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The best tips and products for organizing your closet, according to experts

We spoke with experts to learn how to better organize our closets and maintain a cleaner space.
Learning how to embrace the space you have and check when you may need more storage are just a few keys to better closet organization.
Learning how to embrace the space you have and check when you may need more storage are just a few keys to better closet organization.Ikea; The Container Store

Organizing your closet is no small feat. We store so much of our lives in closets — shoes, work attire, knickknacks, keepsakes and more. When closets are in good shape and organized, they become the perfect place to store our essentials and everyday items. But when they become disorganized, the home of our beloved belongings can turn into a junkyard, especially if you’re dealing with a cramped space.

Everyone has a system of organizing, whether they recognize it or not, says Nancy Meck, founder of Meck Organizing. Meck encourages buying only what we need. Otherwise, the urge to shop eventually leads to the urge to purge. Amanda Wiss, founder of Urban Clarity, says people are often afraid to ask for help because they fall under a presumption that organizing their closet is something they should already know how to do, but this isn’t always the case. “Certain life transitions are really disorienting, and moving is one of those,” Wiss says. “A closet might shift as your life changes.” 

We talked to Meck and Wiss to get recommendations for useful items that can help you better organize your closet space, as well as tips for organization and questions you can ask yourself while sorting through your belongings. We also asked NBC Select staffers to offer their own favorite organization products and space-saving tips.

SKIP AHEAD The best on-rack organizers | The best stackable organizers | The best multipurpose organizers | The best wall organizers | The best shoe organizers

Our top picks

How we chose the best closet organizers

Our experts had many tips on how to choose products for organizing your closet. We kept various factors in mind when making our selections including the importance of accessibility, materials and space.

  • Accessibility: “What you want to be able to do is open your closet and have at arm’s reach the things you use the most, so that it’s reachable and viewable,” Wiss says. “You want things to be at your eye-level height."
  • Materials: We focused on choosing materials that are durable and would make storing clothes and other belongings easy. These materials include metal, velvet, plastic and more.
  • Closet space: How much closet space do you have to work with? We chose a selection of items for big, small and standard size closets that we think could work best for you.
  • Your day to day life: Consider which items would help you better organize your daily routine, including any activities or hobbies that you frequently participate in. For example, if you’re someone who goes swimming often, it would be helpful to have a box filled with bathing suits and other swim gear easily accessible. If you’re someone who only swims once or twice a year you can keep your swimsuits and other gear stored away and taken out as needed.

The best closet organizing tools

We talked to experts to learn which products they recommend for tidying and saving space, including hangers and storage boxes. We also spoke with NBC Select staffers and found out their favorite closet organization products. All recommendations featured in this article are either expert- or staff-recommended or highly rated on notable shopping platforms.

The best on-rack organizers

Wiss raves about using velvet hangers for as many clothing items as you can. “You want to have things that are a little bit clingy,” she says, especially with garments that tend to be slippery, like blouses. You want to have uniformity in your hangers so you can save space, Wiss says.  Wooden or plastic hangers might feel more sturdy but they end up taking up more space. 

Meck recommends slimline style hangers to save space in your closet and ensure your clothes don’t fall to the floor. She also recommends using shelf dividers for books, sweaters and other accessories, while being mindful of the “width, depth and heights of the shelf and what you want divided by the product.” 

NBC Select SEO editor Nikki Brown recommends the House Day Black Magic space-saving cascading hangers. “I tend to forget about certain clothes when they’re tucked away in a drawer so I hang virtually every piece I own,” she says. The Zober 4-tier non-slip skirt and pants hanger is another space-saving tool that NBC Select associate updates editor Zoe Malin recommends for hanging multiple skirts on one hanger. Malin also recommends the Remzly Hanging S Hooks, which she discovered on TikTok. “I have a lot of hanging space in my apartment but not a lot of drawer space, so instead of folding my jeans, I hang them up with these hooks,” she says.

The best stackable organizers

Wiss enjoys utilizing the Whitmor wide stacking shelves. “These stackable shelves take advantage of the lost vertical space in most closets,” she says. “With the help of a step stool, you can add to or three more shelves in your closet.” She also recommends using stackable bins, like the Anminy 12-piece lidded plastic storage set. If you’re on a budget, Wiss recommends the Mainstays X Large white lidded storage set, which stack into each other when not in use and are great for storing seasonal clothing or cleaning items that you want to separate from your other belongings.

Meck acknowledges that clear containers make for easier organizing and access, but opaque ones happen to look better. Ikea has lidded boxes that can be stacked, with the option to buy a compartment insert to organize the boxes even more.

Anything that’s stackable can help you create a mock shelf in your space and save space. You can also use bins to store anything that’s not currently in season or any special occasion outfits that aren’t in your regular wear rotation.

The best multipurpose organizers

People use closets to also store accessories like sunglasses, jewelry, scarves, mementos and more, Wiss says. I own the Simple Houseware over-door four-pocket organizer, which allows me to store my favorite lotions, chargers for my iPhone and laptop, cat treats and more. You can also buy over-door organizers that are made to store your shoes specifically and use any extra pockets to store other belongings.

I own Brightroom’s 4-drawer wire rack organizer and put different items in each of the drawers. I place socks and undergarments in the top drawer, sports bras and leggings in another, then moving down to towels, cozy clothes and bathrobes.

Open Spaces sent Malin the underbed storage bins to try and she “instantly fell in love.” She loves how stylish they are and uses them to store sheets, bath towels, sweatpants and duffel bags. “I don’t know where I’d put [all my stuff] if I didn’t have these bins. They’re also soft-sided, so I can overstuff them and store so much stuff inside.”

The best wall organizers

If you can’t fit all your coats inside your closet, Meck recommended buying a dedicated coat rack instead of individual hanging hooks. “Multi-hook types are nice to avoid the efforts of trying to get individual, multiple hooks level and putting a bunch of holes in the wall the individual hooks would make,” she said. A coat rack is also great for hanging hats, necklaces, handbags with handles and keys.

Malin likes using the Command wall hooks to organize her closet doors and hang purses, belts and robes. “I started using them in college and loved them so much that I bought a new set for my apartment when I moved to NYC,” she says. “The hook is thick and wide, and it holds up to 10 pounds, so I can put a few purses on it at once or add one bag that’s heavier with a bigger strap.”

For the Ikea Skådis Pegboard, make sure to also get the Hook Rack that pairs with it.

The best shoe organizers

Wiss recommends the below adjustable shoe organizer from IKEA and says it’s one of her favorite space-saving storage solutions. “With shoes neatly stacked, you save on floor space and keep shoes in better condition,” she says. She also likes over-the-door shoe organizers, which she says people may use to store scarves, toiletries and other belongings, which can also help save space.

Meck has historically recommended using shelves over shoe boxes to organize your shoes because they may take up valuable space inside a closet. However, if you prefer storing your shoes in boxes, Meck recommends prioritizing and labeling clear shoe boxes over opaque ones to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. She’s also a fan of shoe cubbies, if you have the space for it.

Meet our experts

  • Amanda Wiss is the founder of Urban Clarity, a home and office declutter and organizational service based in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Nancy Meck is the founder of Meck Organizing, an organizational consultancy.