Some Good – And Not So Good – Closet Tips Part 1

Apartment Therapy is a super popular website for all things home décor, so it stands to reason that it covers aspects of home organizing as well.  One of their greatest hits is this article: 20 Ways to Organize Your Bedroom Closet.  It’s pretty typical of home organizing advice you see around the internet and in mainstream magazines, so I thought it might be interesting to go through tip by tip and give you my advice on their advice!

1)   Especially in the older homes and apartment buildings of San Francisco, closet space is often too small for modern wardrobes, misshaped, or in inconvenient locations.  Alternative approaches are definitely needed.  I recommend planning any exterior clothing storage carefully, as methods that are popular with Pinterest and bloggers such as rolling racks and open shelving can easily become cluttered and distracting.

2)   Ah, the old turn-your-hangers-around chestnut.  My clients, to a person, already know what they’re not wearing.  They just need the time and permission to go through and get rid of those items.  I don’t like the hanger trick because it doesn’t take into account the creation of a wardrobe over time, special events and keepsakes, or the fact that you can wear something literally weekly and still despise it!

3)   Storage should definitely be arranged by utility, and if you do this you’ll find that clutter is less likely to accumulate because it’s easier to put things away that you use frequently.

4)   A closet customized to your specific needs is always easier to keep organized.  There are options for a wide range of budgets, and this is one of the valuable services that I provide for clients: analyzing their wardrobe’s needs, pricing, and supervision of installation.

Photo courtesy of

5)   Coordinated hangers do make a world of difference visually, but I recommend you go with slim line flocked hangers like these (I get mine at Costco).  They allow you to fit more in your closet than fancy wood hangers, don’t let your silky pieces slip off like cheap plastic hangers do, and don’t crease the shoulders of tops like wire hangers can.

6)   I recommend decorative storage ideas like this sparingly.  They work best in larger storage spaces because they are less efficient, and too many together can be visually confusing.  Use of touches like this depends greatly on your personal esthetic and the effort you put into tidiness on a daily basis.

Photo courtesy of

7)   Dedicated shoe storage is SO important.  It allows you to keep your shoes in good shape (a tangle of beautiful shoes on a floor is so tragic!) and find them to pair with outfits at a glance.  There are lots of great solutions for small spaces – I use this cheap metal version you can get at Bed Bath and Beyond.

8)   Shelf dividers are sorely underutilized in many closets.  These will help you maintain neat stacks of sweaters, purses that keep their shape, and any number of other great uses.

9)   Vertical space is also commonly underutilized.  That high space you need a stepladder to reach is perfect for items you don’t use often but don't want to forget about, like off season clothes, hats, and evening bags.  I even have a super high hanger bar in my closet where I store clothing I really only bring on vacation, like shorts – it’s usually way too chilly in SF to wear them!

Photo courtesy of

10)  Light is critical - if you can't see something, you won't wear it.  If you don’t have the budget or permission from your landlord to install lighting, battery powered sticky lights like these will absolutely work in a pinch.

Stay tuned for my thoughts on the second half of this list!