DIY closet organization with Organized closet with purses on shelf and dresses on hangers
The Blog

How To Organize Your Closet Without Spending Anything

I was at a client’s house working with her to organize her closet. Our goal was to get this closet organized in one day. It really wasn’t a big project, but we didn’t have time to stop since her kiddos were napping. I hadn’t bought anything for this project as we were just going to…

I was at a client’s house working with her to organize her closet.

Our goal was to get this closet organized in one day. It really wasn’t a big project, but we didn’t have time to stop since her kiddos were napping.

I hadn’t bought anything for this project as we were just going to tackle it as quickly as we could. We were just planning on organizing her closet without spending anything.

Then I would recommend products and she could purchase them if she wanted!

As we were in the middle of organizing we realized that she was out of good hangers to use for her clothes. 

Instead of stopping and running out to the store to get more hangers, we just kept going through the clothes in her closet and found more hangers from clothing that she was no longer keeping.

As all of this was happening, I got to thinking about other clients I have worked with and how we handled situations similar to running out of hangers.

Then, I started thinking about others who might try to get themselves organized, but either not have the supplies they need while they are organizing, or the money to purchase those supplies. 

Do they get sidetracked with trying to find the perfect bins to store things in instead of finishing their organizational project?

Well, we got this client’s closet organized, and it looks fantastic! She says it is still completely organized.

But the amazing part is we didn’t stop to go out and purchase supplies. We just used what she had around the house to make sure that the job we started was complete. 

So, I’m here to help show you how to get your closet organized without spending anything!


Clear Out Closet

Clearing out the entire closet is always the very first step I do with every client I help organize.

I do this because once you can actually see the pile of clothes you own, you are more likely to truly evaluate what you have.

And, I have found clients have a much easier time to part with things because they see how much they actually have!

Take everything off the shelves and make sure there is nothing left hanging in the closet.  If you have room, I would even recommend taking all the other clutter out of the closet!  That includes shoes, purses, belts, accessories.

before image messy

Starting your organizing with a clean space can help you visualize how you want the space to look, how the space can work for you, and how you can best use the space because you are no longer limited to a system you currently were using.

Closet Organization Before messy drawers, shoe boxes, and piles on floor

Declutter All Your Clothes

Now comes the fun part… decluttering your wardrobe! I know, I know, you think I am crazy for thinking this is fun, but it really can be! Let me explain…

Start by sorting your clothing into categories, such as shirts, pants, dresses, jackets, etc. For this client, we laid everything out on her bed in piles based on the categories listed above.

Once all the clothing is categorized, you’ll hold up each individual piece of clothing. Ask yourself, do I love how I feel when I wear this?

If the answer is yes, put it in the keep pile.

No? put it in the donate pile.

If you say well… or umm… or I guess… then it means that you need to put it in the maybe pile.

After all the clothes have been put into piles, it’s time to go back to the maybe pile.

Start by turning on some music and trying on each individual piece of clothing you have in the maybe pile! Think of this as an 80’s montage, similar to the one in the movie The Sweetest Thing. 

Be totally honest with yourself when you look in the mirror.  Only keep clothes that you love to wear, because why would you want to keep or wear something that doesn’t make you feel good?!?!


During Closet Organization- empty entire closet and clean floor and shelving

Put Away By Clothing Type

Get the piles of unwanted clothes out of your space. Put them in your garage or your car to donate and/or sell.

Only keep the clothes that make you feel great in your space before you try to put things away. It will give you a clear vision for what actually should go where!

If your closet is on the right side of the room when you are standing in the doorway, you should hang your clothes from right to left. 

If your closet is on the left side of the room when standing in the doorway, you should hang your clothes left to right. 

I know it sounds funny, but think of it like this: you are hanging your clothes so they all face the door. 

There are some exceptions to that based on the type of closet you have and the set-up of your closet, but for most closets, this system seems to be the most effective.

This really changes your space and helps you feel like your closet is more organized without spending anything.

When hanging up your clothes, start by putting away all your pants. Try to use the bottom hanging spaces for your pants. I always recommend going from dark to light to colored jeans. Then move into your dress pants.After Closet Organization- all items hanging on hangers based on type of clothing

Hang your tops by color, but sort by type of top within each color.

So an example would be to grab all your white tops. Then, hang your tank tops first. Then t-shirts, followed by quarter-sleeves. Long sleeves are next followed by jackets and sweaters. Continue this until you have gone through all the colors of your clothing.

Dresses should be hung in the space where you have ample space for longer clothing!

And keep belts and scarves on hangers, preferably near where the dresses are hanging because there will be room for the length.


Use What You Have

While I love using beautiful organizing containers and bins, sometimes time, budget or space don’t allow for them. If that’s the case, I am pretty confident you have something around your house that you could use.


I really love using shoeboxes to organize almost anything. All my kids’ drawers have their shoeboxes holding all their clothes.

For my clients, if we don’t have bins when we are working on a space, I will grab some of their shoeboxes to use in the interim.

Sometimes we don’t even bother finding other bins because the shoe boxes work just fine!

I will cut shoebox lids to use as drawer dividers.  If I need to make it sturdier, I will cover it with duct tape. 

And, I love all the colored and decorative duct tape that is out there now, so you can even spice up your space with some colorful tape!

close up of pants and nice shirts


While I love using wood hangers, sometimes the investment just isn’t feasible for your entire wardrobe. That’s perfectly fine! Just use what you have.

