Which closet organization tools are optional? Which ones are essential? Find out in this blog. Some of the closet organization tools featured here were shown in my recent Instagram Live with Jessica Littman of The Organized Mama. Others will be a surprise!
Which one of us is more of a stickler for using products in the closet? The answer might surprise you! I used to really believe in working with what the client had. I still do. However, I have come around to believing in the power of the right products.
I hope you follow my three steps to getting your closet in order with Real Life Style’s favorite closet organization tools!
Lani on the way to a client with her favorite tools, in the before time…
Step 1. Change Your Hangers
Installing Slim black-velvet hangers from The Container Store or Huggable Hangers is almost a non-negotiable if you hire Real Life Style to give you a Wardrobe Makeover. They are the single most impactful closet organization tool you can purchase to get your closet in order. Why? The thin hangers allow your clothes room to breath and maintain the integrity of the shoulders. The uniformity of having all one color and shape of hanger makes the hangers visually disappear, allowing your brain to focus on the clothes. Intentionally purchasing new hangers forces you to evaluate each piece of your wardrobe as you change the hanger. Is an old, pilled sweater worth your new, beautiful hanger? I think not.
Before (above):The crowded, bulky wooden hangers get in the way of accessing the clothes hanging in the closet.
After (below): Can’t you just hear the clothes letting out a sigh of relief now that they have room to breathe? The slim black velvet hangers help you see only the clothes. No more pulling out one item after another just to find that one article of clothing.
The image below is why we always recommend purchasing our favorite hangers in black! The shades of ivory and beige change over the seasons. When you buy more, they are never the same color as you already own. Stylist confession: this is what is going on in my closet! If you want any color but black, we recommend purchasing waaaaaay more than you think you’ll ever need. This way you will have some in storage when they break or you buy more clothing.
Pant and Skirt Hangers
For some clients and closets, the black velvet hangers work well for double-hanging pants. However, your best bet is the Z-hanger. Less hanger obscuring your view on the clothes. Easier access to your pants. The Z-hanger also allows pants to hang at a higher level than a traditional hanger.
Pants can sometimes slip off the rubber coating of the Z-hanger. Jessica from The Organized Mama showed us these Foam Padded Metal Non-Slip Hangers on our Instagram Live the other day. We can’t wait to try them out!
If you hang your pants long, we recommend these clip hangers from Amazon. These hangers can be used for both skirts and pants in a closet that doesn’t have a lot of height. The quality is inferior to the The Container Store clip hangers, but they have the shortest clearance. And they are certainly more cost-effective.
Unless you are storing off-season clothing and truly need the extra space, we caution clients against using what we call hanging contraptions. A hanging contraption is a hanger that can hold multiple pairs of pants or skirts at once. They reduce the visibility of the hung items, making them harder to find and wear.
Extra Credit Product #1!
Speaking of knowing and seeing what is in your closet…. The most surprising and inexpensive of our recommended closet organization tools might be these rod dividers. Although the set comes with useful labels, we usually write our own. In a pinch, you can even use scotch tape and a Sharpie!
See how we used the rod dividers to organize jeans and pants for a client in the closet pictured below. We were out of state and had not brought our label-maker. You can also use the rod dividers to label and segregate clothing that doesn’t fit while between sizes and off-season storage and attire for different occasions (formal, work, etc.). We have even put them in between colors of dress shirts for a male client so they stay organized when the dry cleaning comes back!
Step 2. Organize Your Shelves
Sweaters, jeans, t-shirts, clutches, and wallets are all items that need to be organized on shelves. Let’s start this section by stating that we do not believe in bins. Out of sight, out of mind. Into the bin it goes, never to emerge again. If you are lucky enough to have a closet with perfectly sized cubbies, fold your items in each cubby by category and then use your label maker to identify what goes in that cubby. However, most people are not that lucky. The following closet organization tools will help the rest of us with open shelves that very easily turn into disastrous piles.
If you have a ton of little purses, wallets, and clutches, you’ll know that storing them can be an annoyance. Can you see me raising my hand?! We always recommend clear dividing organizers for these pieces to maximize visibility and organization. Take one out for dinner and then simply “file” it away in the correct place when you get home!
The mDesign Plastic Divided Clutch Organizer is one that looks chic and has a size that works for most closets. The Like-It Landscape File Sorter below, which I own, is not actually a clutch organizer at all. But this is what happens when I am left to my own devices in The Container Store! I really wanted a clear purse organizer that had adjustable slots. I found the Like-It Landscape File Sorter in the stationary aisle! Two of them organized almost all of my clutches. At 13.5″ long, that is 27″ of clutches. Yes, I know this means I have to edit a few!
For bigger purses or sweater stacks, acrylic shelf dividers are useful. Metal shelf dividers are terrific in a linen closet or when space is really at a premium. However, we prefer the look of the acrylic shelf dividers in our clients’ closets. Go ahead and label each sweater or t-shirt stack once you are done organizing!
Step 3. Get Your Drawers In Order
One of Lani’s Favorite Closet Organization Tools of All Time
We’ve been encouraging clients to get drawer dividers recently. Why? Chances are you’ve been using your drawers a lot more lately, reaching for leggings or sweatpants over your nicely hung trousers. Keep them looking like a personal stylist recently visited your closet by utilizing clear expandable drawer dividers and KonMari folding. This client had particularly shallow drawers, so the 2-3/8″ divider fit perfectly. As a side note, I prefer to utilize linen drawer organizers for underwear and bras.
How do I know that this system really works? Because after we used the clear expandable drawer dividers in our client’s super challenging drawer situation, I was inspired to tackle my own drawer issues. Not matter how many times I reorganized, I could not manage to keep my underwear, exercise clothing, and pajama drawers neat for more than a week. I had some of the older style white drawer dividers in a few drawers, but not enough, and not the right drawers. I purchased the clear expandable drawer dividers in the correct size, as well as more of the linen drawer organizers. It has been months and they still look like a personal stylist was just there ;)!
Extra Credit Product #2!
Are you ready to utilize all of the above closet organization tools but need to clear out your closet first? I always recommend owning your own collapsible rolling rack. It folds underneath your bed when not in use. One day you will use it to pack for a trip or to hang coats while hosting an event. Be prepared!
Real Life Style is a style consulting firm that teaches busy women to wear their power so they can live their lives fully and confidently. Lani Inlander and Kyle Dunphy are based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and serve clients across the country. We offer personal styling services, an on-demand e-course, corporate services, and training to become a personal stylist.
You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.