sleeves in and then fold them in half (the hamburger way!), and then fold them in half again.

Then, instead of laying them flat in the drawer, I lay them vertically. That way, you have rows of T-shirts instead of stacks. When you organize t-shirts this way, not only will you save room, but also you can see all of them at once, making getting ready a snap.

T shirts in a drawer

Organizing a Clear Storage Bin with Drawers

The ubiquitous clear drawer storage container is a dorm room staple. Because I'm willing to bet you probably have one of these too, here are some good things to keep in there:

  • Hats
  • Belts
  • Skin care
  • Slippers
  • Nail care
  • Dishes and silverware
  • Clean sheets
  • Feminine products

Other Wardrobe Organization Solutions

Your Jewelry Box:

I really like my multi-layered box for all of my jewelry (see photo below). This way, the delicate necklaces and chunky bracelets are separated into their own drawer instead of mixed in together. To keep things from being tangled or lost, lay everything flat, and always put the box on a level surface.

If you have the room or the time, putting hooks on the wall will keep your jewelry untangled and available. My aunt has all of her jewelry hung with hooks on the back of her mirror. It looks perfect and makes everything easy to find.

Earrings are the same way. Just keep them together. Also, I’ve found that earrings stay nice if you keep the cardboard backing or box that the earrings came in, and store them like that. My roomie does this and it works out really well.


I was also notorious for losing bobby pins and hair ties until I put them in containers instead of just leaving them around. I got a free coin purse from Vera Bradley, so that’s where I put my hair elastics and it works out great. For bobby pins, I actually use an empty mint tin that I decorated when I was bored at work one day.

bobby pins

Makeup Bag:

For some reason, I have a bunch of makeup bags. I am a Clinique bonus addict, so I have all of these makeup bags that I didn’t know what do with until I got to college.

All of my makeup is organized into the following categories: day makeup, night makeup, nail polish, and lip color. This way, on a daily basis, all I need to bring out my day makeup bag and I’m good to go. Also, it keeps my counter top relatively uncluttered.

What are your thoughts?

I hope this helps you organize your own closet!

Next week, I'll have the first style-specific post ready to go. A few things to expect in the coming weeks: blogs on different styles, how to incorporate them into your existing wardrobe, and answers to the questions that many of you asked! Also, I have chosen a few of you that gave me a detailed look into your style for a few special interest blogs. Can’t wait!

Now I want to hear what you think - How do you keep your closet and wardrobe organized? What are your favorite organization tips? Do you have a genius way to store necklaces or shoes? Tell us in the comments!

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