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4 Tips to Make Your Closet Work Harder for You

These are the necessities that keep our closets organized – and help to keep them that way.

It’s Closet Cleaning Season!

It’s that time of year that I notice all the closet content during my scroll. With spring in full swing for many of us and summer on the horizon, I get the itch, too. And with a growing Lucy and changing tastes, we continue to learn how our closets can better benefit us for easier mornings and a less stressful rush out the door. Year after year, we tweak our organizational systems based on our needs, life stage, and pain points.

Child's coats hung on a lower rod for easier access | via Yellow Brick Home
A low rod allows our 5-year-old to reach her own coats

If It’s No Longer Working, Change It.

If you deep cleaned your closets last year and you suddenly find yourself struggling with the systems you put in place – change it. Change it! What worked for you last year might not work this year, and what worked for you two years ago might work for you today (again). Making the change not only eliminates a significant stressor in your day-to-day, but it makes your GRWM routine more enjoyable, too.

I love any reason to organize (hi, it’s me!), and I truly believe that having systems in place around your home helps to remove those daily micro-struggles. Below, I’m sharing a few tips to kick off Closet Cleaning Season!

1| Addition by Subtraction

In case you need to hear this: You do not need more baskets to contain the things you already have. Instead, declutter first by removing items you no longer wear, need, or like. Create piles to donate, sell, and toss. Only then can you understand what you need to contain.

Tips for a more organized closet you'll love to wake up to! | via Yellow Brick Home

2| Clean the Closet – Quite Literally!

Vacuum the floor and baseboards, as well as the deep recesses of your drawers. Dust your closet rod and wipe down the doors with a microfiber cloth (we love these) and gentle spray cleaner. Use glass cleaner or a vinegar solution on any glass/acrylic. Donate any wire hangers to your local dry cleaner; our cleaner happily takes them off our hands!

3| Make Your Adjustments

We’ve endlessly discussed the merits of decluttering your clothing, coats, dresses and more (read all about it here, as it’s arguably as important as what you see here), so I’ll fast forward to the aesthetics. Before putting a single thing back into your closet, now is the time to make your adjustments! Move any shelving up or down, change the height of your closet rod, and add anything that’s been missing, such as hooks or extra shelves. You do not need to work with the closet you currently have. Now is the time to reimagine how your closet can work harder for you!

4| Tally Up the Final Touches

Once you have a better understanding of what is going inside your closet, you can now determine how many baskets you might need for loose items (such as hats and gloves for a mudroom closet). If you need to order additional hangers, now’s the time! Need a new light bulb? Need a stronger shoe rack? This is when you can truly see what you actually need, versus stashing away clutter you no longer want.

Closet Organization Round-Up

For a hard-working closet that also looks nice, these are the items we would recommend! You can incorporate the below into most existing closet spaces. Sharing our thoughts below!

A round up of closet essentials for a closet that works harder for you! The ladder is essential. | via Yellow Brick Home

1. storage basket, $32 | Deep storage bins like this prevent spill-over, and the handles make it easy to grab, search, and go. This one comes in multiple colors to choose from!

2. LED motion sensor cabinet lights, $25 | We love any opportunity to add accent lighting to a space, and a closet is no different! Tucking a motion sensor light strip inside, above the door is an affordable option for a closet that has no lighting. This one is a plug-in.

3. battery powered motion sensor lights, $46 | If you don’t have a closet outlet, try these battery powered motion sensor light strips!

4. closet kit, $130 | We have several closets in our home that utilize this tried-and-true closet system. It’s infinitely adjustable, and you can customize it further by adding wood shelving.

5. wooden pants hangers, $18 | These are the exact pants hangers that I’ve purchased in the past, and they had great grip and were well made.

6. velvet hangers, $20 | I prefer velvet hangers in my bedroom/clothes closet. They save space while preventing clothing from slipping off, and they’re available in several colors.

7. wooden hangers, $38 | For a coat closet, we prefer wooden hangers! These are the ones that we use, which handle the weight of coats and jackets nicely.

8. wall hooks, $16 | Don’t forget about the door! We use these budget-friendly hooks on the back of our coat closet door to store purses, backpacks, hats and scarves.

9. adjustable drawer dividers, $40 | If your closet has integrated drawers, consider these adjustable dividers instead of small bins. These take up less space while keeping your leggings separate from your favorite workout tees.

10. coir door mat, $20 | Hear me out: Cut down a coir mat for any shelving where you’ll be putting shoes. It allows your shoes to drain properly without creating a drippy mess on slushy days. We’ve been doing this for years!

11. folding step stool, $58 | For those with extra-tall closets (or those that have no idea what’s on that top shelf), this folding step stool takes up minimal space – and it’s right there when you need it.

PS: For more organizational content, here are 8 things you can do for a closet you’ll love, how we organized our kitchen, a budget makeover for an outdoor shed, and how we organize, print, and display digital photos.

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  • Rebecca5.24.23 - 8:59 AM

    Looks great! I have a similar closet and I’d love to know the dimensions of yours. What is the actual foot print and at what heights did you hang the rods?ReplyCancel

    • Scott5.24.23 - 9:52 AM

      Thanks Rebecca! Our closet is approximately 42″w x 24″d. Our rods are hung at arount 38″ and 72″. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah Boggs5.24.23 - 9:47 AM

    Love these ideas! Do you have any creative suggestions for closets under stairs that have sloped walls? I struggle with the organization under there so much! ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.24.23 - 9:59 AM

      You may need to go custom, but you could still use the adjustable rail system! It would require cutting down the vertical rails, or depending on the height you have, you may be able to purchase short enough rails. And clear bins will be your best friend so you can keep things contained but still see what’s inside at a glance.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Nolfi5.24.23 - 12:38 PM

    Love these suggestions but I don’t think there are any closet kits that would work on my 1950s closets. We have 3 deep closets each with a rod and a shelf and only 1 door. Anything behind the wall is difficult to access. Do you have any suggestions for modifying closets like this that don’t involve tearing down walls?ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.24.23 - 1:42 PM

      Closet kits are completely customizable and can be cut down to fit your needs! I’d have to see your closet to give better advice, but our entry closet used to be one rod and a shelf as well. It took some trial and error to find a configuration that would work for us!ReplyCancel

    • Alison5.24.23 - 7:43 PM

      Lauren – if your “to the side of the door” areas are deep enough, you might consider mounting drawers to the wall so they open into the space (sideways?) where you can see things? I hope I’m explaining that so you can visualize what I mean! But it means you can pull out and access those back corners. I’d think one of the wire basket type would be helpful so you can also pull the full drawer out if needed, or kind of see what’s inside. Just make sure they pull out into an area with space – if you aren’t changing out your single hanging rod and don’t have lots of long coats, it is probably fine as is!ReplyCancel

    • Wilma5.25.23 - 4:11 PM

      without seeing it and knowing dimensions it’s a bit hard to give great suggestions, but adding shelving sideways where the doorway is not (ie, where it’s hard to access), and then a double rod if possible in front of the door, with a full shelf across the top of the closet where you can keep large bins that you do not need to regularly access, could help somewhat.  so, when you would open the door and look in the direction of the void, there would be shelves going from front to back.  there would be a rod going in the “regular” direction (you could leave it full length and just work the shelves around it, or could figure a way to shorten it), and then a half (or whatever length) rod under it where the door opens up.ReplyCancel

  • Martha6.7.23 - 3:48 PM

    Love these ideas. We have a really small closet and could definitely make better use of the upper space by adding extra shelves. ReplyCancel

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