Fix Closet Chaos

Organize your storage with a few affordable tips

Story by Meredith S. Jensen | Photos by John Halley

Your average closet looks the same – it’s a big ol’ cupboard with one shelf and a rod. Walk-in closets are a small room with a few more shelves and rods. Exciting stuff. It’s what you put in it that really counts, so spend your hard-earned cash on your clothes and shoes, not the space. When you are organizing, think three basic, happy thoughts – install what you can afford, what fits the space, and what will serve your purpose.


As with any home improvement project, start with a budget. The choices out there are endless, from simple $150 DIY shelves to $3,000 and beyond for a professional job. The DIY options can get a little pricey, too. To figure out what you’ll need to spend, work backwards by thinking about the following two steps. You’ll want a system that utilizes as much of the space as possible and stores as much of your stuff as possible. It’s as simple as that!


You never want to have any wasted space in a closet, especially a small one. It’s not just a place to hang your shirts and throw your shoes into a pile at the bottom. You can have room for so much more with just a little work. For the lower part of your closet, get a shoe rack and storage bins to keep track off things like duffel bags. Or fill the lower space with small drawers, or wire wracks and canvas cubbies to keep items like socks, bras and underwear if you are pressed for space in your dresser. You can also add a second rod to hang even more items below.

Remember to take it to the top! Install or utilize existing shelves above the hanging rod. Use this space to store out-of-season clothes (vacuum-sealed for even more efficient use of space), purses, hats and more. You can also use bins and cubbies to keep everything contained and clutter-free.

Don’t forget about the closet walls and doors. Install hooks or a towel rack to along the side of a wall to store belts, scarves, ties and more. Over-the-door hooks and organizers are also easy to find. You can even get pouches for hanging shoes, freeing up the floor of your closet for more storage space.


A closet is a place to keep your stuff, so you should be able to see and access everything without too much effort. When getting ready for work in the morning, the last thing you want to be faced with is a cascade of chaos. And even if the situation isn’t that dire, having an organized space can have a calming effect. When you can find the right shoes with ease, you’re ready to start your day on the right foot.