Photo by Muffy Aldrich
The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Monday, November 1, 2021

How do you organize your clothes?


 A reader question:

Would it be too pedestrian to request a post about organizing clothes. I wouldn't say I have very many clothes yet my closet always defeats me.


Others have also asked similar questions around organizing their clothes.  How can it be done around specific itemssweaters, suits,  ties,  shoes,  shirts,   trousersor is it better done around categories such as casual and work?


  1. the storage I use in our bedroom consists of a closet with two hanging bars, one high, the other low, some vertical built in shelves in the closet, and one high shelf. i also use one dresser aka chest of drawers. Clothes are generally organized by how they're worn - work/dress clothes in one place, more casual in another. the dresser is all casual. No system for shoes, but i generally keep them in cloth bags so they don't get marked up jumbled on top of each other, and the bags (Alden, Rancourt, Alan Edmunds) help me tell them apart. Belts hang from nails I drove into one wall of the closet; ties are on hanging tie racks or hangers. Clothes that are fine being stored folded are on shelves or in drawers. outer layers and shoes I wear outside are all in a downstairs closet, closer to where i'll use them. we have a few bins on a closet shelf for hats, gloves, scarves that are helpful. Spouse has similar storage...much larger closet, though.

  2. Both. I have a small closet for "play clothes" and a separate closet for outer garments including gloves, scarves and hats. But my walk-in closet is for being-seen-in-public clothes.

    I like my closet to look like a store. I hang short sleeve shirts together, 3/4 length shirts together and long sleeved shirts together. I also hang colors together within those categories. On a separate bar, I hang jackets, cardigans and pants.

    Jeans, shorts, PJs, lingerie and most sweaters go on shelves or in drawers.

    I no longer put seasonal clothes out of sight. I travel frequently (well, I used to), and sometimes need out-of-season items, therefore, all my clothes are in plain sight year round. Plus, it’s easier that way.

    My large closet is now half empty because I scrutinize and declutter on a regular basis. Sure wish I could do as well at decluttering my garage!

  3. I think the deciding factor is the amount of closet/storage space you have. My wife and I share a walk-in closet. We each have one wall - hers has two closet rods, one over the other, while my side has one rod 6' high and a series of shelves about one square foot each. I would love the freedom to have dedicated rods for work clothes, casual clothes, etc, but it's not a luxury our one-bed apartment allows! Everything of mine that needs to be hung is hung together. Everything that gets folded goes on the shelves. It is what it is.

  4. I have a modest but quite adequate wardrobe, a good sized closet, and a four drawer drawer dresser. In the dresser, shorts, polos, and tee shirts are folded Marie Kondo style, each getting a drawer. The top drawer is miscellany like cufflinks, watches and watchbands, and backup readers. Looking into the closet there are racks on both sides and built-in compartments that are four high straight ahead. Each compartment is big enough for one of those cloth cubes, and I use three, the bottom for workout clothing, the middle for boxers, and the third for socks. The top shelf holds handkerchiefs and the whisk broom. The right hand rack holds, front to back, two pairs of corduroys, two canvas pants (red and green), and two khakis. Then there are a flannel shirt, a white broadcloth shirt, and five OCBDs. By the door on that side is the tie rack with bows on one side and four-in-hand on the other. On the other side of the closet are sport jackets, suits, and, under the sport jackets, dress slacks. The off season items are towards the back in garment bags after first being cleaned. Shoes are on the floor under the jackets and suits that are in season. By the door on that side is a board with nice looking hooks to hang belts. Pajamas and robe are on a hook on the door. My three sweaters are in the camphor chest at the foot of the bed. Coats, gloves, mittens, watch cap, gimme caps, Tilley, and muffler are downstairs in the hall closet except when the camel topcoat summers upstairs in the garment bag.

  5. Suits hang on left, odd jackets paired on hangers with odd pants on right. Neckties on rack at for right, shoes on two-tiered shelf at bottom of closet. Extra rolled ties in shoeboxes and shoe care items on shelf at top of closet. Off season suits, odd jackets, and pants hang in cedar closet in (finished) basement. The two rotations are swapped in April and October. A few extra suits live in the TV room closet across the hall from our bedroom although a few of these might be donated on closer examination. My wife has the large walk-in closet in our bedroom. Socks and underwear occupy the top two smaller drawers of my dresser with t-shirts in larger third drawer beneath. The bottom three dresser drawers hold seasonal items, which are swapped with things in large plastic storage tubs (stored below our bed) in April and October. The system works pretty well, especially since a recent culling and donation of two large garbage bags of things that have not been worn/enjoyed in two-three years. The closet(s) now seem positively palatial!

    Kind Regards


  6. Blazers, dresses, and skirts are grouped together; long sleeved tops hang above short sleeved tops and vests; all are grouped by color, light to dark. I find it makes for better presentation and location of items.
    Sweaters and jeans are folded, slacks and chinos are hung. Scarves are folded then rolled and stored in zippered pouches. Seasonal items are stored away and rotated as needed. I like to keep shoes and boots in their original boxes. Purses are kept in cloth bags.

  7. Pretty much random for me but Margaret has open shelves for all her sweaters and pairs of shoes (over a hundred of each); all are utilitarian collected during sixty plus years. She's the same size as at eighteen and just as strikingly beautiful now as then.

    1. That Margaret is a lucky woman! Not only for remaining the same size as when she was a teenager but to have someone who is so appreciative of her. Best wishes to both of you!

  8. The rectory we now occupy had one bedroom converted into a walk-in closet. It's wonderful as you can imagine, except it isn't designed as I would have done, so we are sort of jumbled together in there. It basically works.

    I can say the best thing they did during the renovation was move the washer/dryer into what was the closet of the now walk in closet. Absolutely brilliant idea and well compensates for the shelving/hanging layout. Nevertheless we are very fortunate and very grateful. Cheers.


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