Edit your wardrobe.
Take a look at your clothes and assess what you wear most, least, or not at all. Donate the clothing you haven’t worn in a year or more, as well as anything that no longer fits. If an item is severely damaged, toss it out.
Decide what to store.
Let seasonality and frequency of use be your guide in determining what to keep in the closet and what to stow elsewhere.
Organize hanging garments by type and color.
Blouses, for example, can be sorted first by sleeve length and then by shade. By keeping like with like, options for a given outfit are clear at a glance.
Choose the right hanger.
Your closet will look neater if you use just one type of hanger—wood, wire, or plastic.
Set up zones.
A low rod holds tops and skirts; an eye-level pole, dresses; and a high bar, shirts and suits. A high shelf works fine for out-of-season shoes and sweaters.
Arrange folded items.
Any clothing that will stretch out of shape should be folded over hangers. When organizing the folded clothing you’ll store on shelves, place heavier items at the bottom of the pile, and lighter ones at the top. After folding, arrange garments by function (workout tops together, business tops together, etc.) and color (white to nude to bright colors to black). If your closet doesn’t have shelves, consider using part of your clothing rod for hanging canvas ones.
Get a garment bag.
A sturdy canvas garment bag protects fine suits, dresses, and jackets better than plastic. (Leather, in particular, is susceptible to drying and even cracking if kept in plastic.)
Deal with dry cleaning.
Remove clothes from dry-cleaning bags as soon as you get home, and hang your clothes on proper hangers. Return the wire hangers to the dry cleaner for reuse.
Manage odds and ends.
Store bags, belts, ties, scarves, and other accessories in plain sight on hooks or racks, which can be attached to the inside of your closet door.
Contain what doesn’t hang.
Use containers—consider a matching set of baskets—to hold accessories and clothing that can’t be hung, such as socks and undergarments. Smaller baskets or boxes can store a single type of accessory, such as scarves or hats.
Pick a system for storing shoes.
Choose between a shoe rack on the floor, a hanging shoe organizer, see-through plastic boxes, or original shoe boxes with photographs stapled to them to identify the boxes’ contents. Stow shoes you don’t wear frequently in labeled plastic boxes on a high shelf, in another closet, or under your bed.