How To Organize Your Closet Without Spending Anything

May 16, 2016 | Organizing

I was at a client’s house working with her to organize her closet, and 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 thing in, instead of finishing their organizational project?

Well, we got this clients’ closet organized, and it looks fantastic!  She says it is still completely organized, but we did not 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.

Starting your organizing with a clean space can help you visualize how you want to 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.

Declutter

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, then you will be holding 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.  If the answer is no, put it in the donate pile.  If the answer is 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 is 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?!?!

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 visual 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 set-up of your closet, but for most closets, this system seems to be the most effective.

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.

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 sure you might have something around your house you could use.

Shoe Boxes

I really love using shoe boxes to organize almost anything.  All my kids’ drawers have their shoe boxes 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 shoe boxes to use in the interim.  Sometimes we don’t even bother finding other bins because the shoe boxes work just fine!

I will cut shoe box 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!

Hangers

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!!

My Random Tips

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 are no longer laughing at me.  So give some of this 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 the same direction.
  • Make sure you clothes are not inside out before you hang them up.
  • 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.
  • When color-coding your closet follow this color system:
    • White
    • Pink
    • Red
    • Orange
    • Yellow
    • Green
    • Blue
    • Purple
    • Brown
    • Gray
    • Black
  • Start with lighter colors then move to darker colors.
  • 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 for 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.

Now it is your turn to get your closet organized without spending any money!  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!

If you are still having trouble getting your closet organized, contact me for a consultation (either in person or a virtual one) and we will set up an organizational plan that will best meet your needs!

The Organized Mama

The Organized Mama

My name is Jessica and I am the founder and editor of The Organized Mama. I was born and raised in Minnesota and currently live in Illinois. I graduated Indiana University with a degree in elementary education. I decided to share my tips and tricks to keeping things organized in hopes of helping people stay organized with little ones. I am in the process of becoming a professional organizer to help assist families in keeping households organized. At The Organized Mama, you will find ways to keep organized, stay crafty and, most of all, enjoy motherhood!

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Meet Jessica

The Organized Mama is an organizing, crafting, and home decorating blog based out of the Chicagoland area. With a focus on helping families get crafty and organized, I believe that order and creativity can promote joy, even when doing the most daily and basic tasks!

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