How to Triple Your Closet Space, According to an Organizing Pro

Realistic solutions from a declutterer to the stars.

February 20, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten

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Whether you’re living the walk-in closet dream, or only have a reach-in rack with bare essentials, Rìa Safford can organize it all. Owner of California-based decluttering company, RìOrganize, Rìa has overhauled Chrissy Teigen’s pantry, and color-coordinated the beauty closet of celebrity hair stylist, Jen Atkin, and generally saved the sanity of people all over the West coast.

Lucky for us (and you), Rìa shared her most important tips when it comes to closet organizing, so you too, can have a storage system that looks plucked directly from the home of Martha Stewart.

1. Purge, Purge, Purge

In order to effectively organize your closet, it might be time to part ways with your sequined blazer from three New Year’s Eves ago—space needs to be made for the things you reach for every day. “The most important part of the purging step,” Rìa says, “is making sure you’re not distracted, and set aside enough time to evaluate your inventory item by item.” When she’s working with clients, she says “we bring out small piles of items from the closet for the client to go through, it’s less overwhelming and they can really think about the importance of each item.” Sound familiar? Perhaps because it just works.

2. Base Your Layout on Your Habits

Okay, this might seem straightforward, but might not be, given how many times you’ve toppled things over lunging for something at the top of your closet. “The layout has to be based on you and your habits and what you can realistically maintain,” Rìa urges. “If you know you will never hang your pants back up—that solution is not right for you. The biggest goals are to keep your everyday (or very often) items the most accessible, and designate harder-to-reach areas, like high shelves, for seasonal wear.” Throw those ugly Christmas sweaters up there, out of sight.

3. Slim Down on Hangers

Uniform slimline hangers will always be top of the list for closet organization,” says Rìa, and we’re totally with her on this one. Not only does this increase the before-and-after wow factor (begone, mismatched plastic hangers!), but this will actually save space in your closet. When clothes are nestled together on thin hangers, it frees up more space on the rack to hang more up.

4. Add Hooks

Adding hooks creates space where it didn’t exist before, for items like purses and hats. Patches of bare wall, the sides of shelving units, backs of doors—they’re all itching to hold your collection of straw hats.

5. Stock Up On Baskets

There’s a certain satisfaction in banishing seasonal items to the top of the closet—getting hats and scarves out of sight is a kind of physical relief. That is, of course, as long as the baskets that hold them are labeled. “They can also be used on shelves,” Rìa points out, “to create pseudo drawers for items like bathing suits, workout pants, or socks.”

6. Divide Up Drawers

Drawer dividers are a must for closets with built-in drawers,” Rìa says. This simple addition will mean file-folded T-shirts won’t get lost in a stack of crew neck sweatshirts, and socks and underwear will play nicely in their seperate sections.

Are you in need of a closet re-org? Let us know in the comments!
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When I'm not writing & editing for Home52, I'm likely to be found DIY-ing a new piece of furniture (or restoring an old one), hanging things on the wall in my apartment, or watching hours of vintage RHONY.

1 Comment

[email protected] April 6, 2022
I totally could use a closet reorganization