Let’s face it: Most of us have too many clothes. Even before the coronavirus pandemic made loungewear everyday attire, did we really need all of the sweaters, skirts, tees and pants that we have crammed in our closets and drawers? Probably not.
The first step in any attempt to organize your clothes should be to cull what you have, says Sharon Hayden, an interior designer with Studio Starrs Interiors in Vienna, Virginia.
“There might be some sentimental pieces you want to hang on to … but a lot of people think, ‘I’m going to hold on to these skinny jeans until I lose enough weight to fit into them again,’ ” Hayden says. “But I guarantee that if you lose the weight, the first thing you’re going to want to do is go shopping.”
The standard procedure of donating or tossing anything you haven’t worn in more than a year is trickier because of the pandemic, Hayden says. Instead, she suggests asking yourself: Is this something I would buy today? If the answer is no, let it go.
Once you’ve winnowed your clothes down to the pieces you really need and love, she says, come up with a plan for storing them. Hayden recommends choosing items that will make the most of vertical space, as well as hidden storage and furniture that can serve multiple purposes.
Here are her suggestions for hangers, bins, benches and more that will help you get — and keep — your clothes in order.
When choosing a dresser, Hayden recommends looking for one that can be used elsewhere in your home — as a credenza, sideboard or media center — if, at some point, you no longer need it in the bedroom for clothing storage. She likes Living Spaces’ Talbert 6 Drawer Dresser ($595 at livingspaces.com) for its clean lines and modern aesthetic.
To make the most of closet space, consider vertical storage options, Hayden says. Instead of five pairs of pants on separate hangers, for example, condense them with a tiered hanger. The same goes for skirts. She recommends The Container Store’s Chrome Metal 4-Tier Swing-Arm Skirt Hanger ($10 at containerstore.com) and Sosopin’s Space Saving Pants Hangers ($20 for two at amazon.com).
Another way to expand your closet space without undergoing a pricey renovation, Hayden says, is to add a rod extender. Try the Simply Essential Double Hang Closet Rod ($15 at bedbathandbeyond.com). It is made of steel with a chrome finish and can be adjusted vertically up to 32 inches and horizontally from 20 to 36 inches.
A bench at the end of your bed is a convenient place to sit while you’re putting on or taking off your shoes, Hayden says, but if you opt for one with storage, then it can also hold sweaters, blankets or other bulky items. She likes the midcentury-modern vibe of Project 62’s Arthur Tufted Storage Bench ($180 at target.com). It has a hinged lid, is 48 inches wide and comes in blue, gray, brown or spice upholstery.
To corral shoes, Hayden suggests looking for furniture with hidden storage. Try the Tuhome Leto Shoe Rack ($300 at tuhomefurniture.com), which conceals 10 pairs inside a stylish wall mirror in a light gray or black finish.
Don’t forget the real estate under your bed. Look for bins with wheels that can be pulled out easily. Hayden likes the hinged lids on Bella Storage’s Rolling Underbed Box ($25 at bedbathandbeyond.com), because you don’t have to pull the bin all the way out to access its contents, she says.
If you’re tight on space and/or budget, consider creating your own simple storage console using Sterilite 4 Drawer Wide Weave Tower ($60 at amazon.com) and a Pipe Decor Solid Wood Console Tabletop ($149 at pipe-decor.com). The drawers can hold clothing, accessories or shoes. They are also a great option for a dorm room, Hayden says.