If your closets and dressers look more like a house of horrors than a designer home, putting some organizational systems into place can help to contain the mess, while keeping your wardrobe looking ready-to-wear at all times. Follow these 8 steps to organize your clothes.

Step 1: Edit Your Wardrobe

The first step in organizing your clothes is probably the biggest and most time-consuming one, but it’s also the most important. To edit your wardrobe, first start by taking everything out of your closets and dressers. Then, go through all the items and decide which you would like to keep, which can be donated, and which should be thrown out. Separating the items into these three piles will help you to visualize how much space you’ll need for the items you’re planning to keep in your wardrobe.

Helpful Tip: If you haven’t worn an item in over a year and it holds no sentimental value, get rid of it. Same goes for anything that no longer fits you and can’t be altered, you don’t really love, or is too worn out for repairs.

How to organize clothes

Step 2: Decide What Can Be Stored

Once you’ve edited your wardrobe, it’s time to determine what items can be stored. You don’t need heavy sweaters or a winter jacket in summer, and vice versa, so pack those things away to make space in your closet for the clothes you can wear.

Helpful Tip: There are storage bins that have been designed to fit perfectly under the bed, and are ideal for storing your out of season or less frequently worn items.

Step 3: Organize Hanging Garments

The next step in organizing your clothes is to organize your hanging garments by type and color. Pants with pants, shirts with shirts, and so on. This will make it easier for you to find an item when you’re crunched for time in the morning or getting ready for a night out. If possible, allow for a few extra hangers in case an item finds its way into your wardrobe. As a general rule, your most-used items should be kept at eye level, lesser-used items below, and least-used items up high.

Helpful Tip: Matching hangers will help keep your closet looking much more organized than hangers in varying styles and sizes.

Helpful Tip: Cascading hangers or tiered hangers can help you store more items in less space.

Step 4: Organize Folded Garments

Once your hanging garments have been organized, it’s time to tackle your folded clothing items. Items that might lose their shape or stretch when hung are best stored folded. After you’ve folded your items, organize them by function — all your workout gear together, business shirts together — and color.

Keep in Mind: When storing folded items on shelving, place heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on top.

Helpful Tip: If you don’t have any shelving in your closet, you can always move a bookcase into it, or purchase a hanging canvas organizer that fits over your clothing rod.

Step 5: Organize Footwear

The next step in organizing your clothes is to deal with your footwear. Below the clothes rod is one good space for storing shoes and boots, as is an over-the-door footwear organizer. You can also save the box the shoes came in for neatly storing and stacking your footwear when not in use.

Helpful Tip: Clear storage boxes with a photograph of the shoes they contain on the outside can help you easily find the footwear you’re looking for, and stack nicely.

how to organize clothes

Step 6: Manage Any Odds and Ends

Accessories such as bags, scarves, ties, etc. should have their own designated storage space. This might be on a shelf, on an over-the-door hanger, or hook system.

Step 7: Contain Miscellaneous Items

Using matching containers or baskets to store items that can’t be folded or hung is a great way to contain any miscellaneous items, and helps give a streamlined appearance to your space.

Step 8: Manage and Maintain

Finally, keep your space organized by maintaining the system you’ve just put in place. Deal with any dry cleaning as soon as it comes into your space. Remove the clothing from the wire hanger (and return for reuse) and hang or fold the item before putting it into its rightful place. Place accessories in their designated spot, and come back and edit your wardrobe at least once a year in order to control the chaos.

Tackling a messy closet and organizing your clothes can feel like an overwhelming task, but by having a solid plan of attack, you can make this chore less cumbersome. These 8 simple steps help you quickly and easily organize your clothes.