The biggest thing about organizing your closet is to make sure that you can see all your clothes, you can easily access all your clothes, and that you feel good about every item you own.

That’s how you will be able to keep and maintain an organized closet!!

Want more hanger ideas? Check out all my favorite closet organizers here!

Closet Collage of the entire process: before, during, and after

Organize Your Closet Without Spending Anything

I have some super random tips that I give to all my clients. Some you might laugh at, and most of my clients usually do! But once they follow them, they’re no longer laughing at me.

So give some of these tips a try, and I promise, if you laugh at them, I won’t be offended! I mean, I talked about how to set up your closet based on where it was in your room. If you weren’t laughing at that, well, that is pretty silly to think about at first!

  • The curve of the hanger should be facing you.
  • All your clothing should be going in the same direction.
  • Make sure your clothes are not inside out before you hang them up.
  • Hang your pants with the butt facing towards the wall.
  • Set up your closet so that all your clothes are facing the doorway unless you have a walk-in closet with a U-shape configuration.  Then, all clothing should be going in the same direction around the closet.
  • Make sure you can reach everything you hang up in your closet.
  • Try to keep seasonal clothing in your closet all year long. It gives you a better visual of what you actually have.
  • Store a bag for dry cleaning in your closet or near your laundry basket.  This makes it easy for you to collect your dry cleaning without it piling up on the floor.
Color Coding
  • Read all my tips for how to color-coordinate a closet here.
  • Start with lighter colors then move to darker colors.
  • When color-coding your closet, follow this color system:
    • White
    • Pink
    • Red
    • Orange
    • Yellow
    • Green
    • Blue
    • Purple
    • Brown
    • Gray
    • Black

dresses hanging by color

Now it’s your turn to organize your closet without spending anything! Take everything out of your closet and declutter all your unwanted clothes. Put things back in your closet by category and color-code your closet. Use what you have to help organize your space, and don’t forget to follow my random tips for keeping your closet organized so you can find the perfect outfit for every occasion!


Still, want more help organizing your closet?? My clothing workbook is perfect for you! Click here to get the workbook.

step by step guide to organizing your clothes workbook with overlay

Posted in

25 thoughts on “How To Organize Your Closet Without Spending Anything”

  1. Help! I have a decent size closet but the set up isn’t the greatest. The main problem is that it has sliding doors that make it difficult to access a lot of my clothes. I also don’t have much storage space in my house so I have quite a bit of miscellaneous stuff that dominate the shelf that runs the length of the looking for an alternative for hanging clothes that I can’t reach easily , any advice?

    1. Hi Sam! So my advice is to move the misc. stuff into a different place in your home. I know you don’t have a lot of space, but try to only keep clothes in your closet! If you don’t use the misc. items, then you need to get rid of them!!

  2. HELP!!! I recently had to move back home to my mom’s with my two teenage kids and me and my daughter have to share a room! I’m trying soo hard to make our limited space work in our small walk in closet, but I’m having trouble organising shoes and trying to keep her stuff in one space and my stuff in one space. She’s ready to throw all my clothes out to the trash just so she can have more space🤤! PLEASE HELP!!!

    1. The Organized Mama

      Hi Yvonne. I suggest zoning off the closet. Give her specific space within the closet and you have specific space for your things. Store shoes in shoe boxes and stack in a corner or under clothing. Extra shoes that aren’t used every day should go on shelf above closet. Get narrow hangers to create more space. Fold as much as you can and try to file fold items to create more storage space in drawers.

    1. The Organized Mama

      I think it is so important to set up anything knowing which “handed” you are! We were just at a client’s house and they are left-handed, so we set up her entire kitchen just for her!!

    1. The Organized Mama

      It depends on what you do. If you need dress pants and regular pants, then it could vary. I go by the rule of thumb that if you pick it up and decide not to wear it for longer than 6 months, then it is probably a good time to get rid of it!

  3. Karuu kandjii

    I have problem with organizing my closet. I think this weekend i will go and empty my closet and follow your advice. I have a house at my home town and the problem i have is that my husband doesnt want to part away with anything. The house is cluttered from spare toilet, passage to bedrooms. Please help.

    Thank you

  4. i think hangers are the exception to using what you have. old wire hangers from dry cleaners and odd shapes make the wardrobe a mess. invest in packs of single colour plastic hangers – they are very cheap, use your wooden ones for heavier coats. the plastic ones are also useful for drying clothes – saving on tumble drying. shoe boxes are all very well but sets of plastic boxes are so cheap, last ages and look neater. so good to have an organised wardrobe.

    1. The Organized Mama

      I totally get that with the hangers. I think good hangers are an investment so if you are able to slowly add new ones to your closet, then you should totally go for it!

  5. I buy the velvet hangers either gray or black. Curved top for tops, Bottoms that have a bottom piece to hang pants. All clothes will look nicer. I hate the plastic hangers!!! Check into them!

    1. The Organized Mama

      I love those hangers too! But if you aren’t able to invest in those hangers right away, using what you have is a great option!

  6. Pingback: Can You Really Organize A Closet Without Buying Anything? - The Organized Mama

  7. Pingback: 10 Tips To Organizing A Closet - The Organized Mama

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

The Organized Mama is your ultimate resource for all things organizing with families in mind. Our mission is to share practical tips, tricks, and tutorials everyone in the family can follow